Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence

Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence

Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence

Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence


The first book published about independent school libraries since 1985, this work offers both the independent school library community and the broader school library community a wealth of insights into excellence in library practice.

• 21 essays from major experts in the field, representing single-sex and coed schools, K–12 and K–8 schools, religious and secular schools, large and small schools

• Statistical analysis of data collected about independent schools

• A bibliography with each essay

• Foreword by Pauline Anderson, librarian emeritus, Choate-Rosemary Hall School, Wallingford, CT


Pauline Anderson

“The tomorrows come and go so swiftly that it is not feasible to plan for only one tomorrow in the world of libraries; one must plan for a series of unknown tomorrows … new technological developments, new concepts of library services, new teaching methods, new curricular developments and revised purposes and goals of our schools will affect our libraries in one of the tomorrows.” in 1980 I included those words in The Library in the Independent School, published by the National Association of Independent Schools. Three decades of those “tomorrows” have indeed brought changes, mostly technological, which have affected school libraries in dramatic ways.

Generations of librarians have faced new tools and technologies, from early telephones through computers. My generation welcomed copy machines, fax machines, microforms and their readers, film loops, tv, videocassettes, overhead projectors, early versions of computers, and relatively unsophisticated databases. Each new device became an effective tool for helping libraries accomplish their primary mission of functioning as intellectual forces within their schools. the attention of the media to computers tends to make this tool more important than any other ever invented, but in reality the computer is but one more logical tool to take its place in our highly mechanized society.

Despite dire predictions of pessimists that neither libraries nor printed pages would survive, both survive and flourish. Traditional services and programs exist, but the methods of delivery have changed radically. New technologies have caused some services and programs to be redefined even as new ones were being created. New issues such as filtering, gaming, and maintaining intellectual integrity had to be addressed; library infrastructures remained in place but became attuned to the new technologies.

Keeping abreast of changing terminology has been almost as quirky as keeping up with new technologies. Occasionally one had freedom of choice, such as deciding to remain a librarian rather than becoming a library media specialist, or choosing to reign over a library rather than a library media center. Terms such as “AV” became obsolete, and Amazon was no longer just a romantic river. Google acquired a life of its own and is no longer associated with the Barney Google of comic strip fame. the purposes of some interesting developments are lost in what appears to be a new version of “Jabberwocky.” What might Lewis Carroll have made of the Lexis-Nexis Due Diligence Dashboard? ( the practices of communication and library promotion have merged into “advocacy,” and navigating one’s way through changing terminology has become a tricky art.

Librarians in independent schools have long been a close-knit group, drawn together by the freedom to develop resources, programs, services, and facilities to meet the needs of parent institutions in the absence of a far-flung bureaucracy. Many avenues of communication—informal and formal—are available. Group sharing through informal, local organizations and one-on-one contacts is supplemented by formal groups such as the Association of Independent School Librarians (AISL) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Independent school librarians have now banded together to . . .

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