associate professor
graduate school of library and information science,
simmons college,
boston, massachusetts


300 the fenway
boston, ma 02115
(617) 521-2853


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teaching philosophy and courses

teaching philosophy

I consider my position as a professor, an advocate for youth and a critical consumer of materials for children and young adults, to be an inherently political one. The issue of service to a less powerful population (and the recognition of the power we, as adults and “people in charge”—of the classroom, of the library—wield) is one that deserves thought and consideration. In my teaching, I attempt to adopt some of the critical pedagogies about which Henry Giroux (drawing from Paulo Freire and bell hooks) has written and which involve both a disclosure of my own (of the teacher’s) biases and political leanings and a recognition of the cultural and political “baggage” students carry into class. I try to encourage my students to be ever aware of the power we enact as teachers and librarians as we select, evaluate, review and recommend texts for children. In addition, I feel it is important for us to recognize that children's literature is not innocent literature; children's texts are deliberate texts and deliberate objects of design.

children's literature course (LIS 481)
This class serves as an introductory survey of the variety of materials created and produced for young people ages 0-12. This course examines children's literature from a primarily pragmatic viewpoint; as professional librarians, we evaluate children's literature based on our knowledge of our local audience of readers, our planned potential use of the material, and the literary and artistic value of the work. We rely on a number of specialized vocabularies of criticism related to children's literature: 1) utilitarian criticism, that describes a work's potential use in an educational setting, 2) evaluative criticism, that describes a work in terms of its audience as well as its use, and 3) literary and artistic criticism, that assesses the literary and artistic merits of a work. In addition, this class seeks to familiarize students with specialized bibliographies and reference works created for youth serving professionals, many of which are encoded in one or more of the above vocabularies of criticism.
library programs and services for children course (LIS 482)
This course examines trends and techniques in planning and delivering public library services to children and their families. Attention is paid to the learning needs and recreational interests of children through the various developmental stages (broadly construed) of childhood. This course emphasizes the planning, developing, funding, publicizing and evaluation of services and programs for youth in a library setting. During the course of the semester, I model at least four sample programs: storytimes for babies and their caregivers, toddlers and preschoolers and activity programs for school-aged children. By the end of the course, students should be equipped to plan and facilitate story and activity programs for children and their families.
young adult literature course (LIS 483)
This course explores the social and psychological needs and attitudes of adolescents and the literature created especially for this demographic. This class emphasizes the evaluation, selection and oral presentation of books and non-print materials for young people between the ages of 12 and 18. Special attention is paid to the developmental tasks of this age group with an eye towards literary recommendation. Topics of discussion include the literacy practices of young adults, popular literature for teen readers, and the use of specialized selection materials to develop collections in school and public libraries.