Back to School

Books for new beginnings

September 3, 2013

Karen Muller

Whether we are going back to school or not, most of us sense new beginnings in the air. And whether we are in a school library or not, we are all part of the educational process.

Literacy and learning start before school. Every Child Ready for School: Helping Adults Inspire Young Children to Learn is a case study for a library-based school readiness program developed by Carroll County (Md.) Public Library. It is based on the premise that “libraries can motivate adults to inspire children to learn” (p. 14) and derived its inspiration from the ALSC/PLA Every Child Ready to Read program. The authors, Dorothy Stoltz and Connie Wilson, both librarians, and Elaine M. Czarnecki, a literacy consultant, review why it is important to train adult caregivers and how training for adults should be designed. They provide a step-by-step guide to a training package, with sample agendas, scripts, and other resources.
INDEXED. ALA EDITIONS, 2013. 160 P. $47. PBK. 978-0-8389-1125-9.

Mirah J. Dow, former member of the AASL Legislation Committee, has assembled a set of bibliographical essays addressing the key components of why school libraries are important to the education of our youth. School Libraries Matter: Views from the Research looks at 10 facets of school library excellence. Each chapter, written by a researcher in the specific discipline, provides an overview of recent research that can be used for advocacy with school administrators or the broader community in promoting the value of school librarians essential to the learning process of today’s students. The threads—on project-based learning, collaboration, language development, information seeking behavior, and academic achievement—are brought together in the final chapter with 10 statements on why school libraries matter.

According to the National Council of State Legislatures website, most states mandate some sex education in public schools. Sex in the Library: A Guide to Sexual Content in Teen Literature will go a long way in helping school librarians provide age-appropriate, informative, and accurate materials to support the curriculum. Its origins are the book talks the authors, Mary Jo Heller, a school librarian, and Aarene Storms, a public librarian, offered in their town. They provide tips for book talks that support the curriculum, particularly Common Core, for avoiding the “giggles,” and for gaining administrative and parental approval. There are topical lists of suggested titles, references to reviews, and annotations, with age and content indicators to guide selection.

Time management is a critical skill, whether you are in an elementary school library where days are filled with instruction as each classroom visits the library for one period a week; a public library where there is always another reference question beckoning as you try to plan a literacy event; or a college library where meetings with faculty are balanced with reviewing the collection and developing new instructional units. Time and Project Management Strategies for Librarians, edited by Carol Smallwood, Jason Kuhl, and Lisa Fraser, provides an array of tips and tricks for managing one’s own tasks, scheduling those of others, and managing projects so that they don’t overwhelm. Not all suggestions will work for everyone, but this “Lifehacker vade mecum” should inspire at least one new (or renewed) practice to become more efficient.
INDEXED. SCARECROW PRESS, 2013. 308 P. $55. PBK. 978-0-8108-9052-7. (ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK.)

Two revised editions round out our back-to-school library. Enhancing Teaching and Learning: A Leadership Guide for School Librarians, 3rd edition, by Jean Donham, covers the complexities of being a school librarian, from the local governance questions about building the collection and collaborating with the other faculty to understanding program evaluation and assessment of student learning. This edition has been updated to include the role of standards, the influence of media, and the changing reading habits and educational needs of millennials.
INDEXED. ALA NEAL-SCHUMAN, 2013. 400 P. $70. PBK. 978-1-55570-887-0.

Information Literacy Instruction That Works: A Guide to Teaching by Discipline and Student Population, 2nd ed., edited by Patrick Ragains, addresses post-secondary-level student instruction, beginning with developing an ongoing relationship with teaching faculty and collaborating with various audiences on campus. Most essays are subject-specific, though there are separate discussions on teaching students with disabilities and distance learners.
INDEXED. ALA NEAL-SCHUMAN, 2013. 360 P. $85. PBK. 978-1-55570-860-3.

KAREN MULLER is librarian and knowledge management specialist for the ALA Library.



Building the Future

2013 Library Design Showcase