Written by Holly Jackson on behalf of the Library Writing Cooperative
Are you interested in publishing in the library field? Or are you an experienced writer already involved in the field? The Library Writing Cooperative, organized by and for library workers, offers a First Draft Matchmaker service to match volunteer reviewers with writers for supportive and nonjudgmental feedback that can improve the writing process prior to submission at a journal, conference proposal, or trade publication and to encourage many voices to participate in the professional conversation.
For writers who hope to have their work reviewed, you get to choose the aspects of your work where you would like feedback. This offers you the chance to get some additional feedback before you go to an editor or further in the peer review process. Generally, the timeline for this process is 2-4 weeks depending on the volunteer reviewer’s availability. Request to have a reviewer look over your work. You don’t even have to have it done yet – tell us that you’ll have it ready in the near future and we’ll send you monthly check-in emails until you’re ready.
For reviewers who want to give back to the field by looking over others’ drafts and supporting new and practicing authors in the field, you’ll receive onboarding materials on how best to share feedback with colleagues and a letter of thanks to include in annual reviews. You’ll be matched with a writer on an as-needed basis as requests come in. Sign up to be a reviewer and learn more about the review process.
We are thrilled at the initial responses for this program and hope to see this help both aspiring and already established writers from across the library world gain help and experience through this program. Through discussions with others across different areas of librarianship, we’ve found that there is a range of support when it comes to publishing. Some areas are not as supportive because it’s not a requirement (and therefore it’s hard to find help if you’re interested in publishing), while others have very strict requirements due to things like tenure track responsibilities (so it might be a bit more competitive). This program opens up access to all librarians (public, school, special, community college or other academic librarians, archival, etc.) and provides supportive and nonjudgmental feedback.