CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE: The Librarian in the Community by Janet Hill

CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE: The Librarian in the Community

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fortunately Hill has a number of strong personal opinions about how library service to inner city children should be conducted and she expresses them without reticence. Unfortunately most of the issues she takes up are of interest only to fellow professionals and for them her points -- if still too seldom heeded -- have been often stated. (We all know that preoccupation with circulation statistics and totting up titles for summer reading contests are out -- taking books and story hours into the community and being approachable in the children's room in.) Much of this is simply a report on how Hill's system (in the Lambeth section of London) does it, but even here there are a few novelties. At Lambeth insularity is combatted by rotating professionals from branch to branch and from children's work to other areas of librarianship, and there is no children's catalog; books not on the shelf but considered ""worthy of purchase"" for the branch are simply searched in BBIP and ordered from a bookseller. As for books and book selection it is refreshing to hear a librarian warn her colleagues against being ""taken in"" by books and caution them to avoid ""a continuous diet of children's books"" which ""is bound to lead to gradual softening of the brain"" in adults and even in children should be considered a ""passing phase"" from which they ""should be encouraged to move on as soon as they are ready."" And Americans will find that in England too librarians complain about mediocrity but continue to buy the ""far too many"" such children's books published there each year, that the LA Medals are awarded to ""safe and tasteful"" shelf sitters at an annual non-event characterized chiefly by dreariness, and that the awards are ignored by children and most younger librarians and ""have no impact at all"" outside of a tiny closed circle. It is evident throughout that Janet Hill is intensely involved in her work, and we have no doubt that she runs a model system.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: T.Y. Crowell