February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Professional Reading: August 2012

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CHANCE, Rosemary & Laura Sheneman. Crash Course in Family Literacy Programs. 127p. appendix. bibliog. charts. diags. illus. index. websites. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $30. ISBN 978-1-59884-888-5; ebook $30. ISBN 978-1-59884-889-2. LC 2011044094.
The material in this slim volume is presented in a dry, unengaging, and somewhat disjointed manner, and the intended audience is unclear. Although the book seeks to address public and/or school librarians and library administrators, it is uncertain whether it succeeds at reaching any of these target audiences effectively. It begins by providing a general definition of literacy, and of family literacy specifically, and a discussion of the socioeconomic and cultural variables to development, at-risk populations, and barriers to literacy. Subsequent chapters include information about funding sources and the grant-application process; research about family literacy and the importance of reading; national model family literacy initiatives; the planning, publicity, and assessment of family literacy events; parent-child literacy interaction; and bilingual/multicultural family literacy. Samples of family literacy programs, with book titles and related activities, are provided. An appendix includes interviews with a public librarian, a school librarian, a school principal, and a reading specialist regarding family literacy. It is surprising that although the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) initiative, Every Child Ready to Read at Your Library, is briefly mentioned, there is no in-depth discussion of this program, although other national programs not as relevant to public and school libraries are discussed in greater depth. Although references are listed after every chapter, no list of recommended books, websites, and resources is provided. For more comprehensive information on this topic, see Susan B. Neuman and David K. Dickinson’s Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Guilford, 2011) and Patricia A. Edwards’s Children’s Literacy Development: Making It Happen Through School, Family, and Community Involvement (Allyn & Bacon, 2003). For practical information regarding planning effective family literacy programs, see Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz’s Early Literacy Storytimes @ Your Library: Partnering with Caregivers for Success (ALA, 2005) and Kathryn Totten’s Family Literacy Storytimes: Readymade Storytimes Suitable for the Whole Family (Neal-Schuman, 2009).–Francesca Burgess, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

SWEENEY, Jennifer. Literacy: A Way Out for At-Risk Youth. 133p. appendix. bibliog. charts. index. websites. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2011. pap. $40. ISBN 978-1-59884-674-4; ebook $40. ISBN 978-1-59884-675-1. LC 2011042804.
Based on the author’s research project, this book advocates for library services to young adults in detention facilities, with an emphasis on the long-term benefits and value of these services. It offers support, advice, and techniques for librarians working with these young people. Chapter one covers the history of the detention system, the various types of institutions created for housing juveniles throughout history, the establishment of juvenile court, various interventions used for dealing with troubled youth, and the eventual realization of the importance and value of developing library services for them. Although each state follows its own rules in handling juveniles, chapter two outlines the basic steps of the juvenile process in court. Chapters three and four address the essential information needs that will help with this group’s future success, and the value of literacy and readers’ advisory programs. Remaining chapters describe models based on school and public libraries, a number of programs used successfully, issues specific to this particular setting, and the important place of the library within the system. The last chapter stresses the need for providing reading opportunities, access to information, research skills, and rehabilitation through library services for those at risk. Throughout, figures, tables, sidebars, and website addresses support the text. Several appendixes include many detailed policy models; extensive resource lists covering advocacy, collection development, directories, juvenile justice, youth programs, and teen issues. A reference list and index conclude this informative title.–Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE

WITTER-EASLEY, Jacqueline. Happy Birthday, Dear Author! 204p. bibliog. charts. diags. illus. maps. websites. Upstart. 2012. pap. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-60213-057-9.
A collection of information and ideas developed from Witter-Easley’s classroom teaching and successful reading program at a public library, this text is for teachers and librarians who want to have author programs in the classroom or library. Twenty-seven authors spaced over nine months of the year (September-May) are highlighted according to their birthdays (more than 35 additional authors are also listed for each month), while a promotional reading log encourages children to read five books per month by a featured person. The book includes detailed activities for success with celebrations, ideas for games or activities, printable handouts, and author website links, but lacks a general index. Programming ideas for birthday celebrations (storytelling, art activities, party games that focus on the authors’ works, favors, and food) aimed at beginning readers emphasize entertaining activities that both inform and promote literacy skills. Each entry includes biographical information and celebration activities with a theme based on books by the author and a reading log. A final “Resources” area includes two bibliographies: one for games, activities, and crafts books, the other a listing of titles by each featured author (again, by birth month). While biographical material on these authors can surely be found in other places, and reading logs are easily designed, the combination of author information, bibliography, and programming ideas in a single volume makes this title a useful resource.–Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX

Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

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