REVIEWS: Library and Information Science Research
Electronic Journal ISSN 1058-6768
2005 Volume 15 Issue 1; March

in this issue:

Blowers, H. and Bryan, R. (2004). Weaving a Library Web: A Guide to Developing Children's Websites. Reviewed by Vanessa J. Earp

Hage, Christine Lind. (2004) The Public Library Start-Up Guide. Reviewed by Rose Scarlet

Smith, H. A., ed. (2004). The Coretta Scott King Awards 1970-2004. (3rd ed.). Reviewed by Lynn A. Scott

Wilson, A. P. (2004). Library Web Sites: Creating Online Collections and Services. Reviewed by Tanja E. Harrison


Blowers, H. and Bryan, R. (2004). Weaving a Library Web: A Guide to Developing Children’s Websites. Chicago : American Library Association. 187 pp. ISBN 0-8389-0877-2. $32.00

It should never be said that a book on programming or technology is a book that “you just can’t put it down once you start reading it”. Having said that, I didn’t want to put this book down once I started reading it. With just a basic knowledge of computer and internet lingo, I was able to grasp every concept, follow every idea presented, and honestly feel empowered to develop a children’s website.

At no point in the guide did I feel intimidated. The authors gently lead you from point A to point Z, and in a sense offer those familiar visuals that we grew up with as children, where “A” shows an apple, and so on. This book is a step by step guide that leaves nothing out, and gives an honest perspective on the work and dedication you will need to enlist to create and maintain a quality web site for children.

Starting with the basic concept that Libraries should continue to adapt to the environment that children grow up in, the authors lay a solid foundation of where the average child is relative to technology and the internet. The foundation is critical for the remainder of the guide, and it is transparent in design ideas and examples.

Using clear and non-technical language, the guide brings the reader through an exhaustive process that includes such important library services to children and parents such as book lists, reviews, homework assistance, and how the web site can extend those services to children in local, national, global, and special populations.

The guide walks through the entire process of developing an effective and attractive web site. Specific guidelines are offered with insight into the minds of young users, ages 3 to 17, on content of the website, navigation, and the visual, or multimedia experience of the end user. It also includes suggestions for privacy issues, accessibility, and ongoing maintenance, including promotion and marketing.

This guide offers a “behind the scenes” look at the work that goes into building a website that will provide a sound and well thought out, researched, and tested web site. This guide is the bible for children’s librarians that wish to create a web interface to their library that will promote the library, educate children and parents, and give the entire world a positive impression of the library where the web site resides.

Vanessa J. Earp
Education Material Center Librarian
Jernigan Library , Texas A&M University-Kingsville



Hage, Christine Lind. (2004) The Public Library Start-Up Guide. Chicago: American Library Association. 166 pp. ISBN 0-8389-0866-7  $42.00.

The Public Library Start-Up Guide is a thorough, well-written guide to creating a library from the ground up.  Drawing on her experience in the trenches developing the Clinton-Macomb Public Library from scratch, Christine Lind Hage gives us an overview of all the components that must be considered for a library to be successful.  But it is far from a laundry list of “how-to-do-it” topics.  She also gives us the “why-to-do-it.”  The book begins with a history of public libraries in America, which lends perspective to the importance of community libraries today.

Ms. Hage points out that all communities are different and therefore no two libraries will be exactly the same, but there are elements common to all. While it does not go into specifics, the book gives practical guidelines that can be used in the decision-making processes throughout the entire project and beyond, into the future administration of the library. The author stresses the importance of making each library a great library for everyone in the community. 

The Public Library Start-Up Guide is more than a tool for starting a new library.  It is an excellent training tool for staff and trustees in existing libraries. It would also be useful to students in Library Science programs, regardless of the type of library within which they plan to work.  The book is practical, concise, and easy to read, yet explains ideas behind the day-to-day operations and how to best serve the community.  I would recommend this book for both public and academic libraries, and to civic leaders and community members who have an interest in or responsibility for their library. 

Rose Scarlet, MA
Cataloger/Reference Librarian
Southwest Missouri State University—West Plains



Smith, H. A., ed. (2004). The Coretta Scott King Awards 1970-2004. (3rd ed.).Chicago: American Library Association. 163 pp.  ISBN: 0-8389-3540-0  $35.00

This third edition of The Coretta Scott King Awards 1970-2004 is important because it provides an extensive list of significant books that have primarily been written and illustrated by and about African Americans. Named in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow, the award recognizes authors and illustrators of children’s books who have helped to foster an understanding and appreciation of African American culture.

The books cited range in genre. Represented are poetry, fiction, folklore, and a variety of non-fiction, including history and biography.

The book is divided into sections titled, Author Awards, Illustrator Awards, and Selected Biographies. The author and illustrator awards sections are arranged in reverse chronological order. Seventeen color plates, and black and white portraits of many of the authors and illustrators enhance the book. Two Profiles, one of author Jacqueline Woodson, and one of illustrator Ashley Bryan, compliment the author and illustrator award sections. Following a list of contributors are two alphabetically arranged lists of the authors and illustrators. Each list cites the author’s/illustrator’s CSK award/honor winning works and the year that the accolades were given. The book concludes with an index. 

In addition, the recipients of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent award are listed. The award spotlights African American authors and illustrators who are recent comers to the field of children’s publishing. 

The intended audience for this volume includes school media specialists, public librarians, teachers, parents, and students and scholars of children’s literature. An indication of the appropriate age range for each title would be helpful. Consistent inclusion of the entries’ pagination would also benefit readers. The reader who is not discouraged by some of the book’s inconsistencies and mechanical problems will find it very useful.

Lynn A. Scott
Information Access Librarian
Calumet College of St. Joseph



Wilson, A. P. (2004). Library Web Sites: Creating Online Collections and Services. Chicago: American Library Association. 146pp.  ISBN: 0-8389-0872-1  $35.00

The age of technology has bred users that want information fast.  Libraries’ commercial counterparts have answered this need and increasingly provide information services in attractive, personalized web sites devoted to their online customers.  Libraries have made tremendous progress in their web presence (despite decreasing budgets and staff), yet most often are forced to play catch-up with the industry.  What is refreshing about Library Web Sites: Creating Online Collections and Services is that the book recognizes that libraries can learn much from industry in offering approachable, user-friendly, and intuitive web sites.  Libraries need to be conscious of our similar interests with the book selling and search industries without pretending to be these industries. 

Wilson’s experience as an adult services coordinator, and her background in virtual library development, is evident throughout this book.  She successfully interfaces and connects the issues of technology with the human-side of libraries.  Combinations of accepted guidelines mixed with contemplative issues are presented in a way that prompts the reader to consider their own library’s web site staffing and online model.  Chapters explore topics such as planning for web site development, information architecture design, marketing and promotion, collections and services, portal development, licensing of resources, readers’ advisories, and devising content that is specific to various user groups.  Web site design is a creative process, but it is recommended not to neglect principles, standards, and policies.  The book concludes with a reflective chapter aptly named “Where do we go from here?” which touches on issues that will be common to all libraries in the future.   

The language of Library Web Sites is straightforward, clearly written, and the ideas and issues are accessible for the new library staff member, yet should not bore the advanced professional.  There are useful screenshots, complete with accompanying URLs throughout the book, to emphasize examples and create a better visual understanding.  There are numerous ‘checklists’ provided as guidelines for everything from content inventory to ‘user friendly’ wording.  In addition to strategically placed references, the book includes a fully referenced bibliography and an appendix resource directory which compiles recommended URLs.  An additional appendix offers a sample ‘Editorial Calendar’ with suggested dates for submitting, reviewing, and revising a library web site.  The entire book is also well indexed.  What is most appealing about this book is that it doesn’t attempt to detail everything.  It does not need to be read from start to finish and instead serves as an excellent reference source.  There are other books available on this topic, but none address as wide-ranging an audience or topics in such a succinct manner.  For the busy practitioner, the simplistic approach will be appreciated. 

Although it’s questionable whether all libraries “Through the web…have put a user friendly face on [their] collections and services…” (p. xiv), this book is certainly a step forward in providing information necessary for libraries to do so.  The author, who is also a contributing editor to Public Libraries’ “Tech Talk” column, understands the issues surrounding the creation of a public web presence and succeeds in providing many useful tips and related references and resources for present or future referral.  Wilson has produced an informative, well-written book that is recommended for anyone working in a public, academic, or special library with a role in the library web site.  It is an important reference work, particularly for web staff and public services librarians dedicated to balancing and improving the physical and virtual collections and services of their libraries.  

Tanja E. Harrison
Academic Librarian
Acadia University