Library Journal Redesign

Library Journal’s redesign is up and available. I can’t say I’m too impressed, though I am a tough customer. Here is my bulleted list of critique following my first 15 minutes on the LJ site

  • no rss feeds
  • search delivers a segmented results set, subscriber-only pages come up first, then pages available to anyone, lower on the screen. This doesn’t seem like a sure-fire way to get more subscribers, just to alienate non-subscribers [example]
  • searching in the “reviews” section leads to a subcribe page for anyone not logged in as a subscriber
  • URLs are still long and unclean [example]
  • no 404 page [example]
  • fixed width columns make site hard to read at large text sizes and require a lot of scrolling
  • empty content areas [example]
  • ads are giant and blinky, this may be necessary in today’s tough times but blinky ads, banner ads, text ads, and parent company ads and logos make the home page a mishmash of colors and sizes making it very hard to figure out where the important content is
  • Search our reviews section is non-functional. Search boxes are available, but all searches redirect to the LJ home page [example]
  • The privacy policy and terms of use pages seem broken on at least some sub-pages [example]

Some of these critiques are just bugs that I’m sure will be fixed fairly quickly and are standard in brand new sites. Others have more to do with the actual structure of the site and what it’s set up to do. Library Journal has always had good printable templates and pretty great writing. However, a web site that has almost thirty sections and forty topics [accessible via pulldown menus] really could benefit from an information architect, or some groupings more like the site map, which is my favorite page on the site so far. Does it validate? No. Is it accessible? No. Since LJ is a business and not a library, they can take the risk of losing the business of people who can’t use or understand their site. Public libraries aren’t so fortunate, and this site is not a great example of a 2005 web site of an otherwise pretty nice looking magazine.

librarian shortage, some hard facts from Library Journal

Meredith points to a Library Journal article with actual facts about the job market for new librarians. Upshot? While there is still a need for librarians in some geographical and skill areas, these authors do not believe in the “librarian shortage” that has been getting so much press over the last five years.

While there is an intense, ongoing campaign to recruit new MLS students, there is no concerted effort to hire them once they’ve graduated. It is unreasonable to invite an influx of new colleagues into the profession without making room for them. It is unfortunate that those entering the profession are being told that there is a current shortage of library workers, since this is not entirely true.

They also discuss some of the expectations of the profession that can make it difficult for less-experienced job seekers to prove their worthiness.

To paraphrase one new professional, librarianship is a profession that focuses obsessively on past accomplishments and not on future potential…. New professionals have a lot to offer: we are eager, full of new ideas, have yet to be poisoned by burnout, and—through our newly earned education—are up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends. Our potential is exactly what should be sought out by employers. The profession needs us as much as we need it.

Movers! Shakers! Bloggers! Others!

It’s really great to see the Library Journal Movers and Shakers awards include so many colleagues not just from the blogging world — Aaron and Michael — but other parts of the library world I interact with when I step away from the keyboard, like Veronda Pitchford from Chicago and Kim Charlson from Perkins School for the Blind, a place I rememebr visiting when I was a little girl.

Library Journal [sort of] responds to Gorman detractors

Does the latest Library Journal editorial regarding the Gorman v Bloggers melee just read like so much celebrity gossip? It mentions that half the emails he received were pseudonymous. I agree that it’s often a good idea to send both critique and compliments under your own name. However, let’s just remember that while Michael Gorman’s views may not “represent the official positions of either ALA or California State University Fresno” as LJ patronizingly reminds us, he’ll still be reading our responses as a person who occupies both of those roles. The Free Range Librarian is also unimpressed.