Books about books…

Our recent AISL survey asked independent school librarians what they liked to read on this blog. A number of respondents replied that they liked to read about BOOKS! And, well, I love to talk about books – especially books ABOUT books, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite library / book-related reads of the past few months…

9780805095852_LitUp_JK.indd

Lit Up by David Denby

New Yorker writer David Denby has written a quite remarkable book on reading, how English is taught in high schools, and how teenagers in the 21st century interact with literature and poetry. Set over the course of a school year, the book investigates teenagers and their relationships with screens, how teachers engage and inspire youth, and what teens are reading versus what they should be reading. The book also inspired an article in the New Yorker – even if you don’t have time to read the full book, take five minutes to read this interesting article.

You Could Look it Up

You Could Look it Up by Jack Lynch

Although we no longer have a reference section in my library (reference works are simply interfiled with other non-fiction materials), I frequently consult the reference works we do have both in print and online, because, well, ‘that’s what librarians do’. This fascinating book by Jack Lynch takes a look at key reference works from the Doomsday Book to Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, as well as some of the more unusual reference works that librarians refer to again and again.

world between two covers

The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe by Ann Morgan

This interesting memoir was inspired by Morgan’s blog: A Year of Reading the World. She decided to read one book from each country around the globe during 2012, setting out to discover new and interesting authors and poets. Her book is a great record of her reading life, but be warned – it will seriously add to your (probably already towering) To-Be-Read pile.

Running the books

Running the Books by Avi Steinberg

It takes a special kind of librarian to run programs for those who are incarcerated. In this fascinating memoir, Steinberg shares his story of being the librarian in a Boston prison. From the inmates he helps complete their high school and college diplomas, to the men who are trying to write their memoirs, to the inmate who wants to pitch a cooking show to a TV network, this book is in-depth look at life in a very different type of library.

Bibliotech

Bibliotech by John Palfrey

Author John Palfrey makes the point that libraries are more important than ever, and that they must step up to bring equality, intellectual freedom and democracy to ordinary people. Referring particularly to the digitization of materials, Palfrey discusses why libraries must be cutting edge in meeting the information needs of the population, especially when “the library is the last free space for the gathering and sharing of knowledge”. None of this is new to librarians, but this slim volume is written in an engaging and passionate style that calls librarians across the world to action.

This is a great book

This is a Great Book by Larry Swartz &  Shelley Stagg Peterson

This book is an excellent collection of classroom and library-ready ideas for librarians and teachers who are looking to help their students enjoy, reflect on, and get as much out of reading as possible. With lesson ideas, journal prompts and ideas for how to make the most of leisure reading and ideas for finding the right novel for the right reader, this book is full of inspiring ideas and activities, even for those of us who have been around for a while and have our own proven methods for getting the right book to the right student, and for raising excitement amongst our readers.

So, if you’re inspired to pick up some professional reading, why not join a group of fellow librarians online to do so?

Change by Design

AISL librarian Dave Wee is running an online book club to discuss Change by Design by Tim Brown,  a book about Design Thinking which is the AISL Summer Institute’s recommended pre-reading selection. Head on over to his website if you’re interested in reading along!

And if you weren’t at the Board Books event at #AISL16LA, consider reading one or both of the following. Each generated lots of discussion!

This book is overdue

This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

Personal Librarian

The Personal Librarian by Richard J. Moniz & Jean Moats (ed.)

Do you have any similar titles to recommend? Please share in the comments below!

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4 Responses to Books about books…

  1. Claire Hazzard says:

    Added on behalf of Kathy Pounds:

    To that list, I’d add What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund and Unflattening by Nick Sousanis (graphic novels).

    In the books entertainment/fiction category, I’ve enjoyed Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Just ordered Lexicon by Max Barry from my library.

    I’d love to know of other fiction selections.

  2. Dave Wee says:

    Thanks for the leads to these great sounding reads, Claire! This is an amazing list. Thank goodness summer is on the horizon and there actually might be time to read some of these! Finally, thanks for the kind shout-out! Hope that people will join us in the book discussion whether they are planning on attending #aislSI16 or not! https://aisl.wildapricot.org/si2016

  3. Sue Hayter says:

    Claire – I’m impressed by the sheer number of books you read! It’s impressive and I’m envious!

    I enjoyed reading “The Novel Cure” by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. It is subtitled “An A-Z of Literary Remedies” and prescribes books to read to help cure various ailments from Abandonment and A Broken Heart to Zestlessness. As well as being useful, it’s a fascinating read!

  4. Christina says:

    It’s a few years old, but I often think about How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/books/review/McInerney-t.html?_r=0
    (Probably because I’m asked to do it so frequently—love when the Middle Schoolers come to the library for the first time and ask if I’ve read everything here…)

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