It’s a New Year. Learn Something.

So it’s almost the end of the month, and your plan to keep up with library news and to really work on professional development this year has already been derailed by snow shoveling, community meetings, covering the desk for sick staff, and all the other work required to keep the doors open and the lights on. Don’t despair. Try furthering your library education in small bites rather full courses.

You may well have stacks of Library Journal, American Libraries, and Public Libraries sitting around that you plan to get to some day; and then some day doesn’t arrive. Or, those rather expensive subscriptions and memberships may be out of your reach right now. There is an alternative. Library Journal publishes a whole list of e-mail newsletters that you may subscribe to for free and without an LJ subscription. LJ Express is a weekly mailing of library current events, and includes highlights of the current LJ as well as reviews of new books and media. There are several review newsletters and Prepub Alert which gives advance notice of high-demand titles. And remember that LJ content is free on the magazine’s website; there is no paywall or print subscription required. ALA provides its print publications and e-mail newsletter only to organization members, but magazine content and the twice-weekly AL Direct newsletter are available for free at the American Libraries website. Public Libraries offers some articles from each issue for free on its website, and there is a free monthly newsletter as well.

Webjunction, OCLC’s free on-line learning site puts out Crossroads, a twice-monthly e-mail newsletter. Each issue summarizes and links to new articles on Webjunction about programs, services, and trends in libraries. The most recent issue included articles on serving homeless teens, transforming public library space at two libraries in Washington, best board games of 2015, a link to the weekly Social Library post on programing ideas, and updates on webinars and online courses. Remember that Webjunction courses and webinars are all free, and the site is a good clearing-house of ideas from libraries around the country.

Publishers Weekly is an expensive magazine, but its e-mail newsletters are free. Keep up-to-date on new books, book awards, media tie-ins, author appearances, current controversies, publishing trends, and more. The links from the newsletters back to Publishers Weekly content are not paywalled, nor for that matter is any of the PW content on its own website. Galleycat is a daily e-mail newsletter about the publishing business and is part of Adweek’s group of industry newsletters. Fewer stories per issue than the PW newsletter, and similar topics; includes a helpful emphasis on self-published authors, including a weekly self-published author bestseller list.

So why wait? A world on library wonder awaits on the web, and much of it can be delivered right to your in-box for free.

Tom Dillie
Director, Minerva Public Library

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