School Libraries Head for the Edge

Rants, Recommendations, and Reflections

by Doug Johnson


In each issue of the magazine, Library Media Connection, Doug Johnson encourages librarians to "head for the edge" in a column that explores the role of the library media specialist in our ever-evolving world of information technology. Now there is a convenient way to enjoy and benefit from Johnson's unique and savvy take on a wide range of topics related to this crucial aspect of school, academic, and public library service.

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Cover image for School Libraries Head for the Edge

October 2009


Pages 196
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/Leadership

This compilation of media and technology guru Doug Johnson's Library Media Connection columns offers his unique perspective on the role of the library media specialist in today's world.

School Libraries Head for the Edge: Rants, Recommendations, and Reflections collects Doug Johnson's wildly popular "Head for the Edge" column for Library Media Connection. In one convenient volume, it brings together the best of Johnson's writing—topical, timely, technical, and theoretical—on the world of school media and the most effective ways libraries can use technology to serve teachers and students.

School Libraries Head for the Edge ranges across the breadth of its critically important subject, with chapters on libraries and education in transition, professional skills and development, building student research and technology skills, technology in the libraries and in education, and bringing an ethical, values-based sensibility to the use of media in school libraries. Throughout, Johnson tells it like it is, with cutting-edge coverage of the latest trends in library media and technology and incisive commentary on everything from the ramifications of Web 2.0 to what's new for tomorrow.


  • Provides a collection of Doug Johnson's "Head for the Edge" columns for Library Media Connection, all in one place
  • Presents nine edgy illustrations from Doug Johnson's son, Brady—one for each chapter
  • Offers bibliographic listings of print and online resources where appropriate
  • Includes an afterword by the author


  • Brings together the collected writings of one of today's foremost experts on library media and the use of technology in education
  • Ranges across a number of crucial topics for the library specialist, including practical, technical, theoretical, and philosophical matters
  • Offers an authoritative look at the current state of library and educational media, including the impact of Web 2.0
Author Info

Doug Johnson, is the author of the popular "Head for the Edge" column that appears in each issue of Library Media Connection, is director of media and technology at I.S.D. Mankato Public Schools, MN. He is the author of Linworth's The Indispensable Librarian: Surviving (and Thriving) In School Media Centers and Learning Right from Wrong in the Digital Age: An Ethics Guide for Parents, Teachers, Librarians, and Others Who Care About Computer-Using Young People.



"With some fresh and innovative ideas, Doug Johnson comes to readers with no shortage of creative advice for readers. School Libraries Head for the Edge is a must for any school library who wants to be the best resource for their students they can."Midwest Book Review

"Chapters end with quotes, questions, and self-evaluative reflection that readers will be inspired to mirror. For all practitioners."School Library Journal

"As a library district supervisor in the 1900s, Doug Johnson encountered resistance from librarians who fought the notion that libraries were about something other than print. His response to that resistance led to a blog, and the blog led to a regular column in Technology Connection, a journal that later morphed into Library Media Connection. This volume brings together dozens of Johnson's best "rants" (his term) from his regular column 'Head for the Edge'. Some contributions are diatribes, some biographical, some philosophical. All are thought-provoking, offered in snippets that are easy to read in just a few minutes. One walks away from the book feeling as if you've met Johnson, who has earned your respect."Reference & Research Book News

"School Libraries Head for the Edge is full of observations that cause the reader to pause, reflect, reconsider."Journeys (

"This book is a quick and useful read. The short column length (around 800 words) makes it ideal for snatching a quick read between classes, and the complete table of contents makes it ideal for browsing by subject. Every column is concise, pithy, insightful, pragmatic, and laced with Johnson's wry humor. . . . Because Johnson works in the public school system, he targets their situations more often, but practitioners at all types of schools will find plenty of applicable information as well."VOYA

"Entertaining? Yes. Thought provoking? Always. . . . You don't have to agree with Johnson's ideas, but his purpose is to make you defend what you do stand for."Teacher Librarian

"Since 1995 Johnson has been writing the 'Head for the Edge' column for Library Media Connection. . . . The columns, even those now 15 years old, still challenge us to think about what we do, how we do it, and why we do it, reflecting Johnson's own educational philosophy. This collection will make media specialists look forward to their next issue of Library Media Connection."Booklist

"This book is a must-read for our profession . . . highly recommended."Library Media Connection

Look Inside

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