What Are You Reading?

By , March 4, 2010 1:47 pm

Image from The Library of Congress (March 25, 1941)

by Kerry Fitz-Gerald

When people I meet first learn I’m a librarian, they often respond with “You’re so lucky, you must get to read all the time.” Depending on my mood, sometimes I’ll just quietly say “oh yes,” but other times I’ll point out that a) I work in a law library so I’m not exactly surrounded by scintillating material and b) there’s an awful lot to do in a library before I ever get to reading.

That said, a big part of our jobs as librarians is current awareness. Doing our jobs well means keeping up with new trends in both library science and the law. To that end, we all have those sources we regularly read to keep current.

As a new contributor to this blog, I’m hoping to write a series of posts highlighting current awareness sources that our members use.  I know what I read, but I’m sure there are other sources out there that would be equally–or more–helpful. I’ll be contacting folks, pretty much at random, to ask you what you are reading, and then share that information here.

To get things started, I’ll admit that most of what I read for current awareness I do on behalf of faculty. With that in mind, the source I spend the most time with is Washington and Lee’s Current Law Journal Content. This fabulous indexing database contains the tables of contents for over 1500 current law journals. I read it via an RSS feed into my Bloglines account. You can set things up to receive just selected tables of contents, but I get them all. It’s a lot to wade through, but my faculty seem particularly appreciative of my emails with the subject line “article of interest?”  This isn’t as easy as a subject-based selection, such as one gets through SmartCILP, but the greater number of journals helps me find a wide range of items of potential interest to my faculty.

I also regularly read Tom Mighell’s Internet Legal Research Weekly, a weekly newsletter drawn from his blog, Inter Alia. I’m finding this less helpful than I used to (don’t know who changed, me or Tom Mighell), but I still appreciate the weekly list of interesting legal blogs, the technology management tips, and the games. Sometime I take a look at Robert Ambrogi’s Law Sites, and I usually read Roy Tennant’s monthly Current Cites. I do receive a variety of other items (from Law Library Journal to Spectrum to the Washington State Bar News), but tend to just dip into them as a picture or headline catches my eye.

Of course, professional reading isn’t all that I do. I’m a long time fan of mysteries, and I’ve recently been re-reading some of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. If you haven’t run across her before, Amelia Peabody is a 19th century Egyptologist married to the “hot-tempered but extremely handsome” archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson. Written with fabulous dry wit and definite shades of romantic adventure novels from the 19th century, these novels trace the fictional explorations of the Emerson clan over a 35 year span. Each year they set forth to excavate another site (usually not the one they want, because Emerson has once again offended the powers that be), and each year they run into some form of mysterious goings on (from the activities of the “Master Criminal” to war time spying).  While I’d never mistake these for great literature, they have everything I love in a series, including memorable characters, fascinating locales and historical placement, and plenty of laugh out loud moments.

In the future, I look forward to sharing more of what LLOPsters read: both professionally and for fun.

2 Responses to “What Are You Reading?”

  1. Rita K says:

    Amelia Peabody, yes! But I quit reading her for awhile because I got mad at the author. I must admit, she was one of my early mystery favorites. Right now I am re-reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers. The first few are actually his best. The latter ones a bit too unbelievable.

    Like your comments on the professional reading, too. Bob Ambrogi is still a good read.


  2. Keith says:

    I love the Amazon what-am-I-reading feature in LinkedIn. (Though very few people use it, it seems.) It makes my day, getting a voyeuristic look at what my librarian peeps are reading.

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