18 Professional Reading Titles to Help Librarians Sharpen Skills | Summer Reading 2021

Librarians looking to stay up-to-date with the field will appreciate these titles, which take on everything from distance learning to graphic novels to writing programs.

See more Summer Reading 2021 selections

Librarians looking to stay up-to-date with the field will appreciate these titles, which take on everything from distance learning to graphic novels to writing programs.


The Write Thing by Kwame Alexander. Shell Education. ISBN 9781493888429.
In this engaging, conversational work based on his immensely popular Book-in-a-Day workshops, Newbery Award winner Alexander invites teachers to use poetry to invigorate their writing instruction.

Using Graphic Novels in the English Language Arts Classroom by William Boerman-Cornell & Jung Kim. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781350112698.
To explain the boundless potential of graphic novels in language arts classrooms, one must first explain and justify the format for unfamiliar readers. Boerman-Cornell and Kim pull off both feats in this fount of practical and timely educational guidelines that even skeptics will find applicable. 

Intellectual Freedom Issues in School Libraries by April M. Dawkins. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440872365.
Dawkins reminds readers that any barrier to information is potentially an intellectual freedom issue--yes, even overdue fines and limits on how many books a student can check out. Full of useful advice, this vital resource will motivate librarians to review policies and renew their commitment to protecting the right to read.

Learning Transported: Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality for All Classrooms by Jaime Donally. ISTE. ISBN 9781564843999.
Offering a scaffolded approach to experiencing and implementing augmented, virtual, and mixed reality, Donally has written an accessible and fun manual, with teacher-ready lesson plans that align to learning standards and links for further exploration.

Cultivating Strong Girls: Library Programming That Builds Self-Esteem and Challenges Inequality by Nancy Evans. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440856686.
In this culturally responsive, well-executed work, Evans lays out a research-backed case for why girls and women can, and must, challenge the status quo and how, through innovative programming, librarians are in a strong position to deliver the resources and space they need.

Political Advocacy for School Librarians: Leveraging Your Influence by Ann Dutton Ewbank. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440863882.
Ewbank explains how and why school librarians should get involved in political advocacy efforts to promote, strengthen, and support libraries. While school librarians are the target audience, the book encourages partnerships among all types of librarians, and much of the information could apply to broader advocacy efforts.

The Distance Learning Playbook, Grades K–12: Teaching for Engagement and Impact in Any Setting by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey & John Hattie. Corwin. ISBN 9781071828922.
Educators Fisher, Frey, and Hattie offer a lifeline to those who are involved in distance teaching and are struggling to keep students on track and engaged. Relying on the principles of Visible Learning, a concept created by Hattie in which teachers “become evaluators of their own teaching,” the authors have designed a playbook that leads teachers from self-assessment to action in order.

Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook. ed. by Cyndi Giorgis. Penguin. 8th ed. ISBN 9780143133797.
Giorgis’s revision of Jim Trelease’s classic guide explores visual and digital literacy in greater depth, with useful examples, and lists more current examples. An excellent choice to recommend to parents and also useful for beginning teachers and librarians.

Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Teens and Tweens by Melissa Hart. Sasquatch. ISBN 9781632172273.
This exceptionally useful text offers well-curated annotated bibliographies on subjects such as immigration, race and ethnicity, LGBTQIA+ identities, adoption, religion, and poverty, framed by brief and engaging essays on why each topic matters to readers today. Hart adopts an intersectional lens and seamlessly integrates interviews with authors.

Transforming Your Library into a Learning Playground: A Practical Guide for Public Librarians by Brittany R. Jacobs. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440857300.
With this concise, step-by-step guide, Jacobs, an advocate of lifelong learning, uses the spy club she founded at the Free Public Library of Philadelphia to demonstrate how the power of play can turn a public library into an educational learning center where children and teens thrive. 

Representing the Rainbow in Young Adult Literature: LGBTQ+ Content Since 1969 by Christine A. Jenkins & Michael Cart. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442278066.
In this in-depth overview of LGBTQ+ YA literature, Jenkins and Cart discuss a mix of broad themes and trends relevant to each decade, from 1969 to 2016, and insightfully analyze significant titles. The authors acknowledge the limitations of their research and, in the conclusion, reestablish their plea for more nuanced representation in the future. 

Tech-Savvy Reading Promotion: A Toolbox for Librarians and Other Educators by Nancy J. Kane. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440868504.
With tips on using animation, green screen photography, and more, retired school librarian Keane offers a wealth of tech-related ideas for promoting reading to kids, which easily extend to projects across the curriculum: social studies, social emotional learning, science, and more.

Effective School Librarianship: Successful Professional Practices from Librarians Around the World by Patrick Lo, Heather Rogers, & Dickson K.W. Chiu. Apple Academic. ISBN 9781771886567.
Remember the invigorating jolt of knowledge and enthusiasm that you got when you first attended a professional conference? This international team of authors offer that same exchange of ideas in a two-volume work of interviews with librarians on five different continents, who discuss what inspires them, their challenges, and where they find success.

News Literacy: The Keys to Combating Fake News by Michelle Luhtala & Jacquelyn Whiting. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440861529.
Luhtala and Whiting argue that fake news and "alternative facts" can hinder educators from instilling strong research skills in students. To tackle this issue, the authors offer useful, succinct, and scaffolded lessons to help middle and high school students become savvy consumers of digital and print media.

Anime Clubs for Public Libraries: A Practical Guide for Librarians by Chantale Pard. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781538130728.
Pard, a youth services librarian at Keshen Goodman Public Library, draws from personal experience, interviews with multiple public librarians across North America, and articles to provide best practices and a slew of ideas for librarians looking to understand and host anime and manga fans of all ages. Librarians, here is your one-stop shop for incorporating anime, manga, and public enthusiasm into library programming.  

Teaching Artfully by Meghan Parker. illus. by author. Clover. 2021. ISBN 9781951038205.
From the first page of this inspired, comics-format guide to teaching and understanding art, Parker establishes herself as an open book. She begins with an invitation that acknowledges the generosity required of both author and reader and then, in one illustrated monologue after another, pokes at matters artful and pedagogical, applying her extensive inquiries to areas of her life and standards as an educator. A manual and call to arms for creative perspectives; librarians should loan this one to every art teacher and budding artist in sight.

Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library: Graphic Novels, Manga, and More by Jack Phoenix. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781440868856.
Phoenix succinctly walks librarians through the basics of comics and their history, skillfully covering the commonalities and differences in types of comics while keeping readers’ needs at the forefront. Marrying in-depth knowledge of comics and libraries, this is a practical, user-friendly read that’s essential book for school and public librarians.

The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. New York University Pr. ISBN 9781479800650.
Thomas synthesizes theory from several disciplines to build her model of "the dark fantastic"—a cycle in which Black female characters are sidelined in mainstream fantasy narratives for young adults. An important work of criticism on an underexamined topic.

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