American Libraries

 

Publication analysis


About the publication

Title: American Libraries

ISSN: 0002-9769 (Print) and 2163-5129 (Online)1

Website: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/

Purpose, objective, or mission: American Libraries is “the flagship publication of the American Library Association,” dedicated to publishing news “about all matter of import to libraries and librarians.”2 Per the Editorial Policy, part of the ALA Policy Manual section 10.2: the editor is charged with “a particular responsibility to convey to the membership and other readers full and accurate information about the activities, purposes, and goals of the Association.”3

Target audience: ALA members, the majority of whom are professional librarians in the United States.4

Publisher: American Library Association (ALA)5

Peer reviewed? No.6

Type: LIS professional news magazine.7

Medium: American Libraries is a print publication, with occasional digital supplements. American Libraries Online is the online edition, delivering, per the 2015 media kit, “100,000 pages with continuously updated content.”8 Brief, “hot” news items are communicated separately through AL Direct, a companion e-mail publication.9

Content: American Libraries “features articles on professional concerns and developments, along with news of the Association, library-related legislation, and libraries around the country and the world. 10

Frequency of publication: 6 times per year, with occasional digital supplements. AL Direct, the companion e-mail publication, is distributed weekly.11

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact

Types of contributions accepted: American Libraries solicits contributions of 600-1,500-word articles, including book reviews, features and opinion pieces on topics of general interest to members of the American Library Association. Letters to the editor are also accepted.12

Submission and review process: Accepts fully written manuscripts. Electronic submission preferred via email to americanlibraries@ala.org. Hard copies can be mailed to American Libraries, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611.13

Although all articles are reviewed by the magazine’s editors, there is no formal peer-review process.14

Editorial tone: “Informal, but informative. Factual articles must be inviting and readable, with all statements backed by responsible research and interviews.”15 The editor encourages the “expression of diverse viewpoints and critical interpretation of professional issues.”16

Style guide used: Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.).17

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

This 100+-year-old magazine is a well-respected publication with a wide audience. It wouldn’t be scholarly enough to carry a lot of weight for someone building up publications for tenure, but it’s a credible, professional publication that provides a forum for practical information sharing among members of the LIS community. American Libraries publishes feature stories and opinion pieces as well as letters to the editor, and occasionally opportunities for columnists arise. Strong writers with appropriate story ideas should be encouraged to submit work here, whether they are LIS practitioners, educators, or students.

 

Audience analysis


About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: The printed magazine is mailed to all ALA members, roughly 63,000 individuals or organizations. AL Direct is sent to approximately 54,000 ALA members and non-members.18

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: A geographic breakdown could not be found, though American Libraries does offer rates for the US, Canada, and International subscriptions. It’s probably safe to assume that the majority of ALA members reside and work in the United States.19 American Libraries is published in English, and readers are likely to be completely comfortable communicating in English. The United States is so diverse, though, that it’s important to make sure articles aren’t too regional in language or content.20

Reader characteristics: The American Library Association’s July 2013 Demographic Study showed that members are predominantly white (87.1%), and almost all have an MLS or other Master’s degree, or higher. Membership is mostly female (81%). In age, the highest number of respondents indicated being between 55 and 64 (24.3%), although 60% of the membership make up the age groups between 25 and 54. Because readers are usually members of the ALA, the vast majority work in a variety of libraries and have a high level of education.21 As librarians, these readers are likely to be interested in library topics and sympathetic to library issues. However, it is not safe to assume that readers are homogeneous in terms of how they believe problems should be solved. Letters to the editor and point-of-view pieces indicate that readers can be highly opinionated. The editorial policy states that the “expression of diverse viewpoints and critical interpretation of professional issues make the magazine the premier forum for the exchange of ideas.”22

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Readers are likely to know a lot about general library topics and issues. Still, the audience includes all types of librarians, so authors would want to avoid highly specialized topics and language. For example, public librarians may not be familiar with (or interested in) the particular jargon and issues of military librarians, and technology specialists may not be familiar with the jargon of catalogers.23

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Because this is a professional rather than a scholarly publication, appropriate submissions would be practical rather than theoretical. Possibilities might include current topics in librarianship, or unique twists on topics of general interest to the broad LIS community such as management, advocacy, and general-interest technologies. American Libraries readers have in common a professional or personal interest in libraries, but the audience is large, and readers’ specialized interests will be quite diverse. For this magazine, general library topics would be appropriate — articles on things like library technology, marketing, or management, the kinds of topics that would be relevant to all librarians, no matter what kinds of libraries they worked in.

Authors could assume that American Libraries readers would understand general library language and that basic terms would not need to be explained (the editors of American Libraries, for example, assume that readers will understand ALA’s common acronyms, such as ACRL). However, authors should try to avoid the kinds of topics or jargon that might be related to a specific library environment or aspect of librarianship, such as academic libraries or cataloging. Articles on highly specific topics or for particular ALA subgroups would be better directed toward the publications of the related ALA divisions, such as College and Research Libraries News or Children and Libraries.

Last updated: April 27, 2016


References

Show 23 footnotes

  1.  American Libraries, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed March 22, 2018, http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/search/-1032368455
  2. American Library Association. (2016). About American Libraries. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/al
  3. American Library Association. (2016). About American Libraries. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/al
  4. American Libraries. (2016). American Libraries 2015 Library Kit. Retrieved from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/sites/default/files/AL_media_kit_DOWNLOAD.pdf
  5. SerialsSolutions. (2016). American Libraries. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/title/1402005654633/41721
  6. SerialsSolutions. (2016). American Libraries. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/title/1402005654633/41721
  7. SerialsSolutions. (2016). American Libraries. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/title/1402005654633/41721
  8. American Libraries. (2016). American Libraries 2015 Library Kit. Retrieved from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/sites/default/files/AL_media_kit_DOWNLOAD.pdf
  9. American Libraries. (2016). American Libraries 2015 Library Kit. Retrieved from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/sites/default/files/AL_media_kit_DOWNLOAD.pdf
  10. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  11. American Library Association. (2016). About American Libraries. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/al
  12. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  13. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  14. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  15. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  16. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  17. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  18. American Libraries. (2015). American Libraries 2013 Library Kit. Retrieved from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/sites/default/files/AL_media_kit_DOWNLOAD.pdf
  19. American Library Association. (2016). About American Libraries. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/al
  20. SerialsSolutions. (2014). American Libraries. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/title/1402005654633/41721
  21. American Library Association. (2014). ALA Demographic Study: September 2014. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/research/sites/ala.org.research/files/content/July13report.pdf
  22. American Library Association. (2016). Contact the editors. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/contact
  23. American Library Association. (2016). About American Libraries. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/about/al
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