Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Librarians as Professional Developers

Abilock, D., Fontichiaro, K., and Harada, V., eds. (2012). Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.  ISBN 978-1-61069-041-6. 390 pages.

This book combines the visionary and the day-to-day in schools, offering advice to teacher librarians that is at once inspiring and practical. Full of big ideas and practical recommendations, it is a must-read for Teacher Librarians; arguably, it is a must-own.  The editors draw upon their considerable experience and expertise in school libraries and, more importantly, in school communities to position teacher librarians as crucial to quality professional development since they directly impact all stakeholders within a school.
The editors do an especially good job of explaining common pitfalls and the realities of the needs of adult learners.  They focus on communication basics, underlining the importance of strong interpersonal skills. In exactly the same way these skills are critical in reference interviews, they are equally if not more important in teacher librarians’ conversations with faculty and administrators within a school.  They extend a metaphor of a garden and show specific and varied examples of how teacher librarians have used a wide set of entry points and instructional tools in order to further not only professional development, but school-wide learning.  I found the case studies to be the most helpful part of this book, as best practices models are key for any teacher librarian, whether new or experienced. 

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