The Librarians Companion: A Handbook of Thousands of Facts and Figures on Libraries, Librarians, Books, Newspapers, Publishers, Booksellers.
Vladimir F. Wertsman
Second edition. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. 215 p. ISBN 0313299757.
This book contains some 1,000 entries a 16 percent increase over the first edition, grouped into two parts. Part I, The Librarians World Digest, provides countrybycountry information on libraries and publishing. Each of the 194 entries if complete gives a background and then covers library networks, publishing output and distribution, noted libraries, and librarians organizations.
Part II, The Librarians Special Interests, contains six chapters: (1) Noted Librarians, Past and Present; (2) Who Said What on Books, Libraries and Librarians; (3) Librarians Belles lettres; (4) Librarians Philately: Books, Newspapers, and Libraries on Stamps, by Country; (5) Librarians Latin Expressions; and, (6) Librarians JobFinding Sources of Information. The seven appendices are entitled Librarians Ten Golden Rules; the Library Supervisors Ten Golden Rules; Library Bill of Rights; American Library Association (ALA) Awards; Library Main Book Classifications; UNESCO Public Library Manifesto; and Online and Electronic Network Smilie parlance.
The author must have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort putting together all of this interesting information on libraries and librarians. Some sources of information, such as philately dealing with librarianship, are quite unusual. He has, on the whole, done a fine job, but However, there is room for improvement. In Part I he gives data about various countries political and economic condition, illiteracy rates, the ratio of library holdings to inhabitants, the number of libraries, and the libraries holdings. The information is not, however, up to date. Most of the figures are from the 1980s, some are from 1970s, and a very few are from the 1990s. Other types of information have not been brought up to date, either. The National Library of China built a new national library said to be second in size only to the Library of Congress. It has its new address since 1989, but Mr. Wertsman gives its old address.
There are 192 biographical sketches in Part II, and most of them are for dead persons. The listing appears to be very selective. Alvin Johnson is not included, despite his advocacy of the public library as a peoples university; nor is Charles Williamson, who wrote a famous report on library science education. The citing of a biography of Charles Evans in the entry for Luther Harris Evans (p. 110) is obviously an editorial inadvertence.
In the section on jobfinding sources for librarians, the Placement News published by Rosary College Graduate School of Library Science is not mentioned. A national periodical which provides placement news is properly entitled College and Research Libraries News, not (as Mr. Wertsman has it) College and Research Libraries.
In spite of some flaws, the book is useful for quick reference on various aspects of librarianship.
About the Author
Tzechung Li is Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Rosary College.
© 1996 Tzechung Li
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