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Reading Room
Special adult
University at Buffalo
Peer reviewed
Open Access
Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University

The Reading Room: A Journal of Special Collections provides “current research and relevant discussion of practices in a special collections library setting.” It is a scholarly journal produced by the University Archives at the University at Buffalo via single-blind, peer-review, with submissions sought from “practitioners and students involved with working in special collections in museums, historical societies, corporate environments, public libraries and academic libraries.” Appropriate subjects of research here include digital humanities, donor relations, exhibits, managing special collections, mentoring, outreach, reference, social media, teaching, and technical and metadata issues.

The Narrative style defined in the journal’s Policies section describes the Reading Room’s goal: “Collections tell stories, stories that are revealed by librarians, curators, and researchers within the reading room. Yet there are limited outlets for these types of articles in a peer-reviewed environment. The Reading Room endeavors to fill this niche.” Examination of a recent issue reveals this to be a very well-written open access journal that pays close attention to current themes and practices in special collections’ work, and one whose authors do indeed know how to tell a good story. Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2017, offers articles on engaging undergraduates with special collection materials (“Bringing Art to the Library: An Undergraduate Art Education Collaborative with the Curriculum Materials Center” and “Literary Manuscripts in the Classroom: Using Manuscript Collections to Engage Undergraduate Students”), how-to pieces about marketing and raising awareness about specialized materials for research (“Making the Case for Brown University’s Stamp Collections” and “A Model for Surfacing Hidden Collections: The Rescuing Texas History Mini-Grant Program at the University of North Texas Libraries”), and a project of digitizing, “catalog[ing], upload[ing], and mak[ing] public … [deteriorating] films [from the 1950s through the 1980s] on a variety of topics, from time-lapse films of natural processes to waterways to forestry (“What was Old is New Again: Managing Streaming Archival Films on Multiple Hosted Platforms”).

Articles are accessible, downloading quickly and displaying in easy to read format, with clear illustrations. This is a little jewel of a journal and is highly recommended for librarians working in all types of libraries – there’s much that all of us can learn from here.
18 Sep 2017
Interested in contributing to an upcoming Magazines for Libraries™ Update? Contact Cheryl LaGuardia.

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