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Make Time for Professional Reading

Dear Dr. Laura

I can’t believe I’m asking this because I do know how to search for books. But, I'm a first-year librarian and would like to read a book or two over Spring Break that can help me grow professionally. I’m wanting less academic-sounding books and more practical sounding books. Can you recommend any books that are specific to the school library?

Growing Librarian

Hi! I’m sure you’re quickly catching on to searching for quality children’s and YA books on your favorite vendor’s website. I can offer some tips for looking for books for yourself.

One of my favorite books for new librarians is New on the Job: A School Librarian's Guide to Success 2nd Edition by Hilda K. Weisburg and Ruth Toor. ISBN-13: 978-0838912645 When you find a book you like you can look it up on Amazon and scroll down to Amazon Best Sellers Rank information. For this title it shows:

The Amazon Best Sellers Rank is a ranking given to a book based on this specific book's orders compared to other books in the same category within a given amount of time. Each of the book categories like Library & Information Science (Books) is clickable. When you visit the hyperlink it will take you to the list of the top-selling books in that category. This search strategy may lead you to discover new books that other people have spent money on to purchase.

In this case, I can see the following best sellers in the category of Library & Information Science (Books).

But, as we all know you can't always go by most popular books. So, I’ll give you a list of my favorite professional learning books for school librarians.

1. New on the Job: A School Librarian's Guide to Success 2nd Edition by Hilda K. Weisburg (Author), Ruth Toor (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0838912645 This book should provide the new librarian with a confidence boost when they start their first school librarian job. Topics include getting organized, relating to students and teachers, planning, and even technology.

2. Hacking School Libraries: 10 Ways to Incorporate Library Media Centers into Your Learning Community (Hack Learning Series) (Volume 20) by Kristina A. Holzweiss and Stony Evans. ISBN-13: 978-1948212069 This book addresses some common concerns and topics we all face in the library and offers realistic ways to work through these situations. You’ll find a good starting point to help focus on what is important in areas like library programming, funding, and building a reading culture.

3. Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids by Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp. ISBN-13: 978-1338310597 While this book is not necessarily directed at librarians, there are all kinds of tips a librarian will pick up while reading this book. I love the idea of creating a “book flood” for our students’ lives. Book ownership is important as well and librarians can definitely work on this! And also, the authors hone in on the power of student choice in book selection to support independent readers.

So, that’s my top 3 right now. Of course, this list can change the second after I read my next professional book! But, this should keep you reading for a while.

Thanks for reaching out and be sure to share your favorite professional learning book with us wherever you see this post on social media.

Dr. Laura

The Librarian Influencer of the Week is Melody Hiser who is a 5th-year librarian. She’s was originally certified in Texas and transferred to Oregon to a K-8 library. Listen to her podcast interview at

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