Professional Titles You Should Read Right Now

Written by Jennifer Boren

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your ever growing to-be-read pile. We all have that list of books we’ve been meaning to read, but just haven’t found time. While you are surveying your summer reading landscape, don’t forget to add a professional title (or more if you are a professional development fiend like me) to the top of your pile!

Why read a professional title over the summer? Well, the easy answer is that once the school year gets started, time is a precious commodity. The lazy days of summer present a splendid opportunity to soak up new ideas and to take your time laying out a road-map for the year ahead. We all know that once the new school year starts rolling, it gets harder and harder to introduce a new concept, a new program, a new center, etc.

Summer is also a time for personal reflection and professional titles are often a spring board to exciting new library programs. Your patrons are an echo for change in your library; take time to sit down and reflect on their feedback from the previous year. If you asked students and faculty and parents to fill out an end-of-the-year survey, analyze the results and then see if you can find a professional title to help you bolster up your program. 

While there are so many new and engaging titles being published, these are just a few that can inspire a lasting change in your library program this coming year. And if you are already behind on the TBR list, these are all quick reads that you can pick and pull from on a moments notice!

Hacking School Libraries: 10 Ways to Incorporate Library Media Centers into Your Learning Community. Holzweiss, Kristina A and Stony Evans.

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If you were a student, would you want to visit your library? If the answer is no, then you need this book. If the answer is yes, then you also need this book! There is always at least one small way we can improve our space, our collections, and the culture of our libraries and Holzweiss and Evans have created a handy guide for how to do just that! A publication from The Hack Learning Series, this title offers a quick, how-to guide for transforming your library into a center driven by passionate learning, growing, and sharing. If your library is little more than a store-house for materials and devices, you especially need this book. In every chapter, the authors include a “What You Can Do Tomorrow” section with simple ideas on how to immediately implement these strategies. If you are procrastinator in chief, there is still time to squeeze in this read before the new school year begins. So what are you waiting for?

The Ramped-Up Read Aloud: What to Notice as You Turn the Page. Walther, Maria P.

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Do you find yourself reading aloud the same books year after year? Do you have a file of ready-made lessons to fill each week of the school year? Do you dread teaching the same books over and over again? If you find yourself answering yes, The Ramped-Up Read Aloud is a worthy investment for your professional library.

Even though Maria Walther is not a librarian, she knows a thing or two about how to get kids reading. First, read aloud. A lot. Read aloud as much as you can. But Maria knows reading aloud is only effective if we can drive conversations with the texts we select. The Ramped – Up Read Aloud is geared toward primary grades, but many of the strategies are also applicable with intermediate grades. Walther offers up a two-page read aloud plan for over one hundred new and current picture books. Titles are also organized by themes and literacy skills and are supported with teaching points, think-alouds, and open-ended questions that will reignite the spark for reading in both you and your students!

Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids. Miller, Donalyn and Colby Sharp.

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Donalyn Miller is most affectionately known in library world as ‘the Book Whisperer’, but in her latest collaboration with Colby Sharp, she takes on an even deeper role as an advocate for literacy. With increasingly shrinking library budgets, providing access to engaging, current and relevant books is proving more and more challenging. But the library must remain accessible for all. Our shelves are often the only free passageways to lifelong learning our students can travel. And it’s not just school libraries that must take up the movement of book access; it is our classroom teachers, it is our administrators, it is our parents and communities at large. Donalyn and Colby have collected a plethora of feasible, yet inventive ways to increase our student’s access to amazing books inside and outside of school. If it is not already, Game Changer should definitely bet at the top of your TBR list!

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