Linworth Libraries Unlimited

Growing Schools

Librarians as Professional Developers

by Debbie Abilock, Kristin Fontichiaro, and Violet H. Harada, Editors


When librarians work as professional developers, they can build relationships and develop deeper capacity within individual teachers, who can then share that increased expertise with their students. Professional development offers a nimble, scalable, and more efficient way to bring library instruction to every student.

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Cover image for Growing Schools

June 2012

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 390
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Curriculum and Instruction, K-12
  • Award Winner!




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Presenting examples of school librarians leading professional learning in numerous contexts and for diverse learning goals with remarkable success, this book will inspire other practitioners to initiate and refine professional learning in their schools and districts.

School administrators are recognizing that school librarians are ideal to lead professional development because they service the entire school network, from the students and faculty to families and the community. As a national downturn in educational funding is diminishing districts' ability to optimally staff libraries, investing energy in professional development is a sound strategy to bring information literacy skills to every student—especially in buildings with part-time librarians, or districts with only a single librarian of record.

Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers stands apart from other works as the first book that directly addresses the potential role of the school librarian as a staff developer. Within the chapters, the authors relate their professional development journeys, collectively representing experience within K–12 public and private institutions, district and regional units, and universities across the United States and Canada. The work provides various approaches to professional development with a range of processes and techniques that have been proven effective in different contexts and in achieving diverse learning goals. Practitioners at the building and district levels as well as school principals, state and district personnel, and library educators will find this book insightful and instructive.


  • Reviews the research on effective professional development
  • Demonstrates the school-wide benefits of librarians as professional learning leaders
  • Examines adult learning needs and contexts and the skills needed to become an effective staff developer within a school
  • Describes step-by-step how librarians can grow school-wide learning communities
  • Presents honest appraisals of both missteps and successes in online and face-to-face initiatives
  • Provides multiple perspectives and possibilities for librarians as professional developers
  • Concludes with a "baby step" plan for a school librarian's first professional development lesson
Author Info

Debbie Abilock, cofounder of NoodleTools, Inc., an online platform for teaching academic research, speaks internationally and consults in schools based on over 25 years as a school administrator, curriculum coordinator, librarian, and ICT director. Abilock is founding editor of Knowledge Quest, the journal of the American Association of School Librarians (1996–2010); and edited Standards and Guidelines for Strong School Libraries for the California School Library Association. She has authored more than 50 articles and chapters, most recently for Technology in its Place: Successful Technology Infusion in Schools and Libraries Unlimited's Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence.

Kristin Fontichiaro is clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan's School of Information, Ann Arbor, MI. Formerly, she was an elementary school librarian and staff development facilitator for the Birmingham Public Schools in Michigan and a classroom teacher. She coedited an eBook original, School Libraries: What's Now, What's Next, What's Yet to Come, and has published four Libraries Unlimited titles: Story Starters and Science Notebooking: Developing Student Thinking Through Literacy and Inquiry; 21st-Century Learning in School Libraries; Active Learning Through Drama, Podcasting, and Puppetry; and Podcasting at School

Violet H. Harada is professor in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her recent published works include Libraries Unlimited's Assessing For Learning: Librarians and Teachers as Partners and Librarians as Learning Specialists: Meeting the Learning Imperative for the 21st Century.



"One of the most important books to appear in the literature this year. . . . [I]t provides real people doing real projects that make a difference. Read it; think about it; and, then reach out to others in the school to form a strong team bent on school improvement. Essential. "Teacher Librarian

"A rich smorgasbord of ideas, this book would be invaluable for an individual librarian looking to become a professional development leader, and for district librarians to use in planning and implementing meaningful district-wide professional development. . . . Highly recommended."Library Media Connection


Best Professional Book of the Year, 2012 — Teacher Librarian

Best in Reference Award, 2013 — LMC/ARBA

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