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In the past decade, the rise of homeschooling has had a tremendous impact on public libraries. Research from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that of the 1.1 million children being homeschooled in the United States, 78% of homeschooling parents use the public library as their primary resource of learning materials. Yet, most librarians are unequipped and unprepared to reach this specific group of patrons.

This practical guidebook seeks to bridge the gap between librarians and homeschoolers in these two ways: who are homeschoolers and how can I help them practically? Part 1 addresses the history and background of homeschooling as well as the needs and viewpoints of various homeschooling groups. Part 2 deals specifically with building programs and services for the homeschooling population.

Addressing all age groups, from how to serve elementary school children and teens, to even the homeschooling parent, homeschooling expert Furness offers

  •     In-depth chapters dedicated to different types of homeschooling and unschooling movements
  •     Comprehensive discussion of resources to serve the diverse homeschooling population
  •     Ideas on programs and social outlets the library can provide
  •     Annotated lists of further readings at the end of each chapter, plus website resources and electronic discussion lists
  •     17 real–life stories of librarians interacting with homeschoolers

By moving past stereotypes and understanding what resources are available, librarians can be important allies to this diverse group of patrons. Children's and YA librarians, library directors, support staff working with youth in public libraries and educators will find the information and tools they need to develop policies, programs, and services to support homeschoolers in their communities.


Part I: Defining Homeschoolers
1: The Truth about Homeschooling
2: The Unschooling Movement
3: Homeschooling for Religious Reasons: Conservative Protestants
4: Homeschooling for Religious Reasons: Other Religions
5: Homeschooling Youth with Special Needs
6: Other Homeschooling Groups and Trends
Part II: Serving Homeschoolers
7: Connecting with Homeschoolers in Your Community
8: Creating Programs with Homeschoolers in Mind
9: Building a Special Collection
10: Helping Homeschoolers in the Library: It's Easier Than You Think

Appendix: "Serving Homeschoolers" Grant Application:
New York State Library Parent and Child Library Services, 2005–2007

Adrienne Furness

Adrienne Furness is the head of the Children and Family services department of the Webster Public Library in Webster, NY where she has served homeschoolers for ten years. Her experience includes providing basic library services to homeschoolers as well as implementing targeted programming and collections. She was also the administrator of a 2005-2007 New York State Parent and Child Services Grant dedicated to better serve homeschoolers in Monroe County, New York.

"An excellent basic primer full of practical suggestions for working with homeschoolers."
— Booklist

"Furness draws upon her extensive work with homeschoolers in a variety of settings ... A straightforward guide for library professionals to helping homeschooling parents who use public libraries as their primary resource for learning materials."
— The Midwest Book Review