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Crash Course in Children's Services

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A basic explanation of children's services for persons working in small libraries with limited staff. Tips include conducting reference interviews, handling homework centers, building collections, and planning storytimes. Sources of help are provided with age-appropriate themes and activities. Working with parents and teachers can be a major assignment for the children's librarian. Programming information includes how to conduct tours for school groups and summer reading programs. How to partner with others to share ideas for summer programs is suggested. Providing book discussion groups for students is one method to keep them reading. Issues in providing children's services are detailed.

Children need public library services. Even in small rural libraries managed by small staffs, children's services are critical. This handbook gives practical advice on performing essential duties in the Children's Room of the public library. The tone is how to with little theory, but providing the fundamentals of day-to-day services. Tips are given on reference service including the reference interview, a simple overview of child development, and tips for assisting parents and teachers. Hints are given for managing children who are in the library to do homework or to wait until they are collected by a parent or caregiver. A chapter is given on how to help children find recreational reading, how to market the library, and useful Web sites.

Collection development is covered with practical advice on using book reviewing journals to aid in selection. Storytimes have been in libraries more than 100 years, and instructions in how to provide this vital and essential service is covered in a how to of doing storytimes for babies. toddlers, preschoolers, and families to make them fun and exciting.

Programming includes library tours by school groups, author visits, and entertainment programs with emphasis on summer reading programs. Tips are given for ensuring that children with physical disabilities as well as developmental or learning disabilities are included in services offered. Finally, suggestions cover how to meet the challenges in services to children based on the changing dynamic of families and communities.

This experienced children's librarian shares her ideas, experiences, and Web sites, information useful to build a children's program for the smallest public library. The practical advice will be very useful to help the novice or volunteer learn how to answer reference questions, provide homework help for students who come after school, select age appropriate materials, and prepare book sharing sessions with children from birth to age 12. Readers Advisory services described here may be as important for parents as for the children. Understanding the issues and challenges to children's services discussed here will be useful to help librarians counter them.

136 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 2006

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About the author

Penny Peck

3 books3 followers
Penny Peck has been a children's librarian for over 25 years; before that, she was Snow White and Mother Goose at Children's Fairyland in Oakland, ran a nightclub, worked as the wardrobe mistress for the Berkeley Ballet, and was an agent for a standup comedian. Her experience includes performing thousands of storytimes, leading hundreds of book club discussions for students in grades 4-12, conducting hundreds of school tours and assemblies, reviewing children's books and media, and originating the Performers' Showcase for auditioning library entertainment. She is editor of BayNews, the newsletter for the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California. Her goal is to create libraries as place, where the community meets for educational and cultural programming, as well as facilitating the love of literature in youth so they will be life-long readers.

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