Editor’s Note

Richard Saunders


This issue’s editorial reflection is sparked by the two articles selected for this issue of RBM. As a professional librarian I’ve worked in Carnegie classification R1, R2, and M2 institutions. As a practicing historian I’ve done site-specific research in academic libraries between St. Paul and Austin, from Berkeley to New Haven, and a lot of places in between. Over the past thirty years I’ve talked with hundreds of librarians and archivists in scores of different places, from local “treasure” rooms of small, isolated public libraries to the research rooms of the nation’s largest institutions. As I’ve listened to the thumping heart of working libraries I am consistently impressed by the good graces of people from small places, and often frustrated by the sometimes inexplicably pedantic assumptions and requirements made by large research institutions. These articles have prompted me to reflect what best practice really means. I’ve concluded that on the whole, librarians have been far too easily impressed by what other librarians are doing. As a result librarians have failed to equate “best practice” with evidence-based practice.

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