Frequently Asked Questions about the CCBC
Here are some of the questions we are commonly asked. But if you don't see the answer you are looking for here, don't hesitate to ask a question yourself. You can call the CCBC at 608-263-3720, or e-mail us.
Especially for University Students, Faculty and Staff
Especially for Wisconsin Teachers and Librarians
Can you give me feedback on
my manuscript or help me get the children's book I've written published?
Especially for Authors, Illustrators, and Small Presses
Our long name comes from a long history of being cooperatively, or jointly, funded by several different agencies. We are currently a library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and receive additional funding from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction through the Division for Libraries and Technology. Back to list.
There are a number of book examination centers affiliated with colleges and universities, libraries and school districts or statewide agencies around the country. But one of the things that makes the CCBC unique is its outreach mission to serve librarians and teachers across the state of Wisconsin. In this way, the library embodies the Wisconsin Idea. Back to list.
Although we are specifically funded to serve students, faculty and staff
on the UW-Madison campus, and school and public librarians and teachers
in Wisconsin, we welcome any adult who has an interest in children’s
and young adult literature.
You don't have to have a special ID or pass to come to the library, and dropping by unannounced is fine. But we encourage you to email us (ccbcinfo at education.wisc.edu) or call us (608-263-3720) ahead of time if you have a specific need or interest and would like to meet with a librarian during your visit or have books for pulled and waiting for you when you arrive.
Individuals make use of the CCBC in a variety of ways. We often assist students in UW-Madison classes, especially from the School of Education and iSchool, as they work on assignments for classes, or as they look for book ideas for their practicum or student teaching assignments.
Librarians from across the state visit the CCBC to examine newly published books firsthand as they decide what to purchase. Teachers at all levels come to the CCBC to look at books relating to a specific subject areas or themes. And many Wisconsin librarians and teachers use our Intellectual Freedom Information Services.
Established and aspiring authors and illustrators sometimes visit or use the library as well
The CCBC doesn’t have “members” and any adult is welcome to use the library. However, we do have a terrific library Friends group, and this is often what people are thinking of when they ask about "joining" the CCBC. The Friends of the CCBC supports the work that we do, including publishing CCBC Choices, our annual-best-of-the-year list. Back to list.
The CCBC is a noncirculating library, which means we don’t check books out.
The good news is that this means the books are here when you need them, whether you’re coming from across campus or across the state. (Do call ahead if you are traveling--we do take books with us when we make off-campus presentations and want to help you plan a visit at a time when all the new books will be here.) And if you are working on a project, we are happy to hold books for you here at the library for several days so you don’t have to track them down again when you return.
If you need books for a class presentation, we encourage you to plan ahead in order to obtain the books you from another campus library, or from the Madison Public Library. If you are doing a practicum or student teaching in an area school, we also encourage you to see if the school library has what you need for using on-site. Back to list.
The CCBC is not designed for or funded to serve children or families directly. And no matter how much your child loves books and reading, the CCBC cannot match what the public library can offer. We encourage families to visit their local public library, which will provide them with a much more satisfying experience, including being able to take books home with them at the end of their visit! Back to list.
In any given year we receive about 3,500 newly published books at the CCBC. Back to list.
No, with the exception of a very small number of books in Spanish that we keep as a sampling of what U.S. publishers are offering—most of these are translations of picture books previously published in English. We also do have some bilingual books; most of these are in Spanish/English. Back to list.
No, we only have print books. Back to list.
We don’t read every new book, but one or more of the librarians does examine every book that comes into the library. Many of them are subsequently read by one or more of us. Back to list.
Anyone can pick up a copy of the current CCBC Choices, our annual best-of-the-year list, here at the CCBC while supplies last. To order copies, go to our Choices page for complete information, including back issues available in print, and how to access back issues through Minds@UW, the UW-Madison Digital Library. Back to list.
The CCBC librarians read hundreds of new books throughout the year—at home, on the bus, in the car (but never while driving). We discuss what we’ve been reading with one another, and talk about books with others at our monthly discussions, or with librarians and teachers visiting the CCBC or whom we meet on our travels. Sometimes we seek out content experts who can provide insight we need to determine if a book is accurate or authentic to the experience portrayed.
We are looking for books that are well-written, authentic, entertaining, engaging, original, compelling, unique, provide content we know is important . . . in other words, there’s no single thing that makes a book a Choice. Our goal is to create a list of high-quality books that will meet a wide range of needs and interests.
All of our reading
and discussing and feedback informs our selection process, and in
the end it comes down to the books that the current CCBC
on. Because it's a list created by consensus, there
are always a number of books
we appreciate individually that don’t end up in Choices,
and others that we all liked, but not quite enough to make them a Choice. And
every year we find a few after the fact that we wish we’d included. Back
Every new book we receive is kept for at least twelve to eighteen months, usually as part of our Current Collection. Every six months we evaluate the oldest books in the Current Collection and withdraw many. Most of those that remain become part of our Basic Collection.
All of the books we withdraw go to the Friends of the CCBC, Inc, our library Friends group. Twice a year they hold a book sale, the proceeds of which helps fund their projects, which includes the annual CCBC Choices publication. We do not donate books to any other organization or cause. Back to list.
We can try.
We’ll need to know whatever you can remember about it: characters, names, setting or anything else you can recall, such as the kind of book it was (picture book story, novel, informational book), whether it was a book you owned at home or obtained from a school or public library, and even what decade you read it during, if possible. (For example: “It was a novel about children who smuggle gold past Nazi soldiers on their sleds. I think I read it during elementary school in the 1970s.”) Email us (ccbcinfo at education.wisc.edu) or call us (608-263-3720) with as much information as you can remember. (By the way, the answer to the description above: Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan.) With this information, we are sometimes—but not always—able to track the title down. (You can also check out the advice for finding old books on the Old Children's Books web site.)
Please see the question above about checking books out. If you are a faculty member or TA looking to use books on a specific theme or topic for your class, we encourage you to arrange a visit to the CCBC for your class. You can meet in our conference room and we will arrange to have relevant books pulled/on display. We will loan out a limited number of books for same-day, short period loan, but you will have to leave a photo ID and contact information at our reference desk. Back to list
We love talking to university students about the CCBC and books for children and teens! E-mail us (ccbcinfo at education.wisc.edu) with several possible dates/times. We'll want to know whether you're interested in an introdution to the CCBC and tour, or if you'd also like us to provide a presentation on books relevant to a specific content area. (It can be helpful for your planning and ours for you to find out if the students in your class have already visited the CCBC as part of another class or with their cohort, so they don't end up sitting through two simiilar presentations.)
If we are including books for display and a presentation, we'll want to know what grade range(s) to pull for (e.g., Picture Books for K-3; Books about or for use with K-12 English Language Learners; etc). We'll also want to know how many students are in your class or group. It sometimes takes a little back and forth to find a date and time that works but we are always able to arrange something. Back to list
The CCBC conference room is available for one-time use as the room schedule allows. It is not availble for classes or groups to use on a regular basis for their meetings. E-mail us to inquire about availabilty for a one-time use. If you are coming to make use of CCBC resources and want a tour and/or presentation, see the question above.
When the CCBC conference room is not in use, students may drop in and use it to study or meet informally. Please check in at the CCBC reference desk before doing so in case we are getting ready to set up for an event or class visit. Back to list
As a general rule, the CCBC can only provide outreach programs involving travel when they are arranged and sponsored by consortia such as Wisconsin public library systems and CESAs. Please see our CCBC Workshops page for details.
We are always happy to host teachers and librarians from a district here at the CCBC for a presentation. (See next question.) Back to list
A group of us from my school/district would like to arrange a visit to the CCBC to look at books. How do we arrange this?
We are happy to work with you to find a date for your visit. E-mail us with several possible dates.
We'll want to know if you are interested in a presentation, just looking at books, or both. If you are interested in hearing about books in the most recent edition of CCBC Choices, our annual best-of-the-year list, we'll want to know if we should focus on a specific audience age/grade range. If you are interested in finding out about both newer and older (but still relatively recent) books on specific themes and topics, we'll want your list of themes/topics at least two weeks, and preferrably more, in advance of yoru visit, including the age/grade ranges we should focus on.
If you are interested in hands-on examination of new books and have a list of titles you want to see, we will want that list at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Back to list
We can’t accommodate school groups or classes at the CCBC. However, we do make an exception for students who are studying Ellen Raskin’s Newbery Award-winning novel The Westing Game, as Ms. Raskin donated her manuscript to the CCBC so that students could see where books come from and how they are made. To inquire about seeing the manuscript materials by appointment, contact CCBC Director Kathleen T. Horning, 608-263-3721. Back to list.
The CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services provides confidential, book-specific information and referral for Wisconsin librarians and teachers facing an or actual or potential materials challenge. Call us at 608-263-3720 to ask for assistance.
We know sometimes writers do this kind of research out of their own interest, and sometimes at the request of publishers. Here's how we can--and can't--help.
We CAN identify titles with similar themes/topics that we’ve recommended in our annual-best-of-the-year list, CCBC Choices. Depending on your topic, we may also be able to search effectively in our catalog for newer books we haven’t recommended.
We CAN'T give you a comprehensive list of everything published that may be similar to your topic.
We'll want to know if you are interested only in recently published books (e.g., past two years) or older titles, too. And we'll want to know what formats you're interested in (e.g., picture books, beginning readers, middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, non-fiction, etc.).
And of course, we’ll need to know what the themes or topics you’re interested in are. We encourage you to think about this in terms that are relatively broad. For example, if you are working on a book about the death of a boy’s pet guinea pig, the themes we can help you find books on are death of a pet, and perhaps, more broadly, grief and loss. We won’t be able to search specifically on death of a guinea pig—even if such a book exists, we won’t necessarily know about it. The same is true if you are looking for books in a specific genre—if you want adventure stories featuring a girl as the main character, we can help; if you want adventure stories featuring a girl in a single parent family as the main character, that’s too specific for us to be able to search on (although there may end up being a few among those we’ve recommended).
Sometimes it can help to separate your request into multiple topics (e.g., books about the death of a pet and books about guinea pigs; adventure stories about girls and books about kids in single-parent families). So think about what it is you really want to see examples of—what will be truly useful to you—to help determine what it is you want to ask for.
As with all reference questions, we encourage you e-mail us or call (608-263-3720) with your question. If you are interested in seeing books, we can work with you to arrange a time to come in and look at books we will arrange to have pulled for you. Back to list
If you are a small or indepdendent publisher in the United States or Canada, we would love to receive your new (current publishing year) book(s) for children and/or teens if you aren't already sending them. If you are an author or illustrator, we encourage you to check first with your publisher to see if they are already sending to us. (Most large trade book publishers in the U.S. send
us review copies of their new books, as do some smaller publishers). Please contact CCBC librarian Merri Lindgren for more information on sending review copies.
New books are added to our Current Collection of newly published books (assuming we are able to catalog the book, which is sometimes not possible with self-published and some independently publsihed works). All books we receive are logged and documented for our annual diversity in publishing data.
CCBC thematic and genre bibliographies are comprised of books we have first recommended in an edition of CCBC Choices, our annual best-of-the-year list. (See earlier question about choosing books for inclusion in Choices.) We don't typically consider books exclusively for inclusion on a CCBC bibliography. Back
In a word, No. The CCBC does not regularly review books. We do write
about selected books for our annual best-of-the-year list, CCBC
Choices, and in several other contexts for specialized purposes
throughout the year, but we are not a regular review source and cannot
accommodate requests to review specific books. See the list of
Journals on our web site for sources that do regularly review newly
published books for children and teens. (Note: there is no guarantee
a journal will
review every book submitted; it can be particulary difficult for self-published
books to get reviewed by professional sources.
book has local
or regional interest, try newspapers and other media outlets in
the area. If you are in the Wisconsin or Midwest area, the Midwest
Book Review is another good resource.) Back
Can you give me feedback on my manuscript or help me get the children's book I've written published?
We can’t put you in touch with a publisher or agent, or offer feedback on your manuscript or portfolio. We also can't offer contract advice.
However, if you can come to the CCBC in person, you can spend time browsing our Current Collection of recently published books to see what U.S. publishers are producing. Pay attention to who is publishing what so you can better target specific publishers that seem a good fit for your own work, or whose books you especially admire. We also have resources in our Reference Collection on writing for children and teens, and on publishing.
The CCBC cannot help you market or promote your book. If we have a copy of it, we will make every effort to add it to our Current Collection, so it is available to those using our library, and if you are a Wisconsin book creator, we will add it to our identification record of books by Wisconsin authors and illustrators. Back to list.