Year-End Message to Friends and Customers

We haven’t done this in the past, but I think I would like to begin a tradition of sending a “year-end update” to friends and customers. Why now? Probably because 2012 was a year that saw a lot of changes, and we are planning for 2013 to be a big year as well.

To begin with our major news of 2012, we started Library Juice Academy, which offers online courses to librarians and library workers for continuing education. We started lining up instructors in July and August, and started offering online classes beginning in October. We have a nice, diverse range of courses offered. These classes are skills-oriented, so that librarians can feel justified in asking for professional development funds to pay for them. It has been very exciting getting Library Juice Academy off the ground, and it has been successful so far. We are always looking for new instructors to offer online classes of two- or four-weeks in duration, so if there is something you would like to teach then please go ahead and contact us.

There is another activity into which to enlist your help regarding Library Juice Academy. In just the past few days we have launched the Sponsor a Librarian program, which is intended to help unemployed librarians pay for their continuing education, in order to keep their skill set fresh. Details about this are on the Library Juice Academy website, but to summarize, the way it works is that unemployed or underemployed librarians can create profiles on the Sponsor a Librarian site indicating what classes they want to take, and other librarians, or friends or family, can donate funds to pay for these classes. It’s premised on the sense that the library profession is a community that helps its members. You can participate in this by creating a profile, if you are unemployed, or by donating funds to sponsor an unemployed librarian to take classes (once the profiles have been posted to the site, which should be soon). We hope that this proves to be a helpful service.

In other Library Juice Academy news, soon into the new year we hope to begin offering one or more webinar series, the nature of which is currently under wraps. You can keep up to date on Library Juice Academy news by following the twitter feed mentioned later, or by subscribing to email updates on the website.

Also happening now are the last weeks and days of our campaign to “unglue” Lauren Pressley’s book, So You Want To Be a Librarian. We are working with to crowd-fund a creative-commons licensing of the ebook version of Lauren’s book, so that it can be freely accessible to college students, recent grads, and career-changers who are considering going into librarianship. Our goal for the campaign is to raise $9000, and we are only about 22% of the way there with a deadline of December 31st. That doesn’t seem very good, but this kind of campaign often has the bulk of its donations in the home stretch. We hope you will consider donating to this campaign. Donations will be acknowledged in the new e-version of the book, with generous donations earning more verbose and prominent thanks in the new acknowledgments section. Donating on behalf of someone else or on behalf of a cause that will be acknowledged might make a good holiday gift.

On the publishing side, an accomplishment in 2012 that we want to highlight is the long-awaited release of the electronic version of Alternative Publishers of Books in North America (APBNA), compiled by Byron Anderson. The book’s seven prior editions have been published by a number of publishing houses, including ours for the sixth edition. Many people who saw the book had the same question to ask: Why isn’t this on the web? In response to that question, we started working with Byron, and also with the Alternative Press Center, to create a new electronic resource. The Alternative Press Center (APC), cooperating with the Independent Press Association, published three editions of Annotations: A Guide to the Independent, Critical Press. Annotations was a guide to periodicals in the same way that APBNA was a guide to book publishers. Working with Byron Anderson and with Chuck D’Adamo of APC, we combined the two resources into a searchable database that lives on the Library Juice Press website, with the new title, Alternatives in Print. The database will be updated regularly by Byron and the APC, when we get the editing interface done (it is in the works, as I keep promising them). This is a very useful free resource, for collection development or for shopping your work if you are an author. We think you should list it in your catalog for your patrons to find.

2012 was relatively slow for releasing new titles, but the titles we did release were good ones. On the Library Juice Press imprint, we released Greening Libraries, which is a guide to green and sustainable practices in libraries, edited by Monika Antonelli and Mark McCullough. We also released Wayne Bivens-Tatum’s Libraries and the Enlightenment, which is an enlightening read, if I may say, about the history of libraries and the ideas surrounding their development, primarily in the 18th century.

Bivens-Tatum’s book is now under contract to be translated into Japanese and published by the Kyoto Institute for Library and Information Science. 2012 saw two other new translation agreements, both with Brazilian publishers and both on archival-studies topics. John Ridener’s From Polders to Postmodernism: A Concise History of Archival Theory, published by Litwin Books, is being translated into Brazilian Portuguese for publication by Editora da UFF, a university press. Richard J. Cox’s Personal Archives and a New Archival Calling: Readings, Reflections and Ruminations, also published by Litwin Books, is under contract to be translated into Portuguese by Brazilian university press Editora UFMG.

The Litwin Books imprint also released two new titles in 2012. Prophets of the Fourth Estate: Broadsides by Press Critics of the Progressive Era, by Amy Reynolds and Gary Hicks, was released at the beginning of the year. Make Your Own History: Documenting Feminist and Queer Activism in the 21st Century, edited by Lyz Bly and Kelly Wooten, was published mid-year, as the second entry in the Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, with Emily Drabinski as series editor. A third Litwin Books title was canceled, unfortunately after we announced its publication. Richard Cox’s collection of essays about Lester J. Cappon will be published as separate articles in archival studies journals. Dr. Cox’s Series on Archives, Archivists, and Society has not suffered as a result of this, however, and planned titles within it are moving along well.

2012 also saw the launch of our imprint for general readers, Auslander & Fox, with the publication of two titles, the children’s book Allie and the Monster Who Said Blah Blah Blah, and the novella by Ian Stoba, titled, Walt.

Between these three imprints, we presently have 23 projects under contract at various stages of development, including a handful with expected release dates in the first half of 2013. These can be mentioned here, since they should be available fairly soon. We are republishing H. Curtis Wright’s biography of Jesse Shera, which I personally love and which I can say serves me as a personal touchstone. Also on the Library Juice Press imprint we will soon be publishing Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis, edited by Shana Higgins and Lua Gregory, and Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond, edited by Melissa Morrone. The most significant title to date from Library Juice Press may also reach press by mid year, a reference book titled, The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom: Concepts, Cases and Theories, edited by Mark Alfino and Laura Koltutsky. This book has been years in the works and is nearing completion. On the Litwin Books imprint we are also expecting titles in the first half of 2013. Also several years in the works is The Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, edited by Patrick Keilty and Rebecca Dean. This will be a major work that we think will serve as a point of reference for the field. Also in the first half of the new year will be Piracy: Leakages from Modernity, edited by Martin Fredriksson and James Arvanitakis; Queers Online: LGBT Digital Practices in Libraries, Archives, and Museums, edited by Rachel Wexelbaum; Ephemeral Material: Queering the Archive, by Alana Kumbier; and Digital Identity Narratives, by Stacey Koosel. In the works on the Auslander & Fox imprint are a coffeetable/reference book about secessionist and nationalist separatist movements by Chris Roth, and a new translation of Voltaire’s play, Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet, which we expect to be controversial and a conversation-starter.

As always, we invite book proposals and manuscript submissions within our editorial scope.

2012 saw another development that we did not announce to the extent that it warranted. We enlisted Alison Lewis as Chief Acquisitions Editor for the Library Juice Press imprint. We work closely with Alison regarding many aspects of the business, as well as with two others who deserve mention, Emily Drabinski and Martin Wallace.

As a final bit of news, we now have someone handline Twitter posts. We had not been participating on Twitter the way a lot of librarians and academics like to do, and decided to rectify that. So, now we are twittering, with the help of Halsted Bernard, who is known to many on the librarian’s internet as “Cygnoir.” Halsted has run the “Library Lovers” Livejournal for over ten years, and has been following Library Juice and Library Juice Press throughout that time, so she is well placed to do this for us. We are using the @litwinbooks handle for the Litwin Books imprint now, instead of for everything, and we have added the handles @LibJuicePress and @LibJuiceAcademy in addition, so add those to your feed if you would like to be kept up to date in this way.

Some of you know that I started Library Juice Press and Litwin Books while I was working as a librarian at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and continued it as I entered the doctoral program in information studies at UCLA in the Fall of 2011. A major development in 2012, in my life anyway, has been that I left the phd program in order to devote all of my time to Litwin Books, Library Juice Press, and related endeavors. This was a difficult decision but in retrospect rather an obvious one, given the demands of the months ahead on the publishing front and with Library Juice Academy.

Watch our blog for news about a party in Chicago during ALA Annual, and stop by and say hello.

Rory Litwin
President, Litwin Books, LLC