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The Indispensable Librarian: Surviving (and Thriving) in School Media Centers in the Information Age

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Well-known and loved for his column, "Head for the Edge", in THE BOOK REPORT and LIBRARY TALK, Doug Johnson has become a motivator, philosopher, and entertainer for teachers and media specialists all over the country. Johnson defines and clarifies the role of the school library media specialist in a technologically enhanced school, providing relevant examples and useful advice on a variety of topics. In his wise and entertaining style, he cuts to the heart of each issue as he offers practical methods for leveraging technology's popularity and effectiveness to build stronger programs and cultivate professional networks and friendships.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Rayna Patton
These two books, part of the Professional Growth Series, take different approaches in advising school librarians on how to improve their job performance. Subtitled "Tips and Resources," Smallwood's book offers very practical advice from a thoroughly organized librarian. Tips range from managing a media center, creating a positive atmosphere and supporting the school curriculum, to maintaining vertical files. Few readers will fail to find helpful suggestions in these sections. Potentially less valuable are the pages and pages of Internet addresses, and addresses of organizations, public or non-profit, that offer material that can be added to vertical files or used for a particular project. Though many of the Internet sites are mainstream, in general Internet sites have a nasty habit of changing address, disappearing, or being abandoned. Smallwood does not discuss fundamental issues related to Internet searching, such as appropriate access, efficiency, reliability, and searching skills. Also, vertical files may no longer be as justifiable as Smallwood suggests. Depending on help and time available, and availability of other resources like the Electric Library, they can be an incredible drain on time and energy. There is one regrettable omission in the book. Though Smallwood rightly stresses on page one the importance of written policies on copyright, Internet use, and selection of materials, and gives suggestions on how to find model policies, she fails to include any actual examples in her text. A review of the librarian's listserv LMNet shows how very often librarians beg for sample policies they can adapt to their own situation. Johnson begs, exhorts, and threatens librarians to change their image and their skills so that they can truly become The Indispensable Librarian. This is advice from a librarian and district supervisor who insists we must be leaders in technology and technology applications in our schools. Librarians who currently lack clerical help, administrative support, or access to computers, training, or a computer technician, will still find much helpful advice in Johnson's book. He covers some subjects particularly well. "Standards for Evaluating World Wide Web Sites"; sample media/technology program goals; a twelve-point library/media program checklist for building administrators; thirteen reasons to fight for Internet access; a detailed model job description--these are just some of the useful outlines that Johnson provides. Public relations? Essential, and there is pertinent how-to information on how to get your message out. Designing a new media center? We should all be so lucky, but if occasion arises, Johnson has suggestions for us to borrow. Budgeting? Ways of planning and justifying your requests are included. A list of recommended readings also seems well chosen. Surprisingly, the book has no index, but the Table of Contents is unusually detailed. For those of us who can only yearn for a library Eden where there are district coordinators, computer technicians, and monthly in-service meetings, Johnson's book offers a vision of how we still can effect change in the more limited spheres we currently inhabit. With luck, we may be able to keep our jobs, too. Biblio. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: The Indispensable Librarian: Surviving (and Thriving) in School Media Centers in the Information Age, and Insider's Guide to School Libraries: Tips and Resources.
The author of a popular column in defines and clarifies the role of the school library media specialist in a technology enhanced school and gives advice on budgeting, facilities design, planning, and staff development in an entertaining and motivational style. Topics include developing a mission statement, Internet access in schools, software selection, the future of books, and working with equipment vendors. Includes needs assessment quizzes and sample policies. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938865643
  • Publisher: Linworth Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Series: Professional Growth Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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