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How to Teach Library Science Skills to Children

by Daisy Peasblossom Fernchild, studioD

Library science skills include a range of issues related to information literacy. Not only do they include learning how to look for a book record in a filing system and finding it in the matching shelf, they include using indexes, reading selectively, selecting reading material and how to use electronic tools such as magazine proxy services and the Internet. According to the American Library Association, library skills, endorsed and taught by a qualified librarian, can increase student test achievement.

The Mr. Wiggle's series by Paula Craig and Carol Thompson introduces basic library skills to young children. "Mr. Wiggle's Book" teaches how to handle and care for a book. "Mr. Wiggle's Library" coaches youngsters on how to sit and read quietly in a library. "Mr. Wiggle Loves to Read" endorses new reader's growing skills. You can make a Mr. Wiggle puppet by adding goggle eyes, glasses and a mouth to a green sock. Let him "taste" the fingers of preschoolers or kindergarteners as an ice-breaker. Debate whether the child tastes like ice cream, pizza or some other popular flavor. The bolder children will come up right away, but soon the shyer ones will want Mr. Wiggle to taste their fingers. This will lead into reading one or more of the books.

"Hooked on Library Skills" by Marguerite Lewis and Pamela J. Kudla offers a variety of worksheets to help librarians make learning about books interesting and fun. Reproducible "book covers" let students label the spine, front and back cover, and write in a title and author. Reproducible "library shelves" with books spines that can be cut out, colored, sorted and placed on the "shelves" help students learn about organizing books without handling the books or disturbing the order of real library shelves. The books include alphabetical listings and Dewey Decimal listings. Although some of the technology pages in this book are dated, the sections on how to read fiction and nonfiction books are still relevant. It even has ideas for games, such as library scavenger hunts, that can help students become accustomed to the location of various types of books in the library.

Modern library skills often include operating listening equipment so students can enjoy read-along recordings or audio books. Demonstrate how to place the recorded material in the device, how to turn it on, and how to put it away. Students' first Internet searches can also be conducted in the library. For student safety, select kid-friendly websites and provide specific information for the children to find on them. This helps students understand how to use a URL, how to search for information, and keeps focuses their attention on age-appropriate material. Coach youngsters on proper Internet etiquette and on Internet safety before beginning the exercise.

Items you will need
  •  copy machine
  •  paper
  •  crayons
  •  scissors
  •  books


  • Pair library characters and books to draw children to particular offerings.


  • Always supervise children when they are accessing the Internet.

About the Author

Daisy Peasblossom Fernchild has been writing for over 50 years. Her first online publication was a poem entitled "Safe," published in 2008. Her articles specialize in animals, handcrafts and sustainable living. Fernchild has a Bachelor of Science in education and a Master of Arts in library science.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images