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Review of Geography Series

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  • 1. Fiona B. Griswold LIS 590NF June 22, 2010 Assignment 1: Geography Series Selection Of the three series that we reviewed, the America the Beautiful (ATB) series from theChildren’s Press seemed to be the best option for the public library to purchase at this time (the other twoseries were The United States (TUS) from Buddy Books and Welcome to the USA (WTU) from TheChild’s World). However, I need to qualify my selection since, with some additional information aboutthe series currently held by the library, the nature of the assignment and the range of abilities of the 4thgrade students, I might change my selection.The criteria I considered in making my selection were the following: 1. Publication Date: The 3rd ed. of ATB was published from 2008-2010, making it most current. 2. Quality of Writing: ATB had the best writing and most complete information of the three reviewed. However, it also had the highest reading and interest levels, at 7.3 and 5-8, respectively for the Texas volume. This could be a asset or detriment to the usefulness of the series for the 4th grade report writers, depending on their abilities. 3. Breadth/Depth of Information: There was no comparison between the extent of the information in ATB and the other series. ATB was very complete with all the usual chapters (land, people) but also a Travel Guide and Modern Times. At 144 pages, it is more than 3 times longer than the other two series. 4. Design/Layout of Book: ATB features lots of photos, charts, graphs and maps along with great color, fonts and a style that feels fresh and modern. Unfamiliar words are bolded and blue and defined in margins. Though layout is busy, it is so well designed that the extras are differentiated from the main text. The book also has a “user guide” in the front. 5. “Extras”: ATB has great extras throughout and at the end of the volume. Within the chapters, there are timelines, mini-bios, charts, quick facts and so on. The end material includes project ideas, a timeline, fast facts, sports teams, biographical dictionary, annual events and more. 6. Reviews/School or State Lists: ATB, generally, has very positive reviews and also can be found on some of the recommended purchase lists (for example, Chicago Public Schools’ list for middle grades).Reservations: Though the ATB series is by far the best of the three series reviewed, it is difficult to saythat it would absolutely be the best purchase. In part, it would be helpful to know the interest and readinglevels for the series currently held by the library. If both were geared to a higher reading level, then itmight be appropriate to select a series that is geared to a lower reading level so that the library would havean appropriate book for all users. If an easier series were needed, though, I would look for another onerather than purchase one of the other two we reviewed.Managing Access to Volumes: It is not clear how many students may need to use the state series duringthe 4th grade assignment period. However, to ensure that all students would have access to the right statevolume at an appropriate reading level. I would plan to put all volumes of both series on reserve for in-house, 2-hour use during the 2 or 3-week period that the reports were being researched and written.Individuals wishing to use one of the volumes would have to come to the reference desk and leave theirlibrary card, student ID or another similar type of ID to obtain their desired volume. If, after the initial 2-hour period had expired, nobody was waiting for that item, then the borrower would be allowed to keepthe book for another 2 hours.

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