Picturebook Review: The Library Pages by Carlene Morton and Valeria Docampo

The Library Pages is a wonderful picturebook for introducing library etiquette. It is written by Carlene Morton and illustrated by Valeria Docampo. The book starts with Mrs. Health, an elementary school librarian home on maternity leave, receiving a letter and video in the mail from her students. The students let her know how much they miss her, and the video details how they have helped the substitute out after being given the roles of library pages. While the substitute snores in her chair, the video shows the students shelving the books by color, in patterns, mending with colored duct tape, and various other 'helpful' functions that have Mrs. Heath ready to race back to the school to set things right. Just before she picks up the phone, the students pop up on the screen and shout "April Fools".

As a librarian, I felt Mrs. Heath's horror at each of the student's examples of how they have been helping in the library. The Library Pages filled me with horror, and the urge to giggle at the same time. The idea of mending with colored tape, or lending books without checking them out, or sniping out animal illustrations for art projects, causes he to shudder. They are some of the deepest fears for many a librarian, regardless of if they work in a school or public library. The playful and bright illustrations lead you to the hope that it is a joke before the prank is revealed, but it does not spoil the reveal. The book is highly entertaining and is a great book for opening up a discussion on how books should be treated, at home or in the library.

I recommend The Library Pages to anyone about to train young library helpers, and anyone that wants to help show children how to handle books. It is playful while still driving home the lessons that books should be treated with care.
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