Briefly Noted
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Briefly Noted

The Living Library: An Intellectual Ecosystem, Patricia Steele, David Cronrath, Sandra Parsons Vicchio, and Nancy Fried Foster. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), 2015. 154 pages. $42.00. (ISBN 978-0-8389-8740-7)

The Living Library: An Intellectual Ecosystem tells a story of transformation at the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, College Park. Written collaboratively by key participants, this book combines the insights and perspectives of a library dean (Patricia Steele), a dean and professor of architecture (David Cronrath), an architect in private practice (Sandra Parsons Vicchio), and a professional anthropologist (Nancy Fried Foster). These authors represent a broader coalition including students, faculty, staff, and community who contributed to an organic process that reinvented spaces, services, and relationships at McKeldin Library. Graduate architecture and anthropology students engaged directly with their professional peers in ethnographic study and participatory design. This is an interesting and attractive book, replete with tables, illustrations, photographs, and cited references. (FR)

Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides, Jason Puckett. Chicago: ACRL, 2015. 156 pages. $42.00. (ISBN 978-0-8389-8817-6)

In Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides, Jason Puckett applies instructional theory and user experience principles to the construction of online research guides. Thorough in his approach, Puckett covers instructional theory, learning objectives, learning styles, usability, assessment, and administration. The broad topic coverage makes this short primer of interest beyond its narrow focus. Chapter 3 is a useful review of learning styles, defining the concept, reviewing three theoretical models, and then applying them to research guides. Modern Pathfinders is well illustrated and well designed, a valuable manual for librarians and others who must develop research guides. (FR)

Reviewing the Academic Library: A Guide to Self-Study and External Review, ed. Eleanor Mitchell and Peggy Seiden. Chicago: ACRL, 2015. 352 pages. $66.00 (ISBN 978-0-8389-8783-4)

Editors Eleanor Mitchell and Peggy Seiden have created a handbook on reviewing the academic library, organized into three parts: (1) Why Review? (2) Approaches to the Process, and (3) Gathering Supporting Data: Assessment Methods. As Mitchell and Seiden explain, the impetus of this book was an apparent gap in the literature. Though there were many volumes written on assessment, none covered the review process necessary for accreditation, other external reviews, or self-study. Mitchell and Seiden have brought together over twenty thinkers and leaders on library assessment and review in what is, with 16 chapters and 352 pages, a comprehensive guide. However, in a book of this length, an index and author biographies would have been welcome additions. (FR)

Using Primary Resources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises, ed. Anne Bahde, Heather Smedberg, and Mattie Taormina. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2014. 170 pages. $50.00 (ISBN 978-1-61069-434-6)

Archivists and special collections librarians who instruct students on working with primary sources develop their own exercises and methods, some recorded carefully, others [End Page 449] written on scraps of paper, and still others so implicit that they are never recorded at all. The purpose of Using Primary Resources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises is to share some of the collected wisdom of archival and special collections practitioners with their peers and with the greater cultural heritage community. Using Primary Resources presents thirty hands-on exercises directed at different audiences (K–12, undergraduate, and graduate) in a range of materials (including postcards, illuminated manuscripts, diaries, and sound recordings), disciplines, and approaches. Each exercise is described concisely in three to five pages and organized in a standard format. An index, bibliography, and author biographies finish out this work. (FR) [End Page 450]