Children’s Librarians’ Conceptualizations of School Readiness

Renee LeFebvre, Maria Cahill, Gordana Lazić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Starting school marks an important milestone for young children. Preparing children for this transition is known to many as school readiness, an oftentimes debated concept due to its meaning, which varies depending on the context and how one interprets school readiness. What is certain is that school readiness is a familiar and established term, echoed by parents, educators, scholars, policymakers and, most recently, children’s librarians. Through services and programs, such as the highly anticipated storytime, public libraries strive to support early learning experiences to foster children’s school readiness. As a result, children’s librarians play a vital role in supporting early child development as well as promoting school readiness goals, yet little is known about their understanding and conceptions of this construct. To begin to bridge this gap in scholarship, this qualitative study investigates children’s librarians’ conceptualizations of school readiness. Specifically, this study focuses on librarians’ open responses to a school readiness question embedded at the onset of an online learning module designed to support librarians’ professional development. Early literacy skills were identified as the sine qua non of school readiness, followed by social emotional skills, general skills-concepts-knowledge, approaches to learning, and mathematics. These findings demonstrate that children’s librarians have a rigorous understanding of what children should know and be able to do across multiple domains in order to be ready for school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-499
JournalPublic Library Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclose receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Federal Award Identification Numbers: LG-96-17-0199-17).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Public libraries
  • children’s librarians
  • school readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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