Writing the Book You’ll Teach





Professional development, curriculum, textbook development, LIS education


What “bridges the gap” between professional librarianship and the educational practice of LIS programs or iSchool curricula? Textbooks.

Library and information science students require learning materials that will help them enter a rapidly changing field. They need to blend theory with practice to be ready for the varied responsibilities that will accompany jobs in many different kinds of libraries—or jobs outside of libraries. How can a textbook help? Textbooks offer authority, structure, consistency, and reference materials. Authors have done the hard work of validating information. Textbooks are structured to provide an overview of the field of study. They offer consistency; in a class of many students, everyone has access to the same materials. And a good textbook becomes a valuable reference when courses are finished and students enter library practice.

As the field of LIS education changes, LIS textbooks must change with the times. Students need to learn both the practicalities of librarianship and the history, ethics, and pedagogies of their chosen career. It’s increasingly important for textbook authors to be innovative thinkers while still being deeply grounded in the area of their expertise.

Textbooks are changing along with the field—professors require that books integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. Students may read a big foundations textbook or a number of smaller texts more specific to a particular track. Student demographics and interests are changing with the times. Archiving is of great interest. Data is important. Media literacy is critical. Many new literacies are entering course syllabi: health information literacy. Privacy literacy. Business information literacy.

So who writes these textbooks? You and your colleagues do. In this informative and entertaining discussion designed to introduce you to textbook authorship and publication, you’ll learn from a senior acquisitions editor and published author how to propose, write, and market a textbook.

Senior acquisitions editor Jessica Gribble (Bloomsbury Libraries Unlimited) will offer information about coming up with and refining an idea, writing a proposal, signing a contract, working with an editor, and the challenges and joys of writing the book.

  1. Coming up with and refining an idea
  2. Writing a proposal
  3. Signing a contract
  4. Working with an editor (from the editor’s perspective
  5. Writing the book: Author Laura Saunders will share her experience.
  6. Marketing the book

In our question-and-answer session, we’ll encourage all participants to share their experiences with textbooks, both good and bad, and to ask questions about the publication process and the writing process. Our conversation will be open to discussion of the future of textbooks, open educational resources, and textbook affordability initiatives. Textbooks require experienced, knowledgeable authors who are excellent teachers; please join us no matter what stage of your career you’re currently in.


Author Biography

  • Laura Saunders, Simmons University
    Professor and Associate Director of the School of Library and Information Science






Panels (Juried)