Self Directed Learning: Personal Library Building

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Recently I mentioned Joy Reisinger and her chapter, "The Essential Library" which was published in Elizabeth Shown Mills (Editor), Professional Genealogy, A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001)on pages 62-82. I'd like to refer you back to her chapter again for those teaching themselves. I am a great believer in using the public, college and university libraries, but nothing replaces that shelff of books behind my desk for tools I use daily. So you need a purchasing plan to to build that library.

Joy discusses three categories of material in her professional library: Instructional Works, General References, and Source Materials. She suggests that books in each category on your want list can be assigned acquistion priority levels:

  1. Basic Shelf,
  2. Essential Materials, and
  3. Useful but discretionary items

Joy poses a good question I have learned to ask all the time, "Do I really need to buy this?" Out of this come a number of questions I ask myself.

Is this book a major guide I'll return to frequently?

If I pass it up, will its absence impact on my productivity?

Is it available at a local library?

Have I used or copied from this work more than four times? What do book reviews say about this title?

Dos it meet the scholarly standard for source citations?

Can I get it online?

Go, check it out. Its a great chapter. The exercise of buiding your library is a fabulous learning activity. And it beats TV sports for nriching your evenings.

What do you think?

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