Library Services, Library of Congress, Outside the Library | Professional Media

A great primer for people of any professional background who is interested in freelancing or consulting; An extremely informative institutional history of the Library of Congress, great for library buffs; An important resource for public librarians looking to develop helpful services for all stages of adulthood

Becoming an Independent Information Professional: How To Freelance, Consult, and Contract for Fun and Profit. Libraries Unlimited: Teacher Ideas. 2017. 176p. ed. by Melissa M. Powell. index. ISBN 9781440855405. pap. $50. PRO MEDIA

Editor Powell, a former librarian who offers professional development at, helps readers decide if consulting is a good career fit. This volume addresses values, leadership styles, and legal and financial matters, as well as branding, marketing, maintaining work-life balance, and juggling current assignments while searching for work. Powell has selected knowledgeable contributors, such as library consultants Nancy Bolt, Pat Wagner, and Carson Block. Often, incorporating pieces from so many writers can result in uneven coverage. However, this is a cohesive book that tackles both the upsides (freedom to choose projects) and drawbacks (uncertainty, the lack of a steady paycheck) of consulting. VERDICT An excellent primer for anyone, not just information professionals, considering freelancing or consulting.—Lydia Olszak, Bosler Memorial Lib., Carlisle, PA

redstarCole, John Y. America’s Greatest Library: An Illustrated History of the Library of Congress. D Giles Limited, London/Lib. of Congress. Jan. 2018. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781911282136. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9781911282303.


Like its subject, this title takes on several roles at once. Handsome, slightly oversize, with high production values and lavish photographs and illustrations, it could be taken for a coffee-table book. But this would do it a disservice, as Library of Congress historian Cole has compiled a thorough overview of the library’s history, with an exhaustive time line ranging from President John Adams’s 1800 act to appropriate $5,000 “for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress” to the 2016 swearing in of current Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, accompanied by well-written essays. The chronology offers detailed accounting of the institution’s construction, collection building, division development, staff, outreach, cataloging and computing innovations, and ever-expanding mission. The essays zero in on subjects and events such as the library’s role after John F. Kennedy’s assassination (providing emergency historical reference for presidential funerals and keeping its restrooms open all night for mourners), or a portrait of pioneering African American bibliographer Daniel Murray, who became a member of the library staff at 19 in 1871. VERDICT For interested browsers and library buffs but also a solid, detailed, creatively packaged institutional history.—Lisa Peet, Library Journal

redstarRoberts, Ann. Designing Adult Services: Strategies for Better Serving Your Community. Libraries Unlimited: Teacher Ideas. 2017. 130p. index. ISBN 9781440852541. pap. $45; ebk. ISBN 9781440852558. PRO MEDIA

Just as childhood is comprised of developmental stages, adulthood has its own phases. Those in their early 20s who are considering college or searching for entry-level jobs benefit from test-prep services and job training referrals. Middle-aged adults may be facing retirement planning and dealing with aging parents. Roberts, author of numerous “Crash Course” library guides, outlines the basics of serving adults at each stage. Her insightful discussion of community analysis helps readers gather data to understand their patrons’ demographic makeup and service needs. Ensuing chapters examine specific issues faced by patrons and illustrate how libraries are stepping in. Service, defined broadly, includes programming, collection concerns, and community partnerships. The author explores service both in- and outside the library. A later chapter looks at services to immigrants, those who are incarcerated, and adults with physical or mental health challenges. A sample satisfaction survey, a list of service competencies, and other helpful forms can be found in the appendix. Roberts’s holistic approach to addressing the physical, social, and intellectual needs of patrons as they navigate adulthood outshines similar titles, such as Elsie A. Rogers Halliday Okobi’s Library Services for Adults in the 21st Century. VERDICT A stellar resource for public librarians.—Lydia Olszak, Bosler Memorial Lib., Carlisle, PA

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