Book review: The Mini Book of Teaching Tips for Librarians, 2nd Edition

By Andrew Walsh

Innovative Libraries, 2018

Review by Anne Lawrence

Contact: anne.lawrence@beds.ac.uk

Andrew Walsh is adept at arming the librarian with practical advice and skills that they can go and develop and/or put into practice, and this updated edition of his Mini Book of Teaching Tips is testament to that. The book is, as it clearly states, mini, and despite its size, it is packed with practical tips and guidance about how to drop them into a teaching session.

The book is split into two main sections; general teaching tips and practical ideas. The first section about teaching tips are brief discussions and good pieces of advice to take when planning sessions. These range from relevant theories (e.g. active learning, constructivism, flipped classroom), definitions (e.g. assessment types, learning styles) things to consider when planning (e.g room layout, attention span) and common mistakes (e.g. trying to teach “all the things” (Walsh, 2018, p. 6) or trying to turn students into “mini librarians” (Walsh, 2018, p. 24)). These are all great, bite size pieces of advice to consider when planning what and where to teach.

The second section is the more practical of the two, detailing the basic premise of a variety of games and methods. They include the basic reasoning behind each of the tips (e.g. assessing learning/understanding, giving feedback, evaluating sources, finding information) as well as briefly describing the technique and what resources are required (if any).

The book is very simple and easy to read. Each of the tips or ideas is split over one or two pages, making it easy to digest. The direct and straightforward description of each of the tips makes it easy for the reader to contemplate how this would work in their context and how best to go about dropping that idea into one of their sessions.

The very nature of the tips and advice in this book make it a useful and practical addition to my teaching resources and knowledge, and the structure and flow of the book make it something you can easily dip in and out of for inspiration. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants to broaden their own teaching practice and to try something new in their teaching toolkit.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Anne Lawrence