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Nov 30 2021 - 09:46 AM
Workshop: Exploring Children's Literature

The road to academic excellence begins in the simplest places. Space to learn, grow, collaborate, and explore are key elements of K-12 learning environments. But, of course, these elements are enhanced by the right materials. As a dedicated and esteemed academic library, why hold books for children? Aside from applications in the field through student teaching and clinical work, there is much to be learned from changes in the writing, illustrating, and publishing of children’s materials. Our goal in curating a balanced collection is to provide high-quality teaching materials and to exemplify how far these books have come -- and where they’ll take us and our growing readers in the future.

 

Areas of this guide will focus on print materials, historical collections, ebooks, databases, and external resources which are available for members of the Teachers College community with interest in children’s and youth publications, as well as how to find them. Happy searching, and happy reading!


A photograph of yellow and blue bins filled with colorful, well-organized children's books.


Print Resources


If you’ve ever visited the second floor reading room at the Gottesman Libraries, you’ve been seated amidst a vast collection of print materials with publication dates from 1990 to today. Our Curriculum and Juvenile collections are housed on shelves in the center of this collaborative workspace and are available to be checked out. In the past, monthly staff picks collections have highlighted award winning books, but now more permanent “Rocket Ship” shaped shelves display an ever-changing rotation of award winning and honoree titles.


Finding Print Resources in Educat+

Our catalog, Educat+, connects you to the books in our collections. For additional information on using the catalog’s interface for searching, placing requests, and more, see A Guide to Educat+ by Lorraine LaPrade. 

 

There are a few ways to go about searching for children’s and youth materials, the first being a title search. A title can be entered into the Educat+ search bar on the library homepage. 

 

For example, a search for Pura Belpre Award winner Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez:


[Image: a screenshot of the Search Educat+ bar on the Gottesman Libraries homepage with the title "sal and gabi break the universe" entered]


The results return more than just the book in question. There are many articles and reviews readily available. This can be useful when looking for summaries or opinions on popular titles, but somewhat confusing if all that’s needed is the book itself. Thankfully, the second result is Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, but one method of narrowing down to book- and ebook-only results is through using the limiter for “Resource Type” along the left side of the results page. Selecting Books as the Resource Type and clicking on the green “Apply Filters” button will streamline results to reflect only books.


[Image: results from searching the title "sal and gabi break the universe" in Educat+. 76 results are visible. A red circle added to the screenshot wraps around Resource Type: Books limiter and a red arrow points to the green Apply Filters button.]


[Image: a screenshot depicting the results of adding the above limiters. Only one result is shown in this screenshot.]


Many times, a search without a title is necessary. It’s possible to enter phrases like “children’s books” and “juvenile literature” and obtain relevant results. This type of search typically elicits many results -- for example, a search of “children’s literature” in Educat+ with no limiters or modifications returns upwards of 142,000 results -- but there are ways to narrow them down.

 

The Advanced Search feature can be accessed by clicking on the “Advanced Search” link beneath the main Educat+ search bar on the library’s homepage, or via the “Advanced Search” button available after clicking the “Search Educat+” link on our Resources page.




[Image: A screenshot of the Search Educat+ bar on the Gottesman Libraries homepage with the Advanced Search link circled in red.]


[Image: A screenshot of the Our Resources page of the Gottesman Libraries website with the Resources tab circled in red and a red arrow pointing towards the Search Educat+ link.]


[Image: A blue search bar resulting from clicking on the Search Educat+ link on the Resources page with a white Advanced Search button to the right side.]


Advanced Search opens up options for searching the entire catalog, or for specific collections and types of media. Filters are available for searching Children’s Books and Curriculum by clicking on them in a list marked “Search for” at the top of the fields. Boolean fields under “Search filters” can be filled to specify information such as title, author, and more. Drop-down menus on the right side of this interface allow for selecting Material Type - such as books, articles, film, etc. - and Language, as well as Start Date and End Date ranges to view publications made during a certain time period. More information on Educat+ can be found by scrolling down on this landing page.


Though it may seem redundant, a search for “children’s literature” with the Children’s Books filter narrows results drastically when compared with the original unfiltered Educat+ search for the same phrase. Using the Curriculum option offers a different set of results. The same is true for “juvenile literature,” used here because it encompasses a greater variety of results than “children’s literature.”

[Image: A screenshot of an advanced search for "juvenile literature" under any field with the Children's Books limiter toggled on. 1,994 results were returned.]

 

Further narrowing of the scope can be achieved by using the drop-down menu marked “Any field” and changing the field to Subject, or even by adding another term to a second field; for example, a search containing “juvenile literature” and “flowers.” Changing the Material Type to Books can also refine results prior to clicking the Search button. Between the use of Advanced Search and the limiters along the left side of a page of results, it is possible to drastically narrow results.

 

[Image: A screenshot of an advanced search for "juvenile literature" under Subject and "flowers" under any field with the Children's Books limiter toggled on. Five results were returned.]



Historical Collections and Circulating Items

The Gottesman Libraries grant access to multiple historical collections of materials for young learners. Scholars focusing on changes in curriculum development or development in children’s literature and publishing may take interest in the following:

  • The Harvey Darton Collection: literature for children written between the 17th-19th centuries
  • The Annie E. Moore Collection: focusing on illustrated works, this collection offers a unique perspective on the conception and production of English and American artists’ work in children’s publishing
  • The “W Collection”: over 2,400 items including chapbooks and other rare works from the 18th-19th Centuries

Materials from the above collections, and more, are located in the library’s closed stacks and must be requested directly through their records in Educat+. 

 

Due to cataloging of the historical collections and recent changes to our library system, assistance may be necessary in finding materials in these collections. Please reach out to us using Ask a Librarian for any related inquiries.



Digital Resources


Though the library's physical collections of children's literature and related research is prolific, there is a wealth of information in virtual holdings, as well. Explore such offerings in the following embedded Padlet:

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