Words can be both very precise and interpreted widely. As such there is no single authoritative definition of anything.
Open Shelf has been publishing for 1 year. If you listen carefully you can hear a tremendous sigh of relief. When we started planning the transition from Access, OLA’s print quarterly magazine, we really weren’t sure we knew how to start and sustain an e-magazine. And neither were we sure people would contribute and people would read it. They did and they have.
It certainly has had its moments: painfully slow host server performance, WordPress theme challenges, multiple failures re usage stats, related posts widgets that never seemed to work, etc. etc.
But we never had a problem with good material. In the past year we published 144 articles by 101 authors in 20 separate releases (issues) of Open Shelf.
The August 1st release is a celebration.
It’s a special issue of 12 articles from the past year that capture the nature and scope of Open Shelf. Not really a “best of” because that would be too hard to choose (and would inevitably leave out some excellent pieces). Think of these as enticements to go back and read some of the other issues.
The diversity of our contributors throughout the year is especially gratifying. We have published seasoned writers and 1st timers; authors from almost every library sector; OLA members and people from outside the field; friends, new friends, and soon to be friends; new professionals, experienced professionals, retired librarians, recent grads, students, faculty, practitioners, and library workers. We even had a Guest Editor for the April 1st edition.
And they covered topics that reflect the broad range of library interests.
It will come as no surprise that being an editor is hard work. But it is also tremendously rewarding. While some days I had no idea what I was going to publish in the next release of the magazine (because I had nothing to publish), the community always came through with last minute contributions. There is no greater thrill for a panicked editor than the arrival of an unsolicited article that just plain nails the topic! And so the greatest rewards were meeting new writers and learning new aspects about libraries. I hope your experience has been the same.
We have many plans for the coming year including special issues (one on sonification and another on the PhD in LIS), new columns, more audio and video, special topics, and more of the same as our ongoing columns continue to be provocative and informative.
My thanks go to the Open Shelf Editorial Board for their guidance and to the wonderful writers whose work sustains Open Shelf. Kudos as well to the OLA staff who work behind the scenes to promote the magazine and solve all sorts of problems, in particular Lauren Hummel, Annesha Hutchinson, and Brian Pudden. A truly special thanks to Shelagh Paterson and the OLA Board of Directors. They have been nothing but encouraging and supportive. And never at any point have they challenged the editorial freedom of the magazine.
Cheers, Mike Ridley
Editor-in-Chief, Open Shelf
From the Editor is a regular column from the Editor-in-Chief of Open Shelf. The views express here and throughout the magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ontario Library Association or its members.