Library Journal is a trade publication for librarians. It was founded in 1876 by Melvil Dewey (familiar as the inventor of the Dewey decimal system). It reports news about the library world, emphasizing public libraries, and offers feature articles about aspects of professional practice. It also reviews library-related materials and equipment.
Its "Library Journal Book Review" does prepublication reviews of several hundred popular and academic books each month.
Library Journal has the highest circulation of any librarianship journal, according to Ulrich's â" approximately 100,000.
Library Journal's original publisher was Frederick Leypoldt, whose company became R. R. Bowker. Reed International (now Reed Business Information) purchased Bowker in 1985; they published Library Journal until 2010, when it was sold to Media Source, owner of the Junior Library Guild and The Horn Book Magazine.
Founded in 1876 by Melvil Dewey, Library Journal originally declared itself to be the "official organ of the library associations of America and of the United Kingdom." Its early issues focused on the growth and development of libraries, with feature articles by such prominent authors as Melvil Dewey and Charles Cutter focusing on cataloging, indexing, and lending schemes. In its early issues, Charles Cutter, creator of the Cutter Expansive Classification system, developed his ideas; R. R. Bowker discussed cataloging principles; and managing editor Melvil Dewey made recommendations for early library circulation systems. Initially, Library Journal did not review books unless they related to librarians' professional interests, but then, like now, the journal ran articles on collection development and ads from publishers recommending their forthcoming books for libraries to purchase.
Early issues of Library Journal were a forum for librarians throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom to share news, discussions of their libraries' ideas and practices, and reports of professional activities such as meetings and conferences. In an 1878 prospectus, the journal stressed its importance by noting that small libraries, in particular, could gain the "costly experience and practical advice" of the largest libraries. Regular reading of Library Journal, the prospectus declared, would make "the librarian worth more to the library, and the library worth more to the people." In the Notes and Queries section, librarians shared reports of how their library managed common problems, and they maintained a constant exchange of questions and answers about authorship and reader's advisory. Two prominent sections, the Bibliography (complied by Charles Cutter) and Pseudonyms and Anonyms (James L. Whitney), served as reference resources for librarians. The latter contained an ongoing list of titles of untitled works and real names of authors who were anonymous or used pseudonyms, with an index compiling all of them in the December issue.
The print edition of Library Journal contains the following sections:
- Library Journal names its Librarian of the Year. 2014's Librarian of the Year was Corinne Hill .
Its 2011 winner was Seattle public librarian Nancy Pearl, Luis Herrera 2012 winner, Jo Budler 2013 winner, and Corinne Hill is the current 2014 winner.
- Library Journal announces its pick for Best Small Library in America. Its winner for 2010 was Glen Carbon Centennial Library in Glen Carbon, Illinois, winner for 2011 was Naturita Community Library in Naturita, Colorado, winner in 2012 was The Independence Public Library in Independence, Kansas, winner in 2013 winner in 2013 was Southern Area Public Library in Lost Creek, West Virginia, and finally winner in 2014 was Pine River Library in Bayfield, Colorado.
- A Movers & Shakers edition is published annually in March, providing profiles of influential and innovative North American librarians and other information professionals.
- A library staff member is presented with the annual Paraprofessional of the Year award. The 2010 winner was Allison Sloan, Senior Library Associate at Reading Public Library in Massachusetts, 2011 winner was Gilda Ramos from Patchogue-Medford Library in New York, 2012 winner was Linda Dahlquist from Volusia County Public Library in Florida, 2013 winner was Laura Poe from Athens-Limestone Public Library in Athens, Alabama, and finally 2014 winner was Clancy Pool from St. John Branch of Washington Stateâs Whitman County Rural Library District.
- The Library of the Year is announced. 2010 Library of the Year: Columbus Metropolitan Library in Columbus, Ohio, 2011 Library of the Year: King County Library System in King County, Washington, 2012 Library of the Year: San Diego County Library in San Diego, California, 2013 Library of the Year: Howard County Library in Howard County, Maryland, 2014 Library of the Year: Edmonton Public Library, the first Canadian Library to win this award. Nominations are due April 6, 2015.
- Library Journal announces the winner of its annual LJ Teaching Award. Its 2010 winner was Steven L. MacCall of the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 2011 winner was Martin B. Wolske from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012 winner was Lilia Pavlovsky from Rutgers University, NJ, 2013 winner was Suzie Allard from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and 2014 winner was Paul T. Jaeger from University of Maryland. Nominations are due September 21, 2015.
LibraryJournal.com, the website of Library Journal, provides full access to all print content, as well as recent archives, to both subscribers and non-subscribers. Visitors can sign up for email newsletters such as BookSmack, Library Hotline, LJ Academic Newswire, LJ Review Alert, and LJXpress. Web articles in the Libraries & Librarians category are listed by topic, with each topic assigned its own RSS feed so that users can receive articles relevant to their interests. Past and present reviews are archived and organized by type (book, magazine, video/DVD, gaming, etc.) and are also available in RSS feeds. Other features include INFOdocket (edited by Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy).
Library Journal also maintains an up-to-date list of library jobs in the website's JobZone.
- History of Public Library Advocacy
- List of literary magazines
- Public Library Advocacy
- Kirkus Reviews
- Publishers Weekly
- San Francisco Review of Books
- Library Journal website
- Hathi Trust. Library Journal digitized issues, various dates