School Libraries in Kid’s Voices

Multilingual, multicultural open access eBooks written by children themselves


  • Dr. Helen Boelens
  • Dr. David V. Loertscher School of Library and Information Science
  • Dr. Joyce Valenza Rutgers University School of Communication and Information



School libraries, Reading, Global literacy, eBooks, Multicultural schools


Research confirms that there is a serious shortage of reading materials in school libraries, especially in developing and emerging countries. Students who were interviewed during surveys, some of whom attend very poor schools which have no electricity and no internet connection, told the survey team that they wanted to be able to read about things which are familiar to them, preferably in their mother tongue. Discussions have been held with school library colleagues about the possibility of children writing their own stories and poems, in their mother tongue, resulting in a series of books where children will respond to a variety of prompts. Members of the school library community throughout the world are being asked for their help to collect the required material. Children’s drawings, and writings will be forwarded to the international team of editors.
A publisher has been found for the first open-access book and an editorial team is being formed. Collecting of stories, drawings, poems etc. will begin in 2015. The first prompt is “Why I love my school library.

Author Biographies

Dr. Helen Boelens

Helen Boelens (PhD) was awarded a Ph.D. degree by Middlesex University, School of Arts and Education in 2010. She now focuses her work on the development of and assistance to hundreds of thousands of school libraries in developing countries. She is the former coordinator of the Research SIG of the IASL (International Association of School Librarianship). She is also one of the founders of the ENSIL Foundation (Stitching ENSIL).

Dr. David V. Loertscher, School of Library and Information Science

David V. Loertscher has degrees from the University of Utah, the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He has been a school library media specialist in Nevada and Idaho at both the elementary and secondary school levels. He has taught at Purdue University, The University of Arkansas, The University of Oklahoma, and is presently a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. He served as head of the editorial department at Libraries Unlimited for ten years and is President of Hi Willow Research & Publishing (distributed by LMC Source at He has been a president of the American Association of School Librarians.

Dr. Joyce Valenza, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information

Joyce Valenza has been studying and writing about young people, technology and information fluency for more than twenty years. She is currently Assistant Professor and Director of the MLIS program at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. Joyce has worked in special, public, and school libraries. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of North Texas in 2007.

For ten years, Joyce wrote the techlife@school column for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Joyce has authored books on information skills for ALA Editions and Information Today and developed video series for Schlessinger Media. Joyce writes the NeverendingSearch Blog for School Library Journal and also writes VOYA’s Technology Tag Team column. Her Library Technology Report, Social Media Curation for ALA Editions was published in October 2014.

Joyce is active in ALA, AASL, YALSA, and ISTE and speaks internationally about issues relating to libraries and thoughtful use of educational technology.