Finding the Right Professional Journal

Finding the Right Professional Journal
Ever wonder how librarians stock the shelves with such fun Young Adult Literature? Or how does the library stay on top of the current technology needs? One answer might be: professional journals. Journals that librarians can refer to and supplement their knowledge. Two professional journals one can refer to are: The Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA) and School Library Journal (SLJ).   Both journals are available in hard copy and online.  VOYA is a periodical that helps librarians and those serving young adults. SLJ is also a periodical serves school libraries and librarians. 

Surprisingly the websites that serve these periodicals were easier to read and perouse. There were drop down menus on a variety of  topics related to Young Adult literature on both VOYA and SLJ websites. The hard copy of both admittedly has a table of contents to help navigate the periodical, but doesn’t it just seems easier to navigate a website? Also, the hard copies seemed so jam-packed from top to bottom it was overwhelming to the eye.  Important information is lost to the reader because the pages looked so jumbled.

VOYA’s website also offers visitors a digital copy of VOYA’s latest publication. With in VOYA’s website a visitor can choose what they want to view by clicking on drop down menus. To name a few menus that are available:”Author,” “Interviews,” “Book Review,” “Book lists,” and “Columns.” Also, the book reviews from VOYA hard copy, again are easier to read at online. On the website, the reviews were set up, very similar to movie reviews, an image of the book cover was large, as was the text. Whereas, in the hard copy the book review had tiny pictures and microscopic text. A librarian, might get frustrated trying to read that tiny print while on break at the library.  They need to decided on books to fill the shelves, rather than have a frustrating time reading the tiny print. What the librarian might do instead is look online at the website and keep a hard copy on hand so when they can’t look online they have something to refer back to when they have time. 

Problematic front size and crammed pages for SLJ’s hard copy, again, content of these periodicals are washed away because of the formatting issues. Turning to the SLJ website one finds it better for reading and browsing. Like VOYA’s website, SLJ’s website offers parts of the current in print periodical for viewing.   SLJ offers, in both hard copy and online, book reviews, articles, and helpful resources. However the books reviews in SLJ compared to VOYA  were “ho-hum.” They are unexciting and ordinary, not even offering a picture. There also seemed to be a rating system offered but not easily deciphered. 

Now, to compare the content rather than the format both professional journals are useful for different reasons. Professionals in public school might prefer VOYA for the special attention it pays to Young Adult Literature. These professionals may also find the web content useful with “VOYA online exclusives” as an example. This page offers extra resources to librarians and public service professionals within the realm of Young Adult Literature. 

School Media Specialists may see the merits of SLJ over VOYA. VOYA offers articles and book reviews, but so does SLJ. In addition to reviews and articles SLJ offers resources and articles on Education Technology.  For example, an article under the technology tab on the website entitled “web design matters,” it discusses the importance of a libraries web page design. Other topics the SLJ website has that don’t appear on VOYA website or print copy are “blogs,” “RSS,” and “Jobs.” Finding SLJ more diverse and content rich than VOYA, the needs of librarians in a School Media Center would find SLJ helpful. But a public librarian working in or specializing in Young Adult Literature might find VOYA a better choice than SLJ.  Having all resources available to a professional could be helpful. As mentioned earlier, having a hard copy while looking through the web site is one way to satisfy those needs.

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