Tess Prendergast

I am a lecturer at the iSchool where I teach courses in the area of librarianship and children’s literature. Prior to coming to the iSchool, I worked as a children’s librarian in a large urban public library for over two decades. My doctoral research was a qualitative multiple-case study that explored the inclusion of children with disabilities in early learning opportunities in their homes and communities.

I am active in the ALA Association for Library Services to Children and the BCLA Young Adult and Children’s Services division and, through these organizations, I frequently write articles, present conference programs, and collaborate on various projects aimed at strengthening children’s library services in diverse communities.

My research explores the role of children’s librarians in the lives of children and families. I am also interested in picture books that portray the following: children with disabilities, contemporary Indigenous children’s lives, children’s refugee & immigrant experiences, and children’s social and emotional learning.

  • librarianship and children’s literature
  • children’s library services in diverse communities
  • the role of children’s librarians in the lives of children and families
  • portrayal of children with disabilities in literature
  • portrayal of contemporary Indigenous children’s lives and children’s refugee & immigrant experiences in literature

Selected Publications

Campana, K., Mills, J.E., Haines, C., Prendergast, T., Martens, M. (2019). To tech or not to tech? The debate about technology, young children, and the library. Children and Libraries. 17(2).

Prendergast, T. (2016). Seeking early literacy for all: An investigation of children’s librarians and parents of young children with disabilities’ experiences at the public library. Library Trends, 65(1), 65-91.

Diamant-Cohen, B., & Prendergast, T. (2014). Investing in early childhood. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 12(4), 35-35.

Diamant-Cohen, B., Estrovitz, C., & Prendergast, T. (2013). Repeat after me! Repetition and early literacy development. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 11(2), 20-24.

Prendergast, T. (2013). Growing readers: A critical analysis of early literacy content for parents on Canadian public library websites. Journal of Library Administration, 53(4), 234-254.

Diamant-Cohen, B., Prendergast, T., Estrovitz, C., Banks, C., & van der Veen, K. (2012). We play here! Bringing the power of play into children’s libraries. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 10(1), 3-9.

Prendergast, T. (2012). Brick by brick: LEGO-inspired programs in the library. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 10(3), 20-23.

Prendergast, T. (2011). Beyond storytime: Children’s librarians collaborating in communities. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 9(1), 20-26.

Selected Conference Presentations

Klipper, B., Michalatos, S., Niemchak, E. Prendergast, T., & Taggart, J. (June 23, 2019) Not a kid anymore: How and why to serve adults with disabilities in the adult department. Program presented at American Library Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Prendergast, T. & Sharkey, K. (March 7, 2019) Theorizing early literacy in the public library. Paper presented at Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Literacies: An International Conference, Manchester, UK.

Diamant-Cohen, B., Estrovitz, C., Hamlin, P., McChesney, E., Franklin, N., Conner, M. & Prendergast, T. (June 25, 2018). Early literacy outreach to underserved and unserved families. Program presented at American Library Association Annual Conference, June 2018, New Orleans, LA.

Jones, K., Iannacone, J., Payne, R. & Prendergast, T. (June 25, 2017). Building bridges: Using research and partnerships to support early literacy in diverse communities. Program presented at American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago IL.

Prendergast, T. (April 29, 2017). A day in the life: Child activity logs as snapshots of early learning. Paper presented at the SPARK: The Early Years: Supporting Practice, Advocacy, Research, and Knowledge, UBC, Vancouver, BC.

Prendergast, T. (April 19, 2017). Inclusive children’s libraries. Keynote presented at the BCLA Youth Services Institute, April 2017, Vancouver, BC.

Prendergast, T. (January 29, 2016). “He can’t attend without me paying double.”: Barriers to access in informal early learning for children with disabilities. Paper presented at Early Years Sp’e’qum: Nurturing Developmental Wellbeing – Strengthening Children and Families, Vancouver BC.

Prendergast, T. (January 7, 2016). Children’s librarians in the lives of children with disabilities: A Bioecological Perspective. Poster presented at Association of Library and Information Studies Educators, Boston MA.

Prendergast, T. (February 1, 2014). The intersection of multimodality and early literacy: A case study of two young children with disabilities in their homes and child care settings. Paper presented at the Early Years 2014 Shaping Childhood: Factors that Matter, Vancouver, BC.

Finley, A., Prendergast, T., Robin, R. (May 21, 2015) American Sign Language / English Bilingual Family Storytime. Program presented at British Columbia Library Conference, Richmond, BC.

Prendergast, T. (May 13, 2014) Triumphant children: An exploration of Sendak’s theme of childhood resilience. Paper presented at I will be myself: Graduate Student Children’s Literature Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Current Courses

Winter 2021

LIBR520 Survey of Literature and Other Materials for Children Sections

Winter 2021

LIBR523 Canadian Literature and other Materials for Children Sections

Winter 2021

LIBR506 Human-Information Interaction Sections

Winter 2021

LIBR527 Services for Children Sections

Winter 2021

LIBR576 Public Libraries Sections