malalogo2         Join My Mailing List


Mary Puhr - Professional Development Coordinator
Mid-America Library Alliance

MALA website


Quick Links:

MALA Workshop Calendar

MALA Webcasts

MALA Webcasts for Group Viewing

MALA All Access Pass for Webcasts

MALA Library Espresso Shot Training Subscription

MALA Online Harassment Prevention Training

MALA Educational Affiliate Membership - If you are employed by a library who is a member of MALA or your library is on the Get Connected Courier Delivery Service -- YOU ARE A MEMBER TOO! Contact Mary Puhr at MALA for more information on membership levels or to check your membership status.

MALA Get Connected Library Courier Delivery - If you are interested in a membership with interlibrary loan courier service, contact Kirsten Myers, Courier Services/Special Projects Coordinator.


Critical Evaluation of Book Reviews Webcast 

This is a 30 minute pre-recorded webcast. With our online anytime format, you will immediately receive the link to the webcast, password and  the link to the webcast handout upon successful registration. You do not need any special software to view and listen, just a computer!  Since passwords are changed frequently, we suggest viewing the webcast as soon as possible after registering.



Book reviews can show off the reviewer's cynical wit or add to the reader's knowledge of the author's ideas. Who wrote the review and do they have an agenda?  What was the author's intention? Was he or she successful? Does the reviewer agree or disagree with the author, and why? The best reviews promote the best books and encourage readers to seek them out. A good reviewer can appreciate a book even while disagreeing with the author's principles.

Ten Steps:

  • Decide how reviews weigh in on library purchases; they should not be a 100% guide for what to buy.
  • Learn the different professional review outlets and their guidelines for submission.
  • Seek out reviewers who are specific and knowledgeable on the book’s content and context.
  • The tenure trap in library reviewing: Is the person being nasty to earn points with their committee?
  • Encourage library user reviews – of all ages – and post in your library.
  • Editors of published book collections are usually pretty good reviewers.
  • Beware of people and publications paid to review by the authors.
  • Avoid “radio” review interviews; usually just hype.
  • See out conflict of interests: friends reviewing friends.
  • Ask knowledgeable people for their advice.


  1. Establish how book reviews are used in the collection policy to determine what to purchase.
  2. Look for a variety of review outlets with different editors and points of view, including those outside of professional library groups.
  3. Invite and consider reviews and recommendations for staff, library users, and community members.
  4. Ask for opinions from subject matter experts.
  5. Look for books from small, regional, and academic presses.



Pat Wagner has been a trainer, educator, and consultant for 40 years, having worked with clients in 48 states and Canada. She is a manager and producer at Pattern Research, Inc. Pat likes to find the essence in models of human behavior and organizational design and build effective and engaging formats for learning: face-to-face, in print, and online. She has been a poet, playwright, printer, publisher, and graphic designer, and loves books, gardens, and the arts.



Each registration entitles the registrant only to access the webcast. Registrations may not be shared in any way or viewed in a group setting. You may not broadcast or redistribute in any way without prior approval from Mid-America Library Alliance. That includes, but is not limited to, displaying webcast via projector, large screen tv, or overhead projector.

  • MALA Member: $15.00
  • Non-Member: $30.00

MALA Webcast Billing/Refund/Credit Policy:  We prefer all webcasts to be prepaid.  If you prefer to be billed, there is a $5 charge for this service.