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. Index.
This manual is a useful, well-organized tool for school librarians. In a clear, conversational tone, the author suggests practical ways to improve library management, enhance the media center atmosphere, and provide curriculum support. An extensive chapter on Internet resources includes job-hunting sites, listservs, online tutorials, and sites for classroom use. Elsewhere, Smallwood offers suggestions on how to handle the stresses of the rapidly changing world of school librarianship. Much of her information is simply common sense, and many of her tips won't pertain to every situation. But the main value of this publication lies in its extensive resource listsorganizations that provide free or inexpensive materials. This functional, well-researched handbook will benefit school librarians on the lookout for new resources. Debbie Johnson, Richardson (TX) Independence School District
Offers advice on handling everyday challenges of managing a school library, focusing on management of facilities, resources, time, and stress. Chapters on management tasks, creating atmosphere, supporting the school curriculum, using vertical files, Internet resources, daily time savers and tips, and dealing with stress provide examples and practical hints for novice and experienced school media specialists. Includes contacts for curriculum and information resources. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.