March 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Professional Reading | May 2013

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BRAUN, Linda W. Being a Teen Library Services Advocate. 108p. ISBN 978-1-55570-795-8. LC 2012015103.
, mk. Answering Teens’ Tough Questions. 136p. websites. ISBN 978-1-55570-794-1. LC 2012015104.
, Sarah. Evaluating Teen Services and Programs. 136p. websites. ISBN 978-1-55570-793-4. LC 2012015105.
ea vol: (Teens at the Library Series). bibliog. charts. further reading. index. American Library Association. 2012. pap. $49.95.
Each slender volume provides both theoretical and practical information on aspects of serving this audience. Braun tackles advocacy for teens inside and outside the library. Unfortunately, several chapters have lengthy sidebars that interrupt the narrative flow. Eagle tackles the sensitive issues that teen librarians can face in working with patrons, ranging from smoking and drugs to online ethics. For librarians who wish to intervene and make a difference in their patrons’ lives, this guide provides plenty of information. Flowers discusses moving beyond statistics to actually evaluate teen services within a library. There is excellent information here, but there are some assumptions about the ability of librarians to gain statistical information that is necessary for evaluation. In addition, the surveys and forms included do not appear available in a downloadable or reproducible format. All three books are well researched and easy for busy librarians to skim. While not perfect, they give the types of practical advice that librarians need. Melissa Rabey, Frederick County Public Libraries, MD

DANZIGER-RUSSELL, Jacqueline. Girls and Their Comics: Finding a Female Voice in Comic Book Narrative.248p. bibliog. illus. index. notes. reprods. Scarecrow. 2012. Tr $60. ISBN 978-0-8108-8375-8. LC 2012014543.
This academic study resulted from the author’s research at London’s University of Roehampton and National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature. The initial chapter provides an overview of the format and then continues with a brief history of women’s literature from Victorian “Penny Dreadfuls” to early female cartoon characters such as Sheena, Wonder Woman, and Veronica. The concept of visual literacy as taught through picture books serves as a point of comparison; Danziger-Russell defines visual literacy and explains why picture books are important in developing this skill and how it relates to comic-book elements. That relationship serves as the basis for an extensive analysis of Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s Skim(Groundwood, 2008), Ted Naihef’s “Courtney Crumrin” series (Oni Press), and Trina Robbins and Anne Timmons’s “Go Girl” series (Dark Horse). Various types of graphic-novel narratives are defined, with examples from several picture books and comics. One chapter is devoted to the appeal of manga for female readers and includes a history of manga, American interest in Japanese comics, and the influence of manga on American comics. There is also a brief discussion of Web comics and an in-depth analysis of three graphic novels: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (Pantheon, 2003), Brian Talbot’s The Tale of One Bad Rat (Dark Horse, 1994), and Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost (First Second, 2011). With the exception of manga, the author effectively uses an ample selection of images from a variety of comics to illustrate salient points. This title may serve as a supplemental resource, particularly for those who are less familiar with the comic narrative.–Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

FASICK, Adele M. & Leslie Edmonds Holt. Managing Children’s Services in Libraries. 4th ed. 225p. bibliog. charts. diags. further reading. websites. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $50. ISBN 978-1-61069-100-0. LC 2012032470.
The fourth edition has been updated to reflect the fast-paced changes that have occurred in children’s services since the last one was published five years ago. The authors identify the challenges and changes that have occurred in each of the six different sections and include school and special libraries as well as public libraries. All of the topics one might expect to find are covered: collection development, budgeting, facilities and space planning, outreach, marketing, and intellectual freedom. But they have all been updated to include either the new developments in technology or the fiscal realities of the day. This edition expands on some topics such as strategic planning and evaluation of services and includes a new section on getting to know today’s children by describing their changing habits in information-seeking and reading. It gives a more outward view to the community, and not just managing services at the building level. The book includes lists of expanded reading at the end of each chapter. It is designed to serve as a textbook for courses in library services to children or for new librarians needing a guide to their current positions.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, NY

PLUMB, Daria. Commando Classics: A Field Manual for Helping Teens Understand (and Maybe Even Enjoy) Classic Literature. 285p. bibliog. charts. further reading. index. websites. VOYA. 2012. pap. $50. ISBN 978-1-61751-008-3. LC 2012935468.
Plumb asserts that many students hate reading the classics because they view them as irrelevant and inaccessible. Despite this roadblock, she has found a way to get at-risk teens to enjoy literature. Using the “commando” approach involves getting students hooked on the plot. This strategy allows her to get them interested in the story without immediately getting bogged down in teaching literary elements. Once she has them interested, she is then more successful at teaching the required elements. She makes the plot accessible to students through the use of supplemental materials such as graphic novels, picture books, television programs, movies, poems, songs, folklore and legends, websites, and biographies, to name a few. She developed text sets that encompass specific titles for supplemental materials built around a central literary work or theme. These themes are multicultural, gender-inclusive, and racially diverse. She discusses in detail how the materials are integrated into her units on mythology and folklore, American literature, British literature, and Shakespeare. Each chapter includes an “arsenal” that consists of the aforementioned text sets, assignments, graphic organizers, worksheets, guiding questions, writing prompts, and other materials, making this book equally useful for beginning or veteran teachers. Special attention is paid to school and public librarians in the “Commando Librarians” call-out sections, giving ideas for displays, programming, and collaboration. Similar to Sarah Herz’s From Hinton to Hamlet (Greenwood, 2005), but more extensive it its coverage.–Wendy M. Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY