Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beneath this tombstone lies…

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Originally published at http://www.library.sd.gov/forlibrarians/enewsletter/2010/mar/2010-03f.asp
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By Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian, Development Services

Google “Readers’ Guide” and you will still find a lot of references to this century- old staple of libraries. For over 100 years, researchers and students alike relied on this source as the ultimate index of subjects covered in popular U.S. magazines and newspapers. Well, I don’t know if it is a “staple” anymore, but it certainly isn’t dead. However, it has transformed itself in the last decade or two.

With contemporary research skills rapidly merging with technology in a tech-savvy world among tech-savvy students, the heralded Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature has taken on new and more flexible forms. Whereas once it was a necessary subscription for every public and school library to provide research access and practice for budding student researchers, its print form has pretty much been relegated to the broom closet or hit the dumpsters in recent years.

Though some of you may still want to continue to house and dust the older indices, most if not all of you should cease to spend your limited dollars on this annual index. At $425 per annual subscription it is not cheap, especially when other “better” and less expensive options are now available.

What has taken its place some might ask? We are fortunate in South Dakota to have statewide databases provided by the State Library. These are available free of charge in any library in South Dakota and may accessed from home with a barcode and password. The old RGPL has been replaced by the faster and more expansive searches by such general subject databases as ProQuest, SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Issues Researcher which give students a wider, deeper, faster, and more in depth scan of a topic…and often these databases provide the full-text of an article with one quick click.

Though our electronic access to these statewide databases is extremely reliable, there are times when the electricity goes down. If and when that happens, the State Library retains a complete set of print volumes ranging from 1900 through 1995 (Vol. 1-55). It is cataloged as A13. R48. And if you really want to look only in the Readers’ Guide, we have H.W. Wilson’s Readers’ Guide Retrospective: 1890 -1982 database here at the State Library. Just give our reference desk a call at 1-800-423-6665.

So let’s not bury old RGPL just yet. However, the need for 400 plus schools and 100 plus public libraries to individually purchase these print volumes has long past. Now that is some very good news we can all celebrate!




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Originally published at http://www.library.sd.gov/forlibrarians/enewsletter/2010/mar/2010-03f.asp

April is Month of the Military Child

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Originally posted at http://www.library.sd.gov/forlibrarians/enewsletter/2010/mar/2010-03b.asp.
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Ellsworth Air Force Base is just one area of military presence in South Dakota. In truth, military families are located throughout the state. Recruiters, ROTC instructors, reservists, and members of the Army and Air National Guard all call South Dakota home. This year, Operation: Military Kids would like to thank those families for their sacrifice during April, Month of the Military Child.

We would like to ask the libraries of South Dakota to consider thanking those families by hosting an event, a program, or a display. The focus of your event/display could be to educate, celebrate, or thank those that serve, or have served in the past, and their families. Examples of programs could include hosting a Hero Pack party, bringing in a speaker, or creating a display of resources for those military families in South Dakota. You can be as creative as you want to be and involve as many other community organizations as you want.

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Originally posted at http://www.library.sd.gov/forlibrarians/enewsletter/2010/mar/2010-03b.asp.
Article was originally written for promoting Operation: Military Kids, however, this program ended in March 2015.