chantay, thanks for being the first to mention the FREE library books puck could get. I am usually the first to mention that to anyone looking for GOOD info. the problem is that some of the best books on the subjects needed are OLD! at least to you young'ns. some of the stuff getting published today is ok if you already know your way around the mistakes that are in them, newbies don't.
puck, look for some of the older, textbook type editions of John Kenny, Glenn C. Nelson and others. yes, there are tiny mentions of things like lead glazes but surely you are smart enough to learn around that. the skinny books of today that talk only about one shape or style are good for experienced folks but once you have read a LOT of the thicker ones and found a clay that makes you happy, they will make more sense.
yes, utube has some good instruction. it depends on who is doing the work. (one I saw that was done by someone who had taken one lesson and was willing to share her enormous amount of knowledge was laughable.) the trouble is that until you can recognize the good ones, you might just follow instructions over the edge of a cliff. as you watch, ask yourself questions so you know why someone is doing what you see. following blindly is dangerous. experiment carefully and welcome to the wonderfully addicting world of those of us who LOVE clay.