Thursday, 15 March 2007

Life after Fenwick

I went to the launch of Life after Fenwick, by Valerie Johnson. This is a book about library services for children, published by Auslib Press, and for those of you who don't know, the Fenwick Report was published in 1966, the work of Professor Sara Fenwick.

Whenever we are swept away by the wonders of information services in the current decade, the children+books combo pushes us back in the other direction. As a Gemini, I'm entitled to be multi-focussed and confused about direction, but I wonder sometimes how other people working in libraries cope with the disjunctions in library services today. And in particular, the need to be leaders in technology, while still retaining the best of what we have always done, like children's books and children's reading.

Valerie Johnson is also concerned about training, and I guess there is a lot to be concerned about in training children's librarians. Yet is is obviously still a core role for libraries - who could buy enough books to satisfy a voracious child reader? I know very little about this area - any comments from anyone who does?

1 comment:

Tania said...

I would say that training is definitely a very important area for any children's and youth services librarian. At Learning Futures in Adelaide, which focused on children's and youth services, Mylee Joseph presented a paper on the importance of professional development for these librarians.

Training a Children's Librarian is not only about the collection development aspect, it is also about reader's advisory for young people, the planning and development of programs and marketing these services. Not only this, Mylee also points out that we need to be experts in Childhood literacy, Copyright, visual merchandising, technology, child development, curricula and internet safety, just to name a few!

I think training is very important, and unfortunately, the role of children's and youth services librarians is not always looked upon as requiring much expertise at all!