The Cooperative Children’s Book Center: A Reading Haven by Sarah Wendorf
I started my journey to become a school librarian in 2006 when I enrolled as a part-time graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. Even though I had grown up in a small city near the university, I knew more about the college hockey team than I did about what was all housed on campus. It wasn’t until library school orientation that I learned that the Cooperative Children’s Book Center even existed–a place filled with children’s and young adult literature.
The CCBC is a wonderful examination library associated with UW’s School of Education whose staff tirelessly promote children’s and young adult literature to educators and librarians of all kinds. It seems like countless new books arrive each year at the CCBC for review by its librarians: KT Horning, Megan Schliesman, Merri Lindgren and Emily Townsend. I have found their resources and expertise to be an essential part of my professional development as well as my development as a reader.
Last summer the CCBC moved from its former home to a beautiful new space inside the Teacher Education building. When I visit, one of the first places I check is the display of newly arrived books to see what ones I haven’t heard of or to get a better feel of the book. Since I work at a school that is only fifth and sixth grade, I also find the current picture book collection invaluable as a way to preview titles I’ve seen Nerdy Book Clubbers recommending to see if they fit my library. The current collections at the CCBC feature books from 2015 and 2014. It’s easy to lose hours amidst the books, and I always wish I had more time to spend there.
Dropping in on Madison isn’t an option for everyone, and that’s where the CCBC’s wonderful outreach resources come into play. Within Wisconsin, the librarians take traveling presentations around the state to schools, districts and conferences. The CCBC books of the week and other topics are featured on their blog. The CCBC also administers the Read On Wisconsin project, a literacy program to promote read-alouds, book discussions and more.
One of my favorites is a series of book talks called CCBC Shorts. These book talks helped me with my first school library position, which started mid-year one school year. Merri Lindgren and Megan Schliesman coordinate this series online through a local public library consortium. The talks rotate through different topics and target age groups.
Every year I am excited to get a new brightly covered copy of CCBC Choices, an amazing annotated bibliography of best books selected from each year. The list of titles included in the 2015 edition can be found here. If you live inside Wisconsin, you can get a print copy of this publication for the cost of shipping; there is a higher fee for those who live out of state. Complete digital editions for previous years can be found through Minds@UW. One thing I love about Choices each year as it helps me spot my reading gaps and encourages me to explore topics I overlook. As part of the review process, the CCBC librarians also consult with content area experts one the portrayal of cultures and facts in books that are both factual and fiction. The CCBC is also a great resource for multicultural literature from the bibliographies it crafts to the information it tracks on books by and about people of color published within the United States.
If your travels ever take you near Madison, a visit to the CCBC would be a great addition. You can find Ed Emberley’s Paul Bunyan near the entrance. Also keep an eye out for some beautiful window art created from some of Lois Ehlert’s illustrations.
Sarah Wendorf (@pageintraining) is the librarian at Waunakee Intermediate School where she works with fifth and sixth grade students. She just finished a two-year term as the Recording Secretary for the Friends of the CCBC.
Since I have found the CCBC to be such a part of my reading life, I would like to giveaway a copy of Choices 2015 and a gift membership to the Friends of the CCBC to a Nerdy Book Club reader. Enter below to win.