The Best Professional Development Books

Professional development books can sometimes be a mixed bag. Some books can be tedious or even feel repetitive, but a few can be extremely informative and helpful. I’ve found a helpful few that I continually revisit to find new ideas and sage advice when I need a fresh perspective on storytimes and other library matters. In no particular order, here are my favorites:

Baby Storytime MagicBaby Storytime Magic by Kathy MacMillan – This book is wonderful for those who do Lapsit programs for babies, whether you are new to this program or you have been doing it for a number of years. My favorite aspect is the “literacy bit” included with each book or activity. When we do programs for babies, we are also modeling the desired behavior to caregivers, and teaching them why it’s important to include certain activities for babies. The “literacy bits” are an accessible and fluid way to describe the importance of what we’re doing.

Mother Goose on the Loose by Betsy Diamant-Cohen – This wonderful book contains complete scripts to plan your Lapsit programs. Everything is ready-to-use and extremely time-friendly for librarians. This book includes a CD of all the rhymes in the book, so you can hear exactly how that rhyme is supposed to flow. This is an invaluable resource you’ll want to have in your librThe Black Belt Librarianaries.

The Black Belt Librarian: Real World Safety and Security by Warren Graham – This book is a must-read for all library staff, no matter which department you are in. It covers safety in the library, particularly how to handle disgruntled patrons effectively and confidently. In this day and age, everyone should be well-equipped to deal with library safety issues.

Children’s Services: Partnerships for Success by Betsy Diamant-Cohen – This book is great because it gives real-world examples of partnerships between libraries and community organizations. Some of my favorites included inviting the police to read at your library (which we do, along with them bringing their Partnerships for Successpolice car or firetruck), and the outreach that the Carroll County Library did to increase awareness of library services to immigrant families. Each section takes time to discuss the partnership, including logistical information such as applicable costs, the time involved, and possible roadblocks/solutions. This book is well-worth your time.

The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards by Betsy Diamant-Cohen – This another book, similar to Baby Storytime Magic, that gives you practical early literacy tips that you can share with parents during storytime. This book makes it even easier to share these tips by creating removable cards that you can take with you to read from, rather than memorizing the tip that’s relevant.

What are your favorite professional development books?

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