Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Okay, so since I edit these Magazines for Libraries Updates, I get to choose the titles that get reviewed. Even better, I get to grab the really fun titles to review, and In the Library with a Lead Pipe (ITLWALP) is the “funnest” title I’ve been privileged to review for a long time (note that even the acronym for it is fun), because A. it’s got the best title of anything library-related I’ve ever come across, B. I really would like to meet every member of their Editorial Board (they sound like such interesting, nice folks), and C. the content rocks.
I actually first encountered ITLWALP back in January 2012 when I gave a shout-out in my then-library blog to an article by Emily Ford: “Consensus Decision-Making and its Possibilities in Libraries” (which referenced my academic library hero, Barbara Fister).
The content has continued to be timely and broadly interesting (for a sample, take a look at this June 2013 Call for Articles piece, which describes some articles members of the Editorial Board would like to see published in ITLWALP, if someone will write them). It’s interesting that the journal is published on the WordPress platform, causing some folks to call it a blog. But given the submission guidelines, as well as the peer review guidelines, I call this a journal. And it’s listed in the DOAJ, so I’m within my rights.
All that said, let me give a review-type summary about ITLWALP. Its board is librarians “working in various types of libraries across the United States.” The journal includes essays by its editors (witness the Emily Ford piece referenced above), as well as guest articles “representing other perspectives including educators, administrators, library support staff, and community members.” Not only do they invite submissions, but the board members work closely with potential authors on crafting articles, acting as internal reviewers, with an additional external reviewer as part of the process.
I’ve included a number of links to individual pieces here, but I’d like to highlight something from their About page that resonates very strongly with me: they write: “In the Library with the Lead Pipe is intended to help improve our communities, our libraries, and our professional organizations. Our goal is to explore new ideas and start conversations; to document our concerns and argue for solutions.”
I really like that they speak first about “help[ing] to improve our communities.” Not only do I like it, but I’m pretty sure the other readers do, too – that seems to be the leitmotif of the entire endeavor here. Enthusiastically recommended reading for librarians and the literate everywhere.