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  • The Whole Library Handbook 4: Current Data, Professional Advice, and Curiosa About Libraries and Library Services
  • Karen Patterson
The Whole Library Handbook 4: Current Data, Professional Advice, and Curiosa About Libraries and Library Services, ed. George M. Eberhart . Chicago: American Library Association, 2006. 585p. $42, $37.80 for ALA members (ISBN 0-8389-0915-9)

George Eberhart, senior editor of American Libraries, continues his classic one-volume series, The Whole Library Handbook. Who better suited to compile a handbook on libraries and library services than Mr. Eberhart? For 10 years he served as editor of College & Research Libraries News,and in 2005 he celebrated his 25th anniversary of writing the "New Publications" column for the College & Research Libraries News.

As in all past editions, the 10-chapter structure is retained: libraries, people, the profession, materials, operations, the underserved, promotion, technology, issues, and librariana. The difference, according to the editor, is that about "97% of The Whole Library Handbook 4 is completely new or revised." (p. v) The Handbook offers excerpts of articles and books written in the past six years on library history, theory, and practice. After each excerpt, the source is listed to provide the interested reader with a trail. The editor has selected from such notable journals as: American Libraries, College and Research Libraries News, Knowledge Quest, American Archivist, and Voice of Youth Advocates, as well as relevant information from numerous ALA organizations and Web sites. There are also original contributions by Denise Davis, Lori Bowen Ayre, Norman D. Stevens, and Jeff Baskin.

The audience for this series continues to be individuals with a direct interest in the profession: librarians, library staff, trustees, library students, and administrators.

The reference librarian will find this handbook a quick ready reference source—a one stop shop. The statistics portions will remind one of the data compiled in The Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac 2005 (Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2005). For example, Denise Davis, director of the ALA Office of Research and Statistics, provides an article for both publications, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) survey data on public libraries is also evident in each. Administrators will be able to locate salary data, library rankings, and ALA guidelines and standards.

Did you know there is an ALA "Poor People's Policy"? If not, The Whole Library Handbook 4 has suggestions on how to work with the policy. For the library student's studies, the handbook is a treasure trove for job hunting advice as well as a [End Page 480] complementary reference source on past and present library services, associations, and statistics. Selections that grab the reader's attention are: "What is a Library?" "White Privilege in Library Land," "A Brief History of Zines," "Gaming for Librarians," and "Water Damaged Collections and Records Recovery." As in the previous edition, the editor who has also compiled UFO bibliographies and other unique scientific anomalies contributes an entry on "Haunted Libraries." For current issues, the reader can browse the technology chapter, which includes a glossary of blogging terms and articles on the use of Internet filtering and RFID tags in libraries.

Although this series continues to be an informative historic and contemporary source, the primary weaknesses are the indexing and binding. Reviewers of previous editions have commented on the need for improving the indexing, and the problems remain. The current index is limited to author and subject access only. The subject indexing consists of broad headings with extremely limited cross-references. For example, the entry entitled "The Monster Under The Bed" by Martin H. Raish is on knowledge doubling and the measurement of knowledge. The index lists this selection under "information doubling" and "knowledge, information, and data" but not knowledge doubling. Because of this weakness, leafing through the handbook is still the best means for finding gems of knowledge, and the editor himself suggests this approach to find facts, advice, and humor. Also, a cumulative index to prior editions would be most helpful since Eberhart suggests that older editions should be retained for their unique selections. A final point to consider when you purchase The Whole Libraries Handbook 4 is that the publication is only...


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pp. 480-481
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