The 10 Best Professional Development Books for Librarians

Well it’s ALMOST sweet summertime here in Virginia (school ends June 19 to be exact!) and that means a couple of things for me: 

  1. It’s time for some serious self-care after being in education during a national pandemic.
  2. I’m headed to South Dakota for a mini getaway…I can’t wait to see Mt. Rushmore!
  3. It’s time to polish up on my summer professional development reading.

I think as librarians it’s really important to make sure that we are always at the “top” of our game. I like to use summer to read 1 or 2 professional development books to refresh and reset before the new school year. It helps me feel energized and excited about going back to school (Keep in mind that I never start doing this until after 4th of July!) It also gives me new tips and ideas to try in the library, as things are always changing.

In case you want to up your professional development game as well, I have created a list of the 10 BEST professional development books for librarians below. (All of the Amazon links are affiliate links).

Hacking School Libraries 10 Ways to Incorporate Library Media Centers into Your Learning Community

paperback version-$18.92 | Kindle version-$9.97

Hacking School Libraries isn’t just for librarians. It’s for any educator who wants to learn how to:

  • transform your learning space
  • provide hands-on learning opportunities
  • empower your students
  • bring curriculum to life
  • differentiate instruction
  • effectively raise funds
  • advocate for modern school libraries
  • establish global connections
  • celebrate reading

Whether students are using books, audiobooks, ebooks, or Chromebooks, school libraries and school librarians are more relevant than ever. They are places for research, refuge, and reflection–where students create, collaborate, communicate, and develop skills in critical thinking and compassion. Learn 10 ways to create the library learning environment that every child deserves,

Game Changer – Book Access for All Kids

paperback version-$18.47 | Kindle version-$17.55

Literacy advocates with a deep passion for books bestselling author, Donalyn Miller, and 5th-grade teacher Colby Sharp, showcase the power of children’s access to books, providing teachers and administrators with the tools and information that they need to increase children’s meaningful interaction with books and to launch or sustain book access initiatives in their communities.

Through research and testimonials from voices in the field and their own classroom experiences, Miller and Sharp provide practical and resourceful information on a range of topics and areas, (including successful school and classroom libraries, the power of book ownership, the importance of cultural and social access to books, and meaningful family-community reading engagement) designed to help dramatically increase children’s access to and life-changing engagement with books.

Ramped-Up Read Aloud (What to Notice as You Turn the Page)

paperback version-$22.45 | Kindle version- $16.49

This book was written by a first grade teacher named Maria Walther. She asks her readers- What if each page of a picture book was guaranteed to enhance a child’s reading and writing tenfold? Would you ramp up your read alouds?

The read alouds in this book will help teachers:

  • Foster a strong sense of community
  • Celebrate the written (and illustrated) word 
  • Build a foundation for future reading and learning
  • Expand vocabulary (with a focus on Tier 2 words)
  • Support budding writers
  • Spark collaborative conversations
  • Encourage perspective-taking, empathy, and a growth mindset  

The author of this book is a master of “strategic savoring.”  Her lesson design efficiently sparks instructional conversations around the cover illustration, enriching vocabulary words, literary language, and the ideas and themes vital to young learners.

Maria arranges the rich fiction and nonfiction titles into chapters that mirror the way primary teachers plan curriculum. Need books tailor made for building community? Teaching literary elements? Comprehension strategies?  Foundational and language skills? Inspiring writers? It’s all here and ready to go. In addition, she has coaching tips on expressive oral reading, strategic seating, uncovering language nuances for EL students, and effective questioning.

Leading from the Library: Help Your School Community Thrive in the Digital Age

paperback version-$27.95 | Kindle version-$15.19

Written by a seasoned librarian and an education leader, this book guides librarians in becoming leaders in their school communities, with strategies on developing partnerships, empowering students and more.

The modern school library supports education in a variety of ways. One essential role librarians play is that of a leader who works collaboratively to build relationships, mold culture and climate, and advocate for the needs of students and the community.

In this book, a librarian and an education leader team up to reflect on the librarian’s ability to build connections in two ways. First, they discuss the benefits of bringing the outside world into the library through the use of social media, video conferencing and other tools that allow librarians to partner with others. Then they expand upon these connections by addressing how librarians can lead in the greater educational community by sharing resources and strategies, and partnering with school leaders to tell the story of the school community.

This book will:

  • Highlight the potential of librarians to empower their students, their schools, and their communities, and be learning leaders in the digital age.
  • Include stories of partnerships – from librarians and administrators – illustrating how they can collaborate to create change by harnessing the influence of the school library program to enhance the educational experience.
  • Explore how librarians serve as mentors to their students, delving into many topics that define digital age literacy, including the librarian’s role in reading advocacy, information validity, digital citizenship and research.
  • Make direct connections to the ISTE Standards for Students, Educators and Education Leaders in each chapter.

Fact Vs. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News

paperback version-$29.18 | Kindle version-$17.99

Help students discern fact from fiction in the information that they access not only at school but in the devices that they carry in their pockets and backpacks.

This book includes:

  • Instructional strategies for combating fake news, including models for evaluating news stories with links to resources on how to include lessons on fake news in your curricula.
  • Examples from prominent educators who demonstrate how to tackle fake news with students and colleagues.
  • A fake news self-assessment with a digital component to help readers evaluate their skills in detecting and managing fake news.
  • A downloadable infographic with mobile media literacy tips.

Mindful School Libraries: Creating and Sustaining Nurturing Spaces and Programs

paperback version-$38.03 | Kindle version-$30.49

From breathing exercises to meditation, mindfulness exercises can be a coping mechanism for at-risk students, and librarians can create an environment, away from the classroom, in which students can explore their abilities to regulate and control their social and emotional responses, skills that underpin information retrieval and analysis. The role of school libraries in promoting mindfulness in the twenty-first century could parallel the quest for intellectual stimulation and self-improvement that informed the public libraries movement in the late nineteenth century. 

Providing practical suggestions for working in conjunction with classroom teachers, school counseling staff, and community partners, this guide will help librarians by increasing awareness of how to create a nurturing space for students in the school library.

Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library: Graphic Novels, Manga, and More

paperback version-$51.97 | Kindle version-$49.37

Learn how to better manage your comics collection to boost interest and circulation in the library. This unique guide offers fresh insights on how graphic novels and comics differ from traditional books and require different treatment in the library from purchasing, shelving, and cataloging to readers’ advisory services, programs, and curriculum. Challenging librarians to rethink some of their traditional practices, Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library provides creative and proven solutions for libraries of all types that want to get comics into the hands of fans and promote readership. The author describes how libraries would benefit from an in-house classification system and organization that accounts for both publishers and series. 

The School Librarian’s Technology Playbook: Innovative Strategies to Inspire Teachers and Learners

paperback version-$45.00 | Kindle version-$33.99

Learn how school librarians can create collaborative partnerships with other educators to make sure digital tools are used most effectively within the curriculum. Using concrete examples, The School Librarian’s ™ Technology Playbook offers strategies for school librarians to initiate and support innovative practices throughout their school community.

The role of school librarians has evolved: no longer do they primarily support teachers with reading and literacy resources. Many librarians now support teachers in integrating technology tools and innovative teaching practices in their classrooms. At her school, author and learning coordinator, Stacy Brown has pioneered the transition to innovation and technology use in the classroom.

In The School Librarian’s ™ Technology Playbook, she showcases different technology tools and innovative strategies that can be incorporated into the classroom, such as 3D printing, augmented reality, green screen applications, gamification, coding, makerEd, and more. She details the many ways in which school librarians can support teachers as they implement these new practices into their curriculum.

School librarians will learn how to collaborate with teachers and how to empower them to step outside of their comfort zones to try new tools and teaching methods. Readers of this book will also learn how to support teachers as technology continues to change in this dynamic educational landscape.

Teaching Elementary Students Real-Life Inquiry Skills

paperback version-$45.00 | Kindle version-$42.75

Fake news and misinformation is everywhere. Learn how to teach elementary students to locate reliable information, evaluate sources, and develop their writing skills in the classroom and in the library.

Empower students to find and evaluate information with this practical guide to supporting classroom writing and research instruction. You’ll learn ways to teach students to evaluate information for accuracy and to collect information from credible sources such as library journals. Additionally, you’ll learn how to incorporate writing into your makerspace, encourage curiosity through the inquiry process, and help students to find their voice. Along the way, you’ll discover how to support various writing genres including technical writing and the research project and how to teach prewriting for digital media such as websites, blogs, and social media.

Lesson plans, which can be adapted from year to year as a part of the classroom and library curriculum, explain how students can use databases, search engines, books, and expert testimony to gather information. Also included are student samples and hands-on activities that will get students excited about learning.

Genrefication 101 : A School Librarian’s Quick Guide on How to Genrefy the Library

paperback version-$19.99 | Kindle version-$9.99

Genrefication is a new trend in both school and public libraries. Librarians all over the world are starting to organize their collections in new ways. In the midst of this move away from traditional organization, many librarians find themselves asking some important questions. Why is this trend so popular? Is it really making a difference for users? Will our readers be damaged for life if we don’t teach them how to function in “traditional” library organization?

If those questions sound familiar, you’ve found the right book for you. In this book, we will discuss:

• What it means to genrefy your library.

• Is genrefication right for you?

• Why genrefication is worth the work.

• How to keep genrefication from taking over your life and making you crazy.

• Tips and tricks to make the process work even if you attempt it midyear. 

Genrefication 101 is written for school librarians by a school librarian who has actually survived genrefying her own school’s library. With ideas for how to win over reluctant administrators, suggestions for a variety of ways to genrefy, and simple tips to make things go more smoothly, this book is a great resource for any school librarian who is considering genrefication. 

I hope that you find some of these professional development books for librarians helpful. Do you work on your professional development over the summer?

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