New Book on Information Services edited by iSchool Director

iStudent Blog

Published: March 18, 2015 by Allison Randall Gatt

Written by guest blogger Alison Peters

Information Services Today: An Introduction, the new library and information science (LIS) textbook compiled and edited by iSchool director Dr. Sandra Hirsh, is multilayered, informative, and not like other textbooks.

With each chapter written by a leading LIS professional in their particular subject, it’s engrossing to read, and it provides LIS students with a broad overview of the entire profession, from historical perspectives to emerging trends, along with career management and continuing education advice. It also includes supplemental materials that extend the book’s content and relevance.

The iSchool is recommending (though not requiring) the textbook for students in the core course Libr 200: Information Communities, and it is an ideal resource for those completing the degree program with an e-portfolio. Hirsh’s student assistant Elaine Hall helped edit the textbook, and is intimately familiar with its content. As she works on her e-Portfolio, she consults it regularly. “When it comes to developing your e-Portfolio,” she advises, “pick up a well-rounded LIS textbook like Information Services Today to help guide you through the writing process.”

Foundational Text, Multimedia Format
Careful thought went into the selection of information represented in the textbook, which is written with four core groups in mind: the new student, to learn the foundational core of the field; current information professionals who want to refresh their knowledge and learn new topics that they may not have learned about when they went to school; non-LIS professionals (perhaps future students?) who are curious about what our field is and what we do; and instructors, who can use this text to help their students learn the core foundation of the field.

Reviewing research about the field and employment trends, Hirsh found that there were many important aspects she wanted to address, to engage LIS students and professionals and encourage them to to take a broad, forward-looking view of our exciting field. “New students and professionals need to have a strong foundation and understanding of information and its role in a range of information environments,” she says, “and they need to continue to learn and adapt to new changes.”

Key emerging issues in the field include “how information organizations will remain valuable entities in their communities, how they will continue to thrive. They need to remain creative, innovative, and technologically advanced,” Hirsh stresses. In addition to the actual textbook, there are accompanying multimedia materials, that, since they’re online, can be updated as changes in the field necessitate. A truly dynamic part of the supplemental materials is the set of free webinars, produced by publisher Rowman & Littlefield and Library Journal. “The full series includes six 50-minute webinars corresponding to major sections of Information Services Today,” Hirsh says. Each webinar is moderated by Hirsh, and features a panel of selected contributors to the book.

“The value of the webinars,” Hirsh adds, “is the opportunity to listen to a panel of industry experts as they address key concepts relating to their chapters and share their forward-thinking insights about what it means to be an information professional today.“

The textbook includes the perspective of a wide array of LIS professionals, including many current iSchool instructors such as Wayne T. Disher, Mary Ann Harlan, Michelle Holschuh Simmons, Cheryl Stenstrom and Michael Stephens. “The SJSU iSchool already attracts the leading experts in different areas because we are 100 percent online and people can teach for us no matter where they live,” Hirsh explains.

Getting Your Own Copy
Information Services Today can be a valuable part of your LIS education. It is available for purchase now, and iSchool students and alumni are eligible for a 30 percent discount. Just mention promo code 4S15IST when ordering the book from publisher Rowman & Littlefield. The offer is good until December 31, 2015, and the discount applies to any format of the book–paperback, hardback, or ebook.

Information organizations will remain valuable entities in communities and will continue to thrive—but they need to remain creative, innovative, and technologically advanced. Information Services Today highlights current issues and trends, and provides expert insight into the emerging challenges and opportunities of the future, identifying career management strategies and leadership opportunities in the information profession. Hirsh concludes that she was inspired to create this new textbook because “the underlying principles of our field are valuable, no matter what.”

Alison Peters is in her fourth year of San Jose State University’s Library and Information Science degree program, where her focus is aligned with the Emerging Technologies: Issues and Trends career pathway. Alison has worked on the iSchool’s LIS Publications Wiki, participated in wonderful internship with Librarians Without Borders, and currently finds fascinating people to interview as a Student Assistant writing the Community Profiles. When not working, querying, or in class, Alison puts her MFA from Mills College to good use and and shares her love for all things bookish on Book Riot. You can find her serious professional side on LinkedIn.

Related content:
News and Advice from the SJSU iSchool Director

A Closer Look at MLIS Program Core Courses: What to Expect in LIBR 200 Information Communities

News Story regarding Dr. Hirsh’s book

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