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Being Indispensable: A School Librarian’s Guide to Becoming an Invaluable Leader
Ruth Toor and Hilda K. Weisburg
Item Number: 978-0-8389-1065-8
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $43.00
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184 pages
7" x 10"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1065-8
Year Published: 2011
AP Categories: A, E, G

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In New on the Job, experts Ruth Toor and Hilda K. Weisburg helped newbies make the transition to real-world school librarianship. Being Indispensable is all about staying one: without a proactive approach, school librarians, facing a severe economic downturn and budget cuts, run the risk of becoming an endangered species. In clear, simple, and practical language, this book empowers school librarians by helping them
  •     Understand what other stakeholders in a school need and want
  •     Demonstrate their importance to administrators, teachers, and parents
  •     Plan strategically in both their personal and professional lives
  •     Master important tools like advocacy and marketing
Making the case for the vital role school librarians play in learning, this book gives readers all the strategies they need to become the kind of leader their school can’t do without.
Table of Contents


Part I    Knowing Who You Are
1    What’s Your Mission?
2    What Makes a Leader?
3    Where Do You Stand?

Part II     Knowing Your Stakeholders
4    What Do Administrators Want?
5    What Does the Community Want?
6    What Do Teachers Want?
7    What Do Students Want?

Part III    Thinking Bigger
8    How Does Advocacy Develop Leadership?
9    How Do You Get a Larger Perspective?
10    Does This Really Work?

Appendix: Web Resources

About the Authors

Ruth Toor is now a consultant after retiring from her job of twenty-nine years as the school librarian at Southern Boulevard School in Chatham, N.J.  Having been president of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and a member of ALA Council, she still works actively on ALA, AASL, and ALSC committees. During her AASL presidency, she was its representative to the National Forum for History Standards and helped critique the National Social Studies and English/Language Arts Standards. She was also a member of the Implementation Committee for Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning, the former AASL National Standards. She is an Internship Adviser for Professional Development Studies at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information. She was honored with the President’s Award as well as the Lifetime Membership Award of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL). She earned her BA at the University of Delaware where she was inducted into the Alumni Wall of Fame, and her MLS at Rutgers.

Hilda K. Weisburg “retired” after 31 years as a school librarian. Currently, she is the chair of AASL Advocacy Committee and is on the ALA Committee on Literacy. She gives numerous presentations in New Jersey and at state library association conferences. She has written 13 books with Ruth Toor, including New on the Job: A School Librarian's Guide to Success, Second Edition (2015), and she has written a solo work for ALA Editions, The School Librarian’s Career Planner (2013). She has presented at ALA, AASL, and numerous state conferences.  Contact her at or  @hildakw on Twitter. She received the AASL Distinguished Service Award in 2016.


"Throughout the book, Toor and Weisburg provide many thought-provoking ideas and questions to ponder, providing librarians with a framework to build a better program. This title is recommended for school librarians looking for ways to expand their effectiveness."
--Catholic Library World

"The optimistic tone, pertinent examples of various strategies and guided practice would help many students and practising teacher librarians to develop leadership skills and to convince the school community that the library programme is indispensable for achieving desired curricular and broader educational outcomes."
--The Australian Library Journal

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New on the Job: A School Librarian's Guide to Success, Second Edition
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1264-5
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Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services for Teens
Item Number:  978-0-8389-3596-5
Change is risky business, but librarians must be prepared to initiate change to best serve teens. YA service innovators Linda W. Braun, Hillias J. Martin, and Connie Urquhart explain how to be smart about taking risks without shying away from them.
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Children's Services: Partnerships for Success
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1044-3
Contributors explain how they partnered with schools, community organizations, museums, businesses and other agencies to create novel experiences for children across the children's services spectrum (preschool through middle-school).
Price: $52.00