Help! I’m a new LIS student – what should I read?

A good nine months ago, I found myself with a letter of acceptance to study for an MSc in Information & Library Studies. Hooray! I had already been keeping up-to-date with the field by reading blogs and the like, but was keen to read some introductory textbooks before the course started. Here are some recommendations to my past self and, more usefully, to anybody who is thinking about embarking on a LIS degree.

CHOWDHURY, G.G. et al, 2008. Librarianship. An introduction. London: Facet Publishing

In a nutshell, this is a great overview of libraries, librarians and librarianship. The chapters are concise and, I felt, give you the most important information about each topic without going into too much detail. In the first draft of the post, I gave a list of just some of the topics, but although I picked the ones that I found most interesting, it soon got far too long. LIS just is a fascinating and wide field!

Still, if you want the very basics, this book has them covered: what different types of libraries are there, and what services do they provide? If you want to read an overview of how information is organised and accessed, this book is your best friend. An introduction to the most important library technologies? Search no more. The book also has several chapters devoted to mangement and marketing in libraries as well as education and research in librarianship. Each chapter has a short list of recommended reading, which I found very handy.

As I said above, a great introduction to a very broad field, and perhaps the first book I would pick up if I was a new student.

BAWDEN, D. and ROBINSON, L., 2012. Introduction to Information Science. London: Facet Publishing

Out of the three books I present here, this is probably my favourite. It is more detailed than Chowdhury et al (2008) and I found myself referring to a lot it during my first semester. The authors are great at explaining difficult concepts and presenting them in clear, simple language. For example, the whole field of philosophy of information science was completely new to me, but this book really helped me to understand what  it’s all about.

Topics I found particularly useful and/or interesting include: the said chapter on philosophy and paradigms of information science, information organisation and informetrics.

BROPHY, P., 2005. The academic library. 2nd ed. London: Facet Publishing

This is a lovely introduction to academic libraries – users, HR, collection management, buildings, and so on… My only comment would be that some parts are slightly outdated, e.g. when  the author talks about technology and, especially, the higher education environment which seems to change at an increasingly rapid pace. Still, if you are interested in academic libraries, read this book! I also picked up some general library background knowledge from this book, e.g. different theoretical concepts of libraries and the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy – random, I know!


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