October 4, 2013

Not a Review of Doug Johnson's book The Indispensable Librarian

If you are even passingly familiar with school libraries you already know Doug Johnson.  You follow his Blue Skunk Blog, you read his articles and columns.  And if you are a school librarian, you may have even had the opportunity to delve into one of his always relevant and pragmatic books on the profession.

One of these books, The Indispensable Librarian, has been rewritten and completely revised since it's first edition back in 1997.  Library Media Connection says, "This is a book that belongs in school library collections for frequent reference--and even more in the hands of administrators whose vision of the possibilities inherent in a school library might just be approaching the twenty-first century."

Doug graciously included this little backwater blog on his list of recommended  sites for his publisher to send copies for review.  It's quite an honor actually.

Unfortunately I do not have a review for you at this time.  The publisher ABC-CLIO sent me an email granting me reviewer access to an online version of the text.  I can see how that might be preferable to sending out physical copies both for the publishers and the reviewers.  It would save money for publishers and it would save a ton of shelf space for frequent reviewers.

In this case, however, it just did not work for me.  I'm not fond of lengthy reading on my computer.  I do have access to an iPad Mini so thought that would be the perfect choice.  I'd open my email from the publisher, punch the link to the book, log in and begin reading.  It wasn't full screen, but I could adjust it a bit and it was mostly fine.  The problem was, I have a life outside of reading and I had no idea just how much I am interrupted in a typical reading session.  You don't think about it with a physical book or even an e-reader, but I'm often setting it down to answer the phone or listen to a funny story from my daughter or to go grab a snack or go pee or whatever.  Every single time I would do this and come back the session would be timed out and I'd have to go back to the email and start over.  To make it worse, it wouldn't come back where I left off.  I'd have to know which chapter or section I was on, find it and scroll down.  This led to a LOT of re-reading before I figured out where I left off.  Eventually I had a piece of paper I'd write down where I was leaving off before stopping.  But after not too long of a time I became frustrated with this process and gave up.

From what I read and from other reviews (from those apparently smarter than I at getting to read thing) I can tell you that this is, once again, an excellent book that is not only good but needed in the current ever-changing climate of school librarianship.

As for the delivery method of the review copy?  I'd have to say it needs work.