Independent School Libraries

Perspectives on Excellence

by Dorcas Hand, Editor


Freed of many of the restrictions that govern public schools, librarians in independent schools have a unique opportunity to develop new ideas and methods. Among these are the "information commons" where technology, media services, and traditional library services intersect, providing students with the resources they need to do their best work. What other learnings do these library laboratories provide?

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Cover image for Independent School Libraries

June 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 369
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/General
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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.

Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence offers readers insights into best practices in library services for school communities, using examples drawn from independent schools of various sizes, descriptions, and locations across the United States. Two overview essays introduce a statistical analysis of independent schools. Each of the remaining essays provides perspective on a different aspect of library practice, including staffing, advocacy, assessment, technology, collaboration, programs beyond the curriculum, intellectual freedom and privacy, budgeting, accreditation, disaster planning, and more.

Because independent school librarians work across divisions and without a mandate to adhere to state or national standards, they have the freedom to explore and refine best practice in a school library setting. Fortunately, the ideas and methods they have developed, many of which are on display here, can be applied in any school library.


  • 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


  • Includes a unique statistical analysis, revealing new insights into common practice among independent school libraries
  • Looks to the future without losing track of the historical importance of libraries to their academic communities
  • Supports and demonstrates advocacy, a theme that recurs throughout the book
Author Info

Dorcas Hand is director of libraries at the Annunciation Orthodox School in Houston, TX.



"The private independent school library, though similar in some ways to that of the public sector, differs significantly in numerous aspects. This excellent collection of 21 essays covers the field. . . . Including the "NAIS Guidelines of Professional Practice for Librarians" and a sample librarian's performance evaluation, this is a sound acquisition for any private school library—an entire professional-development course in book form."Booklist Online

"This compilation of twenty-one thought provoking and informative essays is a must have for any independent school library professional. . . . for the intended reader, this volume will become an essential part of their professional library. Highly recommended."Library Media Connection

"librarians from all schools will find a wealth of information here."VOYA

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