My 2014 professional reading picks

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With 2014 nearing its close I’ll give my annual salute to my favorite professional reading of the year. These five are only a sampling of 2014’s fine articles:

Best free reference websites. (2014). Reference & User Services Quarterly, 54(1), 50–52. doi:10.5860/rusq.54n1.50

I am saluting my favorite articles of the year: I didn’t specify scholarly articles.  Quality reference sources always come in handy.  When they’re free, they’re even handier.

Lundstrom, K., Fagerheim, B. A., & Benson, E. (2014). Librarians and instructors developing student learning outcomes. Reference Services Review, 42(3), 484–498. doi:10.1108/RSR-04-2014-0007

We librarians are happy to work with faculty on learning outcomes.  This article illustrates one way for doing so.

Murphy, J. A. (2014). Library learning: Undergraduate students’ informal, self-directed, and information sharing strategies. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 9(1). Retrieved from

Let’s not underestimate the power of informal learning.  How can library instruction account for it?

Stewart-Mailhiot, A. E. (2014). Same song, different verse: Developing research skills with low stakes assignments. Communications in Information Literacy, 8(1), 32–42. doi:10.7548/cil.v8i1.233

I liked this article so much that I gave it its own post (10/30).  It combines theory (low-stakes writing) with sample assignments.  Why can’t something be both theoretical and practical?

Walden, G. (2014). Informing library research with focus groups: The potential of seven alternative strategies to enhance participant interaction. Library Management, 35(8/9), 558–564.

Focus groups themselves can yield powerful insights.  Imagine augmenting the focus groups with such techniques as storytelling or even drawing.  Each technique comes with examples–from inside and from outside the library.

Indeed it has been a banner year for library reading.  I close by saluting the authors, named here or not, who helped make it so.