Compiled by Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Kay Bishop, Frances F. Jacobson, Christine Jenkins, Melanie Kimball, Kathy Latrobe, Monique le Conge, and Mary Jane Tacchi (The YALSA Research Committee)
As the visibility of services to young adults in libraries increases, it is critical that librarians who work with youth keep abreast of the latest research in the field of young adult services. The following bibliography is a selected list of research articles dealing with issues related to young adult library services. Weight was given to research that had direct implications for young adult services. The recency (from 1995-1999) and accessibility of the publications was also considered. The articles are listed under seven subject headings: 1) ethnic, gender and cultural issues, 2) information seeking, 3) intellectual freedom, 4) the Internet and other electronic resources, 5) teenagers and reading, 6) use of public and school library services, and 7) studies of young adult literature.
Ethnic, Gender and Cultural Issues
Benedikt, Anna R. 1999. A question of diversity: An analysis of the Young Adult Library Service Association’s Best Books for Young Adults, 1994-1998. Master’s thesis, Kent State University.
This study examined the Young Adult Library Service Association’s Best Books for Young Adults recommended lists for the years 1994-1998 to determine if the list provides diversity in terms of the content of the books and the gender and ethnicity of the authors and editors whose works appear on it. The results of the study concluded that, although the list showed diversity from different viewpoints, it did have some shortcomings. The works of minority authors, although represented on the list, appeared in numbers less than one would expect based upon their presence in the U.S. population overall. The same held true for the number of minority protagonists appearing in fictional works.
Boza, Linda A. 1998. Cultural and adolescent issues of multicultural adolescent literature. Ed.D. diss., University of Central Florida.
This study examined 24 multicultural adolescent novels from the African-American, Asian American, and Hispanic cultures to identify common themes in two areas: adolescent development (sexual relationships, peer relationships, parent–adolescent relationships, self identification) and cultural identity (racism or discrimination, the struggle of living between two cultures, acceptance, stereotypical beliefs). Adolescent issues were more predominant than cultural issues. African-American novels tended to focus on acceptance issues while Asian American and Hispanic novels emphasized the struggle of living between two cultures. Stereotypical beliefs did not emerge as a significant issue in any of the novels.
Cockett, Lynn S. and Sarah Kneizer. 1998. Teenage pregnancy as moral panic: Reflections on the marginalization of girls’ feelings. Knowledge Quest 26: 50-54.
The authors suggest that library media centers and public libraries are among the main institutions responsible for providing information on teenage pregnancy. They argue that the treatment of teen pregnancy as an "epidemic" by the United States government and the media, and the representation of pregnant girls in young adult fiction contribute to gender inequity in this matter.
Crew, Hillary S. 1997. Feminist scholarship and theories of adolescent development: implications for young adult services in libraries. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 10: 405-17.
This study addresses how feminist theories are making a difference in the way people understand the psychological, moral, and cognitive development of adolescents. The author reviews feminist research relevant to youth librarians and the development of young adult library services and describes differences and similarities between traditional and feminist approaches to adolescent psychology.
Edwards, Susan and B. Poston-Anderson. 1996. Information, future time perspectives, and young adolescent girls: Concerns about education and jobs. Library and Information Science Research 18: 207-23.
This study examines how young adolescent girls in Australia seek information when they feel concerned or anxious about future jobs and future education. Topics include the girls’ doubts about personal competency and job opportunity; adults who may think they are too young for such concern; and implications of these attitudes for information services.
Fisher, Debra. 1995. Young, gay…and ignored? Orana 31: 220-233.
This study examines the failure of libraries to meet the information needs of gay and lesbian adolescents. After reviewing the research in homosexuality and the development of homosexual identities, the author discusses library services for gays and lesbians and the experience of gays and lesbians in secondary schools.
Jenkins, Christine. 1998. From queer to gay and back again: Young adult novels with gay/lesbian/queer content, 1969-1997. Library Quarterly 68: 298-334.
Approximately one hundred young adult novels with gay/lesbian/queer content have been published since 1969. Building on earlier content analysis research, the researcher provides three theoretical approaches to understand the evolution of this subgenre. She highlights themes and patterns in the novels which suggest that progress has been made and has yet to be made in the realistic portrayal of gay/lesbian/queer lives in young adult fiction.
Liu, Li. 1998. Images of Chinese people, Chinese–Americans, and Chinese culture in children’s and adolescents’ fiction (1980-1997). Ed.D. diss., University of Massachusetts.
Using content analysis, this study analyzes the images of Chinese, Chinese-Americans, and Chinese culture in fiction written and published for children and young adults between 1980 to 1997. Results indicate that Chinese and Chinese-Americans were portrayed both realistically and stereotypically, and that representations of Chinese culture were inaccurate and unauthentic. Liu also found that most, although not all, of the inaccurate portrayals were made by non-Chinese-American authors and illustrators. The study should be helpful to authors, illustrators, curriculum developers, teachers, librarians, and scholars of children’s literature in promoting the development of intercultural understanding.
Macleod, Phyllis A. 1996. Boxing in our youth: Lesbian adolescents speak out about their secondary school experiences. Master’s thesis, University of Victoria.
The researcher interviewed four lesbian adolescents (ages 18-20) about their experiences in secondary school. She concludes that the young women’s schools were neither safe nor supportive and describes environments of hostility and ridicule. She makes specific note that the school libraries did not have books with lesbian content, and argues that silence around lesbian issues can perpetuate a hostile environment for lesbian students. She makes suggestions for how educators, including school librarians, can establish a more supportive environment.
McComas, Jill P. 1997. A content analysis of three contemporary magazines for adolescent females. Master’s thesis, Central Missouri State University.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the content of three popular magazines published for female adolescents, and often found in school libraries, in order to identify implicit and explicit messages that influence self-identity and socialization. The researcher conducted a content analysis of two-years of Seventeen, Teen, and YM. She found fewer fashion and beauty articles than expected. Instead, feature article topics emphasized interpersonal relationships. The advertising space was extensive in all three magazines with beauty products outranking other categories of advertisements. White females dominated the photographic content of all three magazines.
McKinney, Caroline S. 1995. Transforming the borrowed words: The quality of strength in female protagonists in young adult literature, 1967-1993. Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado at Boulder.
The purpose of this study was to look at the trait “strength” in female characters in popular young adult realistic fiction from 1967 to 1980 and 1981 to 1993. Using titles from the Best Books for Young Adults list compiled annually by the American Library Association, twenty passages from each novel were coded to cull data about the coming of age process for female characters in an effort to understand how those characters developed inner voice and concepts about self. The researcher found that the majority of the female characters in the books from both time periods were able to form strong relationships with others without the losing their sense of self. Although roles differed in the two time periods, all the characters found their identity in relationship to others and demonstrated strength by maintaining their connections with others while forming their own personal identity.
Pitot, Mary M. 1996. Invisible and ignored or out and pushed out: Participatory research with gay and lesbian youth. Ed.D. diss., University of San Francisco.
The purpose of this study was to provide an analysis of the experiences of gay and lesbian teenagers in the school environment. Drawing on the tradition of critical pedagogy, the researcher used an interactive process of dialogic retrospection (Maguire’s five phase participatory research design, Freire’s dialogical theory of action, and Kieffer’s model of dialogic retrospection) with five gay and lesbian youth. She found that schools are not meeting the emotional or informational needs of gay and lesbian students. The students cited a lack of information about homosexuality in the curriculum, in classroom discussions and in the school library. Social networks, support, and adult role models were also lacking, resulting in an environment of isolation for the students. In spite of these obstacles, the researcher found that the adolescents could often find the strength to experience academic, social, and personal success.
Rampoldi Hnilo, Lynn A. 1996. The effects of romance in young adult fiction on pre-adolescent African American females. M.A. thesis, Michigan State University.
The researcher used Bandura’s Social Learning Theory to analyze themes in modern young adult romance novels and to determine their effect on young African-American women. She found that romance themes transcend cultural boundaries. The young women’s’ perceptions of reality were mediators for themes in the novels that contradicted basic social norms. Themes that conformed to basic social norms were usually predicted by romance reading, and perceived reality had no impact. The researcher argues for the use of social learning theory as a predictor of attitudes and beliefs as various types of content influence them.
Spence, Alex. 1999. Gay young adult fiction in the public library: A comparative study. Public Libraries 38: 224-9+.
The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent nineteen large urban American and Canadian libraries provide access to young adult fiction with gay content. A list of ninety-nine titles was checked against each library’s catalog. The results of this survey suggest a considerable dissimilarity across the library systems surveyed in provision of gay fiction for the young adult customer. Many libraries have developed substantial collections, while others have not. The researcher concludes that the public library is one of the significant forces in a community and must provide resources for gay and lesbian youth. He argues that the collection developer and other front-line professionals carry a great responsibility in this area.
Tatum, Beverly D., and Phyllis C. Brown. 1998. Breaking the silence. Knowledge Quest 27:12-16.
The authors describe a two-year demonstration project funded by the Carnegie Corporation in which racism was discussed with middle school teachers, students, and parents to improve inter-ethnic relations in a small northeastern school district. Intervention consisted of three components: 1) A semester-long professional development course for teachers to examine their sense of ethnic identity and their attitudes toward other groups, as well as to develop effective anti-racist curricula and educational practices that affirm student identities; 2) Volunteer participation by middle school students in a Cultural Identity Group (CIG) program which consisted of 16 weekly small-group discussions about race and exploring one’s own sense of race and ethnicity; and 3) A series of parent meetings designed to provide information about adolescent identity development, encourage positive interactions among parents, and identify parents and community resources to help with the CIG project. At the time this article was published, year one of the two-year project had been completed with positive results reported in both quantitative and qualitative measurements for the first two components. Parent attendance in the workshop varied widely so similar data was not available for the third component.
Uddin-Kahn, Evelyne A. 1995. Gender, ethnicity and the romance novel. Ed.D. diss., Columbia University Teachers College.
Using reader response theory, the researcher studied why urban female adolescents select and read romance novels. Included in the sample were 170 immigrant girls (Indian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Liberian) and native-born non-white girls (African America, Hispanic American). In addition to the adolescents, the researcher also interviewed teachers and librarians. The study indicates that immigrant and American urban female adolescents select romance novels because they are searching for information on how to cope with family situations, social needs, and academic skills; how to survive the multiple roles of being female; how to assimilate in the United States; and how to deal with teenage pregnancy, dating, social relationships and sexually transmitted diseases. The girls also read romance novels because they made learning standard English easier. The researcher concludes that although romance novels perpetuate stereotyping and social divisions, they are sources of learning. If reading romance novels is only a phase for adolescent girls, then it is not harmful, but if the models of behavior perpetuated in these novels are internalized, they can be detrimental.
Yenika-Agbaw, Vivian S., 1996. Post colonialism and multicultural literacy: Images of Africa in literature for children and young adults. Ph.D. diss., Pennsylvania State University.
Literature is being used as a means of introducing cultural diversity in many schools. This study examined images of Africa and Africans prevalent in juvenile literature, using a textual analysis methodology. Findings indicate that Africa is portrayed as natural and romantic. The researcher argues that this portrayal perpetuates neocolonial attitudes in which Africans are seen as being inferior and dependent upon their perceived western benefactors.
Bishop, Kay. 1999. Authentic learning and the research processes of gifted students. In Unleash the Power! Knowledge-Technology-Diversity: Papers Presented at the Third International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Annual Conference of the International Association for School Librarianship (28 th, Birmingham, AL, November 10-14, 1999.): 51-59.
This study examined the research processes of ten junior high gifted students who participated in independent research projects. Research stages dealing with exploring and forming a focus presented the most difficulty for the students. The three students who were able to establish a clear focus were the only ones who demonstrated all aspects of authentic learning. Books and videocassettes were the primary sources used by students. The researcher points out the absence of collaboration between the teacher, the school librarian, and the public librarian.
Burdick, Tracey. 1997. Snakes, snails and puppy dog tails: Girls and boys expressing voice in information research projects. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 11:28-36.
The expression of voice in information projects is the subject of Burdick's study which attempted to determine if males and females differ in the way they experience information searches. High school students (47 females and 56 males) in four English classes in a university laboratory school were the subjects of the study. Burdick used Kuhlthau's Information Search Process model as the framework for the study. She found approximately one half of the students were able to formulate a clear focus in their research. No gender differences were found in the ability to formulate a focus, however, the girls were less comfortable in describing ownership of their perspectives and verbalizing a focus. Burdick ends the article by making several suggestions relating to what educators can do in regard to this subject. One such suggestion was to encourage girls to "own" their topics and to take intellectual risks.
Danley, Elizabeth B. 1998. The use of scaffolding agents in homeschool learning environments of early adolescents: A case study conducted in Tallahassee, Florida. Ph.D. diss., Florida State University.
The researcher studied how families determine the need for and provide various types of support, or “scaffolding,” for homeschooled students seeking information. Her results show that these families use scaffolding in both teaching and learning, that parents see themselves as active learners, and that the style of instruction blurs in the lines between teaching and learning. The relationship between parent and child is characterized by mutual respect and parents believe that the outcome of their scaffolding will result in independent learners. She argues that the findings can inform the ways librarians refine their methods for helping students become information seekers.
Gordon, Carol A. 1996. Is fish a VEGETABLE? A qualitative study of a ninth-grade research project. School Library Media Quarterly 25: 27-33.
Gordon used qualitative research methodology to study 15 ninth grade students as they worked through a research assignment to write a paper showing how math is used in the real world. The researcher applied Ausbel’s theory of two types of learning (reception and discovery) to classroom learning (receptive) and library research (discovery). Gordon found there was a learning gap when students tried to shift from classroom learning to research in the media center, noting that students in her study came to the research assignment with little preparation for the style of learning (discovery) they would encounter in the media center.
Gross, Melissa. 1997. Pilot study on the prevalence of imposed queries in a school library media center. School Library Media Quarterly 25: 157-16.
This study represents a first attempt to document and quantify the existence of an imposed self-generated query in a library media center; to record user characteristics and to identify the imposers; to set a baseline for comparison in future studies; and to initiate descriptive study of the form of information-seeking behavior. Three hundred and sixty-nine transactions (142 male, 227 female; age range 4-12) were documented in a lab school library at UCLA. 34% of these transactions were imposed queries. No significant relationships were found between question type and gender. The upper level group had the largest percentage of imposed transactions. The early childhood group had the lowest. Eighty-seven percent of the imposed transactions recorded were attributed to teacher assignments or classroom obligations. Eight transactions reflected parents’ imposed reading on their children; eight were an adult acting on behalf of a child, namely parents.
Julien, Heidi E. 1997. How does information help? The search for career-related information by adolescents. Ph.D. diss., University of Western Ontario.
This study used Dervin’s sense-making theory, Kuhlthau’s information seeking process theory, and Harren’s decision-making theory to examine adolescents’ use of information in career decision-making. The researcher studied what information sources the students used, how the sources helped, and what barriers to information access existed. Findings suggest that the informal and familiar sources of information were most valued, especially when there was a relationship of trust with the information provider. The public library was rated poorly as a source of help and "information scatter” was identified as a barrier.
Latrobe, Kathy and W. Michael Havener. 1997. Information-seeking behavior of school honors students: An exploratory study. Journal of Youth Services 10, 188-200.
Intended to explore information-seeking behavior in both academic and personal contexts, subjects were 18 students in an eleventh-grade math class (65% male, 35% female). In spring 1994, a print survey and structured interviews were used to gather data—the later focused on the immediately prior month. The six categories of information, their rank order of importance and the percentage of students seeking such information were: course-related (ranked 1), general information (ranked 2) future plans (ranked 3), relationships (ranked 4), current lifestyles (ranked 5), and health (ranked 6). The more resources students consulted, the higher they ranked the information needed. During interviews, students indicated that they were usually persistent, but there were times when they made the decision not to seek information because of low priority, time constraints or procrastination and denial. Sources consulted included: (1) peers, teachers and classroom instruction (100%); (2) personal experience, parents, books, magazines, libraries, newspapers, and television (94%); (3) other relatives, individuals outside specified groups, and the radio (83%); (4) clubs/social groups and physicians (78%); (5) electronic sources, librarians, and neighbors (56%); (6) businesses (44%); and (7) community/governmental organizations (28%).
Neuman, Delia. 1997. Learning and the digital library. Library Trends 4: 687-707.
Neuman reviews research from the information studies and instructional technology fields, arguing that research must draw from both groups in order to “achieve the maximum learning benefits afforded by the digital library.” (p.687) She argues that the relationship between the two fields provides an overarching framework that encompasses the integrated concept of “information literacy.”
Pitts, Judy M. 1995. Mental models of information: The 1993-94 AASL/Highsmith Research Award study. Edited by Joy H. McGregor and Barbara K. Stripling. School Library Media Quarterly 23:177-84.
The purpose of this study was to find out how students solve information problems. Pitts structured the research as a qualitative case study in which the researcher spent approximately nine weeks with 26 eleventh and twelfth grade science students who had been assigned to work in groups to produce videos on topics in marine biology. One of the major findings from the study is that students depend on prior learning to help solve their research problems. Another is that the learning experience is composed of a variety of intertwined learning strands which influence one another.
Tastad, Shirley A., and Norma D. Collins. 1997. Teaching the information skills process and the writing process: Bridging the gap. School Library Media Quarterly 25: 167-68.
Research conducted in a middle school writing center in Manhasset, New York suggests that the efforts of the middle school teachers to use the writing center were not successful because a constructivist philosophy did not support the teaching of the writing process in the center. The researchers believe that the constructivist philosophy is crucial to teach the process of writing, just as it is to teach the process of information seeking, using Kuhlthau’s model.
Hopkins, Dianne M.(1995). Challenge to library materials from principals in United States secondary schools: A victory of sorts. School Libraries Worldwide 1: 8-29
Hopkins’ study of secondary school book challenges in the early 1990s indicated that the school principal played a significant role in determining the outcome of the challenge because librarians are less likely to persist in defending materials that are challenged by the school principal. This interdisciplinary article puts Hopkins’ LIS research in the context of research literature of in educational administration.
Jenkins, Christine. 1995. The strength of the inconspicuous: Youth services librarians, the American Library Association, and intellectual freedom for the young, 1939-1955. Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison,
This dissertation is a historical study of the librarians who were leaders of the children’s, young adult, and school library divisions of the American Library Association. The researcher focused on the period between 1939 and 1955, during which the profession shifted from a perspective of child protection to one of child advocacy, culminating in the 1955 adoption of the School Library Bill of Rights. She argues that this group of predominately white, middle-class women used the rhetoric and strategies of the female-intensive child welfare professions to effectively deal with censorship challenges during the McCarthy era.
The Internet and Other Electronic Media
Bar-Ilan, Judit and Betty Assouline. A content analysis of PUBYAC—a preliminary study of an electronic discussion list for children and young adult services in public libraries. Information Technology and Libraries 16: 165-74.
This study presents a content analysis of PUBYAC, an electronic discussion list for children and young adult services librarians. The researchers provide information on the different themes and topics that appear in the list, the lifespan and liveliness of specific discussions, percentage of active participants, and distribution of messages by participant.
Caskey, Micki Morgan. 1997. Effects of intergenerational training on student and parent attitudes toward using the Internet. Ph.D. diss., University of South Florida.
This study examines an intergenerational training approach as a means of bridging the gap between student and parent attitudes toward the Internet. Because parents tend to be less familiar with the Internet, they are not as likely to support its use in schools. Their children, on the other hand, tend to be more knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Fifty-four pairs of students and their parents were randomly assigned to two different training environments, a mixed-generation setting and a separated setting. Results (obtained through observation, pretest and posttest surveys, and interviews) showed that parent attitudes were more positive in the intergenerational setting while student attitudes were more positive in the separate training environment. The author cautions that the data is preliminary and that further study is needed.
Green, A.M. and Higgins, M. 1997. Making out with new media: Young people and new information and communication technology. In Proceedings of the 2 nd British-Nordic Conference on Library and Information Studies, Edinburgh, 1997: 129-14.
The students of one Edinburgh secondary school were surveyed regarding their home use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as part of Queen Margaret College’s Household Information Systems (HIS) project. Although information technology industry spokes people envision a future of technological convergence, this study found that households preferred that television and computer equipment be used separately for entertainment and for work/study, respectively. ICTs were often seen as the province of young people within the family and their ICT familiarity/expertise was used – and deferred to – by adults, which resulted in the teen mentorship of parents and other familial adults.
Pivec, Franci. 1998. Surfing through the Internet: The new content of teenagers’ spare time. Aslib Proceedings 50: 88-92
What impact has Internet access had on the daily lives of teenagers? In this study free Internet access was provided to Slovenian teens visiting the Institute of Information Science, Maribor, Slovenia. Data and results of the observational study are presented and compared to results of similar research in other countries.
Watson, Jinx Stapleton. 1998. If you don't have it, you can't find at: A close look at students' perceptions of using technology.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 49: 1024-1036.
This study looks closely at a sample of eighth-grade students' perceptions about their experiences with technology, especially the use of the World Wide Web. Employing a phenomenological methodology of both examining a single student story and analyzing a collection of student voices, several themes and questions emerge. Students' personal attributes of self-confidence, resilience, and openness to learning about the new technologies, and their skills in reading the Web and managing information, may offer new questions for teachers and information professionals.
Teenagers and Reading
Alvermann, D.E.; J.P. Young; C. Green; and J.M. Wisenbaker. 1999. Adolescents’ perceptions and negotiations of literacy practice in after-school read and talk clubs. American Educational Research Journal 36: 221-64.
This study looked at how adolescents’ perceptions and negotiations of after school talk about a variety of texts in a public library setting were shaped (and helped to shape) the larger institutional and social contexts that regularly influence young people’s actions and interactions with peers and adults. Twenty adolescents and two adults met for 15 weeks as members of four after-school Read & Talk Clubs. The researchers found that the adolescents viewed the Read & Talk Clubs as social outlets and stages on which to try out new subject positions.
Drayton, C. 1996. Culture shock: Encouraging teenagers to read. Library Association Record 98: 312-314
This study is an evaluation of the long-term effects of “Culture Shock,” a reading promotion program aimed at 12-14 year-old teens that was implemented in 60 UK schools during the 1991-92 school year. When the program ended in 1992, a survey of teachers found that most believed the program had indeed encouraged more teen recreational reading. In 1995, a follow-up survey questionnaire given to the same teachers and pupils, plus three in-depth case studies, gave evidence of continued impact of the program as measured by implementation of new reading programs, improved pedagogy, and curriculum innovation.
Goncalo, Virginia M., 1997. “I love to read!”: Self-selection as the driving force of a reading program for middle school students. Ed.D. diss., University of Massachusetts.
This research focuses on the process young adults take in selecting their own books to read. The seventh and eighth graders in the sample participated in one fifty-minute class each week in which they chose books, read and responded to the books, gave book and author talks, read aloud, discussed book preferences and dislikes, and presented literary projects. Data consisted of records kept by students and the researcher and journals kept by the teachers and the media specialist. More than half the students preferred selecting their own books rather than having titles assigned by a teacher. However, an integral part of the self-selection program was the student/teacher interaction around books, through response journals or conversations about literature.
Use of School and Public Library Services
Burks, Freda. 1997. Faculty use of school library media centers in selected high schools in Greater Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. School Library Media Quarterly 25:143-49.
This study was the second part of a descriptive survey to analyze student and faculty use of high school media centers. The article concentrated on faculty use of the media center in three public high schools in the Dallas-Forth Worth metropolitan area in 1991. One-hundred eighty-six faculty members from three high schools completed questionnaires which included questions on the teachers personal study and reading habits, difficulties encountered in the use of media centers, perceptions of school media specialists, frequency of bringing classes to the media center, and the use of resources in the media center. Several conclusions based on the survey are discussed, and the findings are compared to a survey of the use of school media centers conducted by Ducat in 1960. Both this study and the Ducat study emphasized the importance that teachers play in influencing high school students to use the media center facilities and resources.
Burks, Freda. 1996. Student use of school library media centers in selected high schools in Greater Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. School Library Media Quarterly 24:143-49.
This article is part one of a descriptive survey used to determine student and faculty use of school media centers. In the study, 3,514 students from three high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area were surveyed using several instruments to compile a profile of the reading, viewing , and listening habits of students and the use of the school media facilities and resources. Findings revealed that a small percentage of the students used the media centers on a regular basis. The most important influence on the use of media centers was assignments made by teachers. Conclusions in the study were compared to a 1960 study conducted by Ducat on the use of school library media centers in three parochial schools.
Cart, Michael. 1998. Young adult library service redux? Some preliminary findings. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 11:391-95.
By visiting libraries throughout the United States and talking to fellow professionals at conferences, Michael Cart, YALSA president, got the impression that YA services in public libraries were on the upswing. To validate his impression, Cart developed a brief survey (six questions and one open-ended question asking for other comments) which was mailed to 50 of the largest American public libraries in December 1997. Forty of the 50 libraries returned the survey. While 65% of the libraries surveyed reported a formal offering of young adult service by a district organizational unit, only 30% reported employing a young adult services coordinator. Half the respondents defined young adults by ages 12-18, while the remaining libraries offered a diversity of age ranges, from 11-19 years. Cart found the overall pattern of YA service in urban libraries to be promising, with the data seeming to indicate that new YA programs of service were being started or were in the planning phase.
Chelton, Mary K. 1997. Adult-adolescent service encounters: The library context. Ph.D. diss., Rutgers University.
This study examines how adolescent senses of self and identity are realized in library theory and practice. Findings indicate that service is a multi-faceted concept in libraries and does not precisely match theory or standards of practice. Library staff act as facilitators and coaches more than “information retrievers.” However, interactions are also defined by power relationships, expectations of user competence, role expectations and negative attributions to adolescents’ personal appearance, the short length of many service encounters, and age-stigmatization. “Information needs” are defined by library staff as self-identified queries, and by adolescents as a need for respect. The results of this study are presented in the two journal articles listed below:
Chelton, Mary K. 1999. Behavior of librarians in school and public libraries with adolescents: Implications for practice and LIS education. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 40: 99-111.
Chelton, Mary K. 1999. Structural and theoretical constraints on reference service in a high school library media center. References & User Services Quarterly 38: 275-82.
Studies of Young Adult Literature
Cox, Ruth E. 1997. A comparative content analysis of the temporal sequences, points of view, and perspectives employed in the 1996 Best Books for Young Adults’ Novels and the 1996 Young Adults’ Choices’ Novels. Ph.D. diss., Texas Woman’s University.
This researcher conducted a content analysis of the books on two standard lists, the Best Books for Young Adults (BBYS), which contains titles selected by librarians who are members of a committee of Young Adult Library Services Association, and the young Adults’ Choices novels, a list sponsored by the International Reading Association and containing titles selected by young adults. She found that the BBYA novels had significantly more temporal sequence shifts (shifts in time in the narrative and/or dialogue) than did the YA Choices novels. First person point of view predominated on both lists.
Crew, Hilary S. 1996. A narrative analysis of the daughter mother relationship in selected young adult novels. Ph.D. diss., Rutgers University.
The author conducted a narrative analysis of seventy-five young adult novels published primarily between 1965 and 1991 to determine how the mother-daughter relationship was represented. She concludes that Freudian based perspectives still influence the portrayal of this relationship, although there is a limited move toward more heterogeneous representations as well. The researcher argues that the Freudian viewpoint, which focuses on issues of independence and separation, has implications for professional library and educational practices that involve young adult literature.
Fitzgibbons, Shirley A. and Carol L. Tilley. 1999. Images of poverty in contemporary realistic fiction for youth: Preliminary results of a content analysis using a social psychological conceptual framework. In Unleash the Power! Knowledge-Technology-Diversity: Papers Presented at the Third International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Annual Conference of the International Association for School Librarianship (28 th, Birmingham, AL, November 10-14, 1999.): 95-108.
This preliminary study of 20 contemporary realistic fiction books for youth, in middle school and above, analyzed image of poverty using a framework adapted from the work of Robert Leahy. Results indicate that, as a whole, the sample of books rely on concrete images of poverty yet do not adequately represent current demographics for people living in poverty in the United States. Suggestions are made for teachers, school librarians, and media specialists to use these books with students.
Gross, Melissa. 1998. What do young adult novels say about HIV/AIDS? Library Quarterly 68: 1-32.
Using a content analysis approach, the researcher studied messages about HIV/AIDS contained in young adult novels. The researcher found that while there has been an increase in the number of young adult titles that include a character with HIV/AIDS, the total number of titles is still small. More alarmingly, however, is that fact that the novels studied generally do not offer much in terms of providing role models or in modeling behavior for young adults about how high-risk situations happen and how to handle them. As the number of young adults with HIV/AIDS increases, librarians need to be aware of the shortcomings of young adult literature and search for other ways to provide young adults with information about HIV/AIDS.
The 2000-2001 YALSA Research Committee would like to thank former members of the YALSA Research Committee for their contributions to the bibliography.