Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Reading More Children’s Books

So many books, so little time! As a youth librarian doing tons of reader advisory, I want to read more of the books in our collection. Librarians know what is popular with kids, but avid readers have already read all of those. I want to be able to recommend books to everyone who comes in and I feel like I need to read more children’s books to successfully do that. I started this journey by reading some physical copies and listening to some audiobooks.

Peeking through the new books and reading their summaries and their professional reviews is a great place to start. Reading a few chapters and diving into the stories we purchase for our patrons is even more helpful. I don’t do all of the ordering for our library system and don’t always know what books are coming in. If a child asks for a book about magic, I am more likely to have a suggestion if I have recently read a few chapters of one. I am not great at remembering titles only based on a cover image or blurb. When I read part of the story, I am more invested and can remember it better. I am always striving to improve my readers’ advisory and this helps!

Sandi Parsons wrote an article about The Power of Children’s Books and discusses how it helps her make accurate reading recommendations. “I want my students to trust my recommendations. Not all books or genres are created equal. You can’t simply give a recommendation based on the book genre or subject. You need to consider the students’ reading age and what piqued their interest in the book.”

In 2019, Paige Bentley-Flannery wrote an ALSC blog post called Children’s Librarians are Experts at Readers’ Advisory. In this post, Paige brought up a great idea about talking to other staff and keeping track of what we are reading. We read so many books and having a list of our recent reads could be extremely helpful with readers’ advisory.

The last article I will share is called Do Librarians Need to be Readers?. The general takeaway is that reading some books from the collection that aren’t necessarily the best sellers could be helpful. Recommending what is popular with other kids may not help a child who has read all of those popular titles.

Enjoy your reading. Enjoy your audiobooks. Read some titles from your collection that you wouldn’t normally pick up and have fun sharing those books with kids!

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