For immediate release | April 22, 2024

An updated guide to street lit and urban fiction

CHICAGO — Addressing with unflinching grit the concerns and problems of city living and survival in the United States, street lit encompasses some of the most in-demand titles in American public libraries’ collections. The thoroughly revised second edition of “The Readers' Advisory Guide to Street Literature,” published by ALA Editions, will help library workers, teachers, and other community-based educators encourage reading and library use by meeting patrons' reading interests and information needs. Vanessa Irvin’s coverage is fortified by professional narratives from her experiences as a public librarian in Philadelphia, an updated treatment of canonical and contemporary book titles, and scholarly references that reflect her research background in library and information science. Attuned to the needs of novices and devotees alike, this guide:

  • sketches out the rich history of the urban fiction, showing why it appeals so strongly to readers and providing a quick way for street lit novices to get up to speed on understanding the genre;
  • demonstrates why promoting street lit means promoting literacy;
  • explores how authors, readers, and librarians read and respond to the genre and one another;
  • covers a variety of subgenres in terms of scope, popularity, style, major authors, and works;
  • shares approaches to readers’ advisory (RA) founded on creating trust between the patron and the librarian; and
  • offers pointers on collection development and library programming.

Irvin is an Associate Professor of Library Science at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina. With a frontline librarian career spanning over four decades, Dr. Irvin teaches reference and information services, public libraries, and reading response theory for librarians. Vanessa's research focuses on integrating cultural heritage methodologies with librarians' work practices for professional learning and development.

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