Creating Literacy-Based Programs for Children: Lesson Plans and Printable Resources for K-5. By R. Lynn Baker. Chicago: ALA, 2017. 176 p. Paper $48 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1500-4).

R. Lynn Baker returns with another useful guide for youth services librarians. As in her previous book, Counting Down to Kindergarten (ALA, 2015), Baker’s passion for reading readiness and innovative services to K-5 children is abundant throughout this streamlined and practice-based volume. In clear language, Baker advocates for organized and thoughtful approaches to program planning in public libraries. She provides readers with succinct chapters on best practices in programming from inception to evaluation. All planning activities are undergirded by the five modes of multiliteracy: textual, social, digital, multisensory, and visual literacy. This foundation guides programmers through the entire process.

I would not hesitate to recommend the book to seasoned programmers, but Creating Literacy-Based Programs for Children would be especially useful to new and preservice public librarians. New professionals will appreciate the book’s brevity and practicality as they discover and hone their programming skills. I would highly recommend the volume to university professors whose course offerings include program design for children in public libraries. Baker’s work is likely to be instrumental in sharpening students’ skills before they find themselves tasked with developing a programming repertoire at their own library.

At the book’s conclusion, Baker offers readers a chapter of lesson plans and an appendix of printable resources. The lesson plans offer a basic structure that can be customized to suit a variety of needs or can be used as a ready-made outline. The appendix includes possible survey items to include when evaluating programs, outlines for literacy-based programs, program-planning checklists, lesson plans, and other resources that could come in handy for small, rural, or independent libraries. Branch libraries that have coordinated centralized programming efforts might not find these resources as useful because their systemwide initiatives might include similar features built into the program planning process.

“When the library connects with young children and maintains a relationship with children and families over time, it is much more likely to cultivate lifelong readers and maintain them as library users” (21). Baker’s words ring true in today’s public library: If you build and foster relationships with your users, your library will thrive. Libraries that neglect this crucial step may survive, but they will not flourish. Creating Literacy-Based Programs for Children is an irreplaceable roadmap that will help programmers craft quality children’s programming and will serve as a means to building a multiliterate community.—Joshua Jordan, Librarian, Del City (OK) Library


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