November 1984 // Volume 22 // Number 6

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Editor's Page


You and Your Professional Journals

The information overload is for real. Our desks are piled high. We all want to read more than time will allow. So what do we need to read? A more specific question is: What are the criteria I should use in deciding what to read and not read?

As professionals, we need to spend a majority of our reading time with professional literature. But what literature? Which journals? We must read one set of material to help us keep up to date on the content of what we're teaching. Our audiences are more sophisticated and have a higher knowledge and understanding level than at any time in the past. Being current on content is the duty of every professional and the expectation of every client we reach.

We must read another set of professional literature to help us keep up to date and improve our abilities to facilitate learning by our clientele. Included here is the full range of adult and Extension education literature from needs assessment and program planning to evaluation and accountability.

In most Extension program areas, there's a growing number of other providers of information and even other providers of education (which involves much more than merely disseminating information). This requires us to keep on our toes in both areas. Results of failing to keep current on content will create negative effects in the short-run. Failing to keep current on educational strategies may not be so evident in the short-run, but may have even more serious effects in the long-run if we fail to develop programs that deal with people's needs or fail to present them in usable packages.

Where should I read my journals? Personal preference should prevail. I was once told by an old-time Extension staff member that he'd be embarrassed if a farmer came into his office and found him sitting at his desk reading. Such an attitude isn't common now; reading professional material is an accepted and expected part of the job by administrators and clientele alike. But for me, there are better places than the office to read professional literature. I prefer a quieter place where I can read, think, and plan because this atmosphere enables me to maximize the benefits of the time I spend with professional literature, including this Journal.

Roger L. Lawrence