Celebrating 60 Years of Choice

A message from our Editor & Publisher Rachel Hendrick

Download the Choice Timeline PDF featured in our March 2024 60th Anniversary Issue.

In preparing this timeline for the 60th anniversary of Choice, I was reminded of the dedication of the Choice staff and reviewers over the years. Since 1964, books have rolled into the Choice offices to be se-lected, assigned, and sent out to reviewers. Reviews made their way back to Middletown Connecticut. First by USPS and then by electronic submission. (Every year we still get one or two reviews by post, but back in the day, we had dedicated staff for typing in what was a mountain of reviews.) But the academic library has changed over the last sixty years and as library technology, collection development strategies, and even job titles have evolved so have Choice’s offerings to meet these new needs.

Our innovation started early: in 1965, just a year after publishing our first issue, Choice debuted the Out-standing Academic Books (now Outstanding Academic Titles) list and by 1970 we were including the ISBN in reviews bibliographic data. 1985 heralded the introduction of the forthcoming titles list. In 1997 we began reviewing web tools and Resources for College Libraries went digital. We launched our first e-newsletters in 2006 (we now have eleven newsletters to choose from). In 2020, we relaunched Choice360.org and challenged ourselves to think more broadly than bibliography when it came to creating content for academic librarians. Our two blogs, Toward Inclusive Excellence (launched in 2021) and LibTech Insights (launched in 2023) provide you with timely and actionable advice on how to provide bet-ter service to the library community.

From the very beginning, Choice responded to a need in academic librarianship and Reviews on Cards was one of our first innovations. An early advertisement for this product read, “Many subscribers have ex-pressed a need for a service which would bring them concurrently with each regular issue all book reviews in that issue reprinted on 3 x 5 cards.” (Choice, December 1967, vol. 4, no. 10, page 181) Reviews on Cards quickly became a favorite of faculty liaisons across the country. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many librarians and faculty to work from home and Reviews on Cards subscriptions declined; nobody was in the office to sort through and distribute those cards. Even when we all slowly filed back into the office, Reviews on Cards subscriptions never recovered. Last year we made the difficult decision to discontinue this product.

Although products come and go and staff is hired and then retire, Choice’s mission remains eternal. We provide academic librarians and their community with timely and actional advice on what to collect, what to recommend, how to serve increasingly diverse populations, and how to navigate technology trends (I’m looking at you, AI). It’s been a pleasure contemplating Choice’s history, but I am most excited about its future.

Academic Librarians, there is a 30-Day Free* Trial of Choice Reviews!

Academic librarians may sign up for a complimentary trial of Choice Reviews for their institution.

*Trial limited to academic institutions that have not had a trial/subscription to Choice Reviews in the past 24 months. The offer is limited to institutional trials only, not available to individuals/publishers.