01_ed_note

Editor’s Note

I think we have all had enough of COVID stress to be quite tired of the demands it enforces on our work and social spaces. I’ve lost acquaintances to it—no friends or colleagues yet, thankfully. Being isolated for the past year has provided some quiet time for reflection and for reevaluation. One of the things I’ve realized is how much I take “normal” for granted.

The lifeblood of a scholarly journal is change. Submissions come in, board members rotate on and off, reviewers become active and inactive, the readership shifts generationally as new faces enter the field and older ones retire. All of this happens more or less regularly and quite beyond control. Change is part of the rhythm of existence. However, there is always one aspect of change that plagues an editor: staff turnover. When an editor settles on a good staff, they begin hoping that change slows to a crawl or disappears altogether. It never does, but one can hope. Unfortunately, life and careers tend to change also, bringing new challenges and colleagues within the scope of our grasp. No matter how we might crave stability, we humans and our careers are similarly organic, with all the limitations and frustrations that implies.

For the second time during my tenure as editor, RBM will lose one of its greatest assets, Reviews editor Dr. Jennifer Sheehan. A former editor of the journal herself, Jen returned to the staff a year ago and has since been my sounding board for ideas. Not only that, she carried the weighty task for expanding the number of reviews the journal publishes annually on its new digital portal (https://rbm.acrl.org/index.php/rbm/pages/view/reviews). Readers owe her a debt of gratitude for her service. As she steps down next summer to refocus her time and attention budgets, I cannot do less than thank her publicly and bid her well.

Dr. Sheehan’s departure leaves a vacancy to be filled in the journal’s staffing and leadership. As you read this issue, you may notice the call for applicants in the pages. Please give it some thought. Professional journals function on the contributive action of volunteers. We need you, whether you are retired and looking for a project, or young and eager for a new opportunity. I’m happy to answer queries for folks who think they might be interested in the position; my email address can be found on the masthead of the journal.

Now, in making that encouragement, I must point out that the American Library Association is serious about its leadership and management better reflecting the demographics of the membership. To open opportunities requires initiative and commitment. In that light, volunteers from beyond the cultural mainstream are sorely needed. I empathize with those who are already burdened by service opportunities within your institutions. At the same time, the discipline needs your views and participation in its publications as well. If you are unable to volunteer as Reviews editor, consider volunteering as a reviewer or as a peer reviewer. Societies are strongest when people of different viewpoints, backgrounds, values, and experiences contribute the voices meaningfully. If it is impractical for you to take on another obligation, then please direct friends and colleagues of your acquaintance to the announcement.

And I’ll restate a general admonition from a recent issue—please take a few minutes to improve your skills and knowledge, encouraging others in your professional circle to do the same. The URL to the journal’s OJS front end is http://rbm.acrl.org. See what you can find—and think about what you might add.



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