In the Library with a Leadpipe: Conversation with Librarian Editors

Photo: '2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 31' by Nic McPhee CC-BY-SA 2.0

Photo: ‘2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) – 31’ by Nic McPhee CC-BY-SA 2.0

We’ve had discussion topics about professional reading and writing before, so when this post came across our reading lists, we just had to share it. Have you ever wondered about what the process is to be an editor of a chaptered-book? Ellie Colier over at In The Library with the Leadpipe did – and she went a step further and interviewed some experienced librarian editors to find out all about it. This is a great long-form piece covering everything from connecting to publishers to the different processes different editors follow and everything in between. The piece has way too much in it for us to share here – so we encourage you to visit the post and read it in full, but here’s one of our favourite excerpts:

Ellie: What other details have we not covered? Was there something that you weren’t aware would be a part of the process, or that took more time or was harder than you anticipated?

Heather: Obtaining reprint permissions was hands down our biggest unexpected challenge. That was frustrating because there are certainly pieces out there that I wish we could have included. Finding my coeditor Karen and essentially starting the process over was not something I anticipated at the outset, but it was a wonderful development. It was also much easier than I anticipated to work with someone I’d never met in person at a great distance.

Emily: Heather’s right about the challenge of obtaining permissions. It can be frustrating and expensive! Also, editing means an agreement to enter into many relationships that will likely involve at least some degree of conflict. I didn’t realize how much affective labor would be involved in working with authors. If you’re conflict-averse (like I am!), it’s important to be prepared to face those aversions head on, whether it means saying no to an abstract that you can just tell won’t work, or the hard work of telling an author when something isn’t working. Editing that engages texts critically, productively and with generosity is hard work with an emotional dimension I didn’t anticipate. Doing it in a way that produces the best possible work from friends and strangers is a real skill.


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