I was asked sometime ago to write a review for Doug Johnson‘s newest book School Libraries Head for the Edge: Rants, Recommendations, and Reflections. I felt honored and downright pleased as punch to be asked. Then the book took its time getting to me. After deciding the mail lost it, I requested a second copy, and well, then life happened. No more excuses though, I finally read it! I’m sort of glad I’m tardy as many of my library blogger friends have long done theirs, so maybe finally my review will stir interest in the book even more. So, without further delay, here are my thoughts:
Required reading for SLIS Students:
This should be a required reading, perhaps even a textbook in every school library information science program! When I first entered the field oh so long ago, while I totally felt prepared (I nailed that NTE as it was called then) I knew my preparation without a shadow of doubt came from my education at the University of South Carolina. But I felt ill-equipped to deal with the realities of my job, particularly the perception from administrators, teachers, parents, and even students. Even on our very own list serv (and now the ning) provided by our state association SCASL, I still hear newbies lament while their training was grounded in standards and theory, and their internships were worthwhile, the realities of the practice had them immediately seeking advice from experienced veteran school librarians. I feel this book would truly prepare them for those realities of being a 21 century librarian–and make them understand exactly what they will be facing day to day in a real job as a school librarian.
For Veteran School Librarians too!
For those practicing librarians who are struggling to catch up with our students (which as has been pointed out in the book often as impossible) it will motivate you to stay on top of the newest technologies and the need to make your current program ore relevant in today’s world. The book often makes me remember USC’s Dr. Dan Barron‘s mantra–Grow or die. A no nonsense book that affirms everything I believe–no wonder Doug and I are friends.
An Administrative Book Study
Second, I would like to see this book done as a book study for all administrators, from the district level down to the school level curriculum coordinator of the administrative team. In following my former football coaching husband around my state, I’ve changed jobs …let’s just say frequently. I am flabbergasted at the perceptions different administrators have of what really happens in a library. Doug’s book not only inspires me to market what I do better, but also makes me want to go out and buy at least my school administration and my district administrators a copy of the book–I did that before with Information Power. Some need to be educated on what “the hub of the school” (a favorite descriptor by principals) should look like today.
I read the book during our standardized testing this week, and caught myself stifling chuckles and laughter. It is well written, comedic in nature, but truly hits home about the realities of our job, our role, perceptions, and what we must do to modify or preserve them.
Just a Good Read; oh by the way it’s a professional book as a bonus!
It will make you laugh at yourself, agreeing frequently, and commiserating a lot. Thank you my friend Doug for this new book! And thanks too for asking me to write a review. Your voice, personality, and style are loud and clear in this one. I highly recommend it. Bravo! Well done.
"Doug's Book Arrived" Cathy Jo Nelson's Photostream February 18, 2010
"Yin Yang" Gilberto Viciedo's photostream September 17, 2009
"Doug Johnson and Cathy Nelson" sc_association_school_librarians' photstream March 16, 2009