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Indispensable Librarian reviews

Reviews of The Indispensable Librarian: Surviving (And Thriving) in School Media Centers
Linworth Publishing, 1997

I am working through the 70-plus surveys I got back for the ALA TechSource project, and I wanted to tell you that already (I am less than half through) several people have mentioned The Indispensable Librarian as the best thing they read, professionally, in the past year. GraceAnne A. DeCandido 12-01.
From Booklist, March 1, 1998

This is a workbook that is full of outlines, checklists, and samples, with places for your own notes, all told with great energy in a breezy and iconoclastic style. Johnson understands the structure and talks the talk of the educational system and its particular building-level and district-level needs; he gives very good advice, particularly about budgeting and how to evaluate programs; and he is reassuring without letting readers get away with much. He covers planning, public relations, mission and beliefs, curriculum, budget, and policies, among other key points. Many of the chapters were originally published in his “Head for the Edge” column in Technology Connection and other places, so there is some repetition. He tells great stories, all of which have a point. Indispensable, indeed, for media specialists. GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved


Johnson begs, exhorts, and threatens librarians to change their image and their skills so that they can truly become The Indispensable Librarian. This is advice from a librarian and district supervisor who insists we must be leaders in technology and technology applications in our schools. Librarians who currently lack clerical help, administrative support, or access to computers, training, or a computer technician, will still find much helpful advice in Johnson’s book.

He covers some subjects particularly well. “Standards for Evaluating World Wide Web Sites”; sample media/technology program goals; a twelve-point library/media program checklist for building administrators; thirteen reasons to fight for Internet access; a detailed model job description—these are just some of the useful outlines that Johnson provides. Public relations? Essential, and there is pertinent how-to information on how to get your message out. Designing a new media center? We should all be so lucky, but if occasion arises, Johnson has suggestions for us to borrow. Budgeting? Ways of planning and justifying your requests are included. A list of recommended readings also seems well chosen. Surprisingly, the book has no index, but the Table of Contents is unusually detailed. For those of us who can only yearn for a library Eden where there are district coordinators, computer technicians, and monthly in-service meetings, Johnson’s book offers a vision of how we still can effect change in the more limited spheres we currently inhabit. With luck, we may be able to keep our jobs, too. Rayna Patton

Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 at 09:36AM by Registered CommenterDoug Johnson in | CommentsPost a Comment

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