Library Journal


Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Library Journal (LJ)

ISSN: 0363-02771


Purpose, objective, or mission: This journal is produced as a trade publication with the intent to provide library news and related information. Although the emphasis of the journal is on public libraries, the journal contains information pertinent to a wide variety of professionals in the library world. Library Journal also provides reviews of books, ebooks, audiobooks, DVDs/videos, and other media annual to assist library professionals in purchasing for their institution. The mission of the journal is to provide feature articles and news stories which inform library professionals about current issues in a readable style.2

Target audience: The target audience is composed of librarians in public, academic, and special libraries, as well as library administrators, staff, and directors.3

Publisher:  Media Source, Inc.4

Peer reviewed? No.5

Type: LIS professional news. Library Journal is a non-research-oriented LIS professional news journal that includes advertising, bibliographies, illustrations, and book reviews.6

Medium: Library Journal is a print publication with free online content. Online archives are free, though they do not necessarily contain everything that is in the print edition.7 You can also subscribe to LJ’s RSS feeds and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.8 The online version of Library Journal also includes blogs, podcasts and message boards, links to affiliated newsletters, and tools to assist in collection development and other areas of library administration.9

Content: Library Journal content includes news, reviews, LJ bestsellers, commentary, departments, info-tech, special reports, letters to the editor, upcoming events, classified ads, and photos.10 Library Journal evaluates over 8,000 books annually and also provides reviews of library-related equipment and materials.11

Frequency of publication: The print publication is issued 12 times a year.12 Online content is updated continuously.13 Reviews are also welcomed, though review contributors are expected to regularly write, rather than simply submitting one review.14

Submission and review process: Submissions to the Features and Columns sections should be 2 to 4 pages in a magazine, or 1800 to 2700 words. Finalized drafts can be sent as an attachment along with a query describing the coverage and approach of the article as well as the writer’€™s connection to the subject and his or her expertise. The query can be a paragraph or several paragraphs in length. Response to queries may take between 4 to 6 weeks. LJ also accepts opinion pieces and rants about topics and concerns in the library profession for its “BackTalk” . Pieces should be in the range of 900 words. Be sure to email the appropriate editor for the type of content being submitted.15

Book reviewer guidelines for contracted and unpaid review writers can be found here.16

Editorial tone: As this publication is aimed at the general librarian population, the tone of articles should be objective as well as thought-provoking while providing topical and useful information. Articles should be written in an “accessible and readable style.”17

Style guide used: No particular style guide is indicated.

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

A trusted and respected publication for the library community, Library Journal certainly has the potential for an LIS author to reach a wide audience. Since the journal reaches out to public, academic, and special libraries, there are a multitude of articles that could possibly be written for this publication.

Library Journal is open to ideas for articles and columns, and also encourages “opinion pieces and rants.”18 Library Journal prefers an approach that is widely accessible by its readers.19 There is therefore great potential for newer writers who are not necessarily comfortable with a more scholarly voice. There is also a market here for librarians to offer insight and advice on practical issues facing contemporary libraries. This is a wonderful opportunity for librarians (including those who may not consider themselves to be professional authors) to share their real-world experience with others.

Library Journal Reviews+ is a popular selection tool used in public and academic libraries, and an ongoing opportunity exists here to publish reviews in a wide range of disciplines. Reviewers are not required to have previously published reviews.20 This would be an excellent opportunity for library students with graduate degrees in other areas to review books in their specialty and begin to publish in the LIS field.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Library Journal is distributed to 43,000 print subscribers, and its online equivalent registers over 91,000 monthly visits. The publication is also popular on social media, with over half a million followers across various social media platforms, on which journal content is shared.21

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: LJ is printed in English, and most articles focus on topics affecting libraries in the United States. A scan of recent article titles reveals an editorial comfort with acronyms specific to the American context, such as CIA, ALA, and NYPL.22 However, authors should remain sensitive to the possibility of diverse readership, since cultural diversity and international issues are embraced by the publication, as demonstrated by recent articles on Indigenous Academic Libraries, Spanish-language collection development, and inclusion in scholarly publishing.23

Reader characteristics: Because the audience largely consists of librarians and library staff, readers are likely to be both interested in and sympathetic to library issues. They are also likely to share common values and beliefs about the role and importance of librarianship.24 The readership is large,25 however, and likely diverse in their particular perspectives on library issues.

Knowledge of LIS subject matter:  Library Journal is read by people all across the library profession, so a working knowledge of library terms can be assumed, but authors should be aware that members of their audience may not have MLIS degrees.26

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

Readers of Library Journal include library directors, administrators, and staff in all types of libraries. An article written for this publication has the potential to reach and influence people across the library field, nationally and even internationally. Authors should remain aware that their readers are familiar with both the current highest standards of librarianship, yet also the practical difficulties that come with working in the field. It is recommended to aim for a broad reach, even when writing about an issue specific to one kind of library, so that readers from all types of libraries can gather ideas or inspiration from each article.

Last updated: June 29, 2019


Show 26 footnotes

  1. ProQuest, “Library Journal,” Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed June 29, 2019,
  2. Library Journal, “About Us,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  3. Library Journals, “About Us.”
  4. Media Source, Inc., “Media Source Inc.,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  5. Library Journal, “Submissions,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  6. Library Journal, “Library Journal,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  7. Library Journal, “Reviews+,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  8. Library Journal, “Library Journal.”
  9. Library Journal, “Library Journal.”
  10. Library Journal, “Library Journal.”
  11. Media Source, Inc., “Library Journal,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  12. Library Journal, “Subscribe to Library Journal, accessed June 29, 2019,
  13. Library Journal, “Library Journal.”

    About the publication’s submission guidelines

    Location of submission guidelines: For articles: For reviews:

    Types of contributions accepted: Feature articles that are broad in scope and/or offer useful information and ideas. The journal also accepts news pieces, announcements, photos of library-related news and events, letters to the editor, and opinion pieces.[14. Library Journal, “Submissions.”

  14. Library Journal, “Review for LJ,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  15. Library Journal, “Submissions.”
  16. Library Journal, “Review for LJ.”
  17. Library Journal, “Submissions.”
  18. Library Journal, “Submissions.”
  19. Library Journal, “Submissions.”
  20. Library Journal, “Review for LJ.”
  21. Media Source, Inc., “Library Journal.”
  22. Library Journal, “News,” accessed June 29, 2019,
  23. Library Journal, “News.”
  24. Library Journal, “About Us.”
  25. Media Source, Inc., “Library Journal.”
  26. Library Journal, “Submissions.”
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