The Children's Literature Web Guide

An Introduction

The Children's Literature Web Guide

The Children's Literature Web Guide is an attempt to gather together and categorize the growing number of Internet resources related to books for Children and Young Adults. Much of the information that you can find through these pages is provided by others: fans, schools, libraries, and commercial enterprises involved in the book world.

My contribution, besides pulling all these sites together, is to compile book awards lists from a variety of print sources, and from Internet "sources" who generously post news of recent winners to discussion groups, or e-mail me directly (I don't actually decide who wins the book awards. Sorry!).

I usually find out about the sites I list when their creators tell me about them, or when I see a notice about them on a newsgroup, or one of the major Web Indexes or "What's New" lists. I take quite a thorough look at each site before I list it, so that I can try to describe it in a sentence or two.

Judging from the e-mail I receive, my audience is made up of teachers, librarians, parents, book professionals (writers, editors, booksellers and storytellers), and a few actual kids.

Who is David K. Brown?

David K. Brown And why is he doing this?

My official title in my Real Job is Director, Doucette Library of Teaching Resources. I am a Librarian with several years of experience in children's materials and educational resources. I work in a Faculty of Education, and an important part of my mandate, as I see it, is to promote both Children's Literature and (in recent years), electronic sources of information such as the Internet. Since children's books and computer technology are both things I love, this is not an onerous task.

In Cyberspace, no one can hear you shush.

In recent years, we librarians have been doing a lot of thinking about our role in the new electronic information environment. Traditionally, our role has been to organize information, and guide readers and researchers to the resources they need (Yes, that is what we were doing. The shushing and wearing of ugly cardigans were just extra perks of the job). In the new electronic environment, are librarians unnecessary? Can we be replaced by computers? I don't think so. Internet search engines are becoming more and more powerful, but ironically, the more information they retrieve, the more users see the need for some organizing force to make sense of it all. And that is what librarians do!

The Secret Subversive Purpose

There is also a subversive purpose to all of this. If my cunning plan works, you will find yourself tempted away from the Internet, and back to the books themselves! Please remember that the Internet is not the most comprehensive source of information about children's books. Books and Libraries cover the field far better than I can ever hope to.

The Internet is a tremendous resource, but it will never compete with a Children's Librarian with a purposeful gleam in the eye!

The Children's Literature Web Guide
Wednesday, April 22, 1998

Copyright © 1998 David K. Brown.
Permission granted to reproduce this page for nonprofit educational use (though I can't imagine why anyone would want to reproduce this page).