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Children’s literature review center at HPU assists local libraries

Lit Review Center for webBROWNWOOD – August 20, 2015 – The Heart of Texas Children’s Literature Review Center, housed inside Howard Payne University’s Walker Memorial Library, has proven to be a valuable resource for many area school and public libraries.

The center makes newly published children’s and young-adult’s books available to participating libraries through a review process.

“Publishers send us review copies of their books for free,” said Carrie Harding, the center’s director. “In return, we try to get as many of these books reviewed as possible. We have teachers, librarians and even some community members writing reviews for us.”

Most of the reviews come from the center’s sponsors who pay a yearly membership contribution to participate. At the end of the school year, the books the center receives are distributed to the sponsors based on the dollar amount of their contribution.

Maurice Fortin, executive director of library services for Angelo State University’s Porter Henderson Library, said he enjoys participating in the review center.

“Our membership gives the ASU library, for a very small investment, the ability to acquire a substantial number of high quality juvenile and young-adult books for our ‘Juvenile Literature Collection’ that supports teacher education preparation,” he said.

Harding said some school districts have experienced library budget cuts in recent years.

“A few years, I’ve received all of the book-purchase money from some libraries,” she said. “Their budgets get cut and they don’t have very much to spend, but they know they can get good quality, new material from the review center. They get a good value, too.”

Ginny Hoskins has served on the Board of Directors of the Cross Plains Public Library, in various capacities, since 1999. For the 2014-2015 year, the library received 75 books valued at almost quadruple the organization’s sponsorship contribution.

“I can’t think of a better value for our limited collection budget other than the outright grants we receive,” she said. “Two of our librarians have commented they would cut elsewhere before cutting our contribution to the review center.”

Alexia Riggs, dean of libraries and associate professor of library science at HPU, said the university is proud to have the literature review center as part of the library.

“This a service that promotes the mission and purpose of our library throughout the central Texas region,” she said.

The reviews generated by the center are published in a quarterly journal called The Lorgnette which is sent to sponsors and publishers. The Lorgnette is also published in the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database, a national subscription service used by librarians across the country.

“They use the database when selecting new materials,” Harding said. “So our reviews actually get read nationwide.”

Harding, who has worked at the center for 15 years, said she enjoys seeing what is published each year.

“I love to see the trends,” she said. “Some years we have a lot of fiction and very little nonfiction. Other years it’s just the opposite. It’s fun to see what’s out there and what’s good in children’s literature.”

For more information about the Heart of Texas Children’s Literature Review Center, visit and click on “Review Center” or e-mail Harding at


Photo cutline: Sponsors of the Heart of Texas Children’s Literature Review Center at HPU chose books for their libraries following the 2014-2015 school year. The center’s shelves were almost emptied during the process but have already been refilled with books for the new academic year.