It runs in the family

Almost everyone in my family is an academic. Grandpa Blau taught at Columbia. Grandma and Grandpa Katz were both medical doctors but also did some university teaching. Aunt Rachel retired from Temple; Uncle Bob from Swarthmore. Aunt Jan is a dean at Old Dominion. Dad is at Hopkins. (The non-university-affiliated adults in my family? My other grandmother was a teacher, my sister is a teacher, my cousin is a teacher. My mom is a librarian.)

But I didn’t realize until a few months ago that my mom had a paper published in an academic journal. I couldn’t look it up when she told me (reminded me?) about it because I didn’t have access to my school library account, but finally remembered to look for it today.

Preamble over, you should now go and refresh your memory on the post I wrote about ranking LIS programs. Go now; I’ll be here when you come back.

Ready? Here’s the citation to my mom’s paper: Katz, J. B. (1978-10-15). Indicators of success: Queens college Department of library science.. Journal of education for librarianship, 19, 130.

A few choice highlights:

WHAT MAKES a successful librarian? This is a question that has concerned library educators for many years. Educating individuals for a career in librarianship has been the topic of debates. Defining success in the field is also difficult.


These are only two of the possible ways success as a librarian can be viewed.


There is a question as to whether or not the “traditional” means of evaluating potential students are the best possible, or even adequate.

Now I have to say that more struck me about this than that the conversation hasn’t changed in 36 years. The writing style, too, caught my attention. In just these few sentences I see some phraseology that isn’t fantastic (“this is a question that has concerned…”, “is also difficult”) but which I would write myself. And have written myself. (So any criticism here should be viewed entirely as one of those things that bugs you about someone else simply because it bugs you about yourself.) The use of quotation marks? Totally me. Keep reading the paper and it’s like I wrote it.

The amazing thing about this is that until I’d read this paper, I had literally never written anything written by my mom other than correspondence. Somewhere in the nature vs nurture debate, writing style fell into the nature side of the fight. How’d that happen?

Mom says I’m a good writer, though, so thanks for the style, Mom!

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