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Category: Collection Development

Documentaries for Teens: LGBTQIA+ Issues

Documentaries are sometimes overlooked forms of media for both education and for entertainment. They cover all types of subject matter and can tell intimate, moving stories. This series focuses on documentaries that may appeal to teens, and each installment will focus on a particular theme. To honor LGBTQ history month, this installment spotlights documentaries that portray the LGBTQIA+ experience of today’s teens or historical queer communities.

I’m Just Anneke

This short documentary is the story of a gender-nonconforming teen and their supportive family. Libraries can purchase it through New Day films. Educators can also find a discussion guide.

Do I Sound Gay? 

This thought-provoking documentary explores the idea of a “gay voice” in popular culture, with commentary from George Takeii, Margaret Cho, David Sedaris, and more. It will be available on DVD (and Netflix) in November.

Throwback Thursday, Book Cover Edition: Everything Old Is New Again

It’s a truism of reading that books are judged by their covers, no matter how much we feel in our hearts that we shouldn’t be swayed by looks. In my experience, teen readers feel especially passionate about this. Shabby book? No way. Juvenile or dated-looking cover? Pass! So I pay extra attention when older books are issued with fresh new covers. In the visual world of teen marketing, it can mean a new lease on life for many older books, and discovery by a whole new generation. Here are just a few examples:

face on the milk carton pair
1990 design vs. 2012 design

 

forever pair
1975 design vs. 2014 design

Scary Stories to Set the Mood for Halloween

If you are like me, you’ve been ready for Halloween since August 1st. Not everyone is so Halloween-happy. Maybe you haven’t bought out the grocery store’s stock of canned pumpkin or purchased a new shade of orange nail polish, but, like it or not, October is upon us, which means you may have teens swarming your stacks in search of something to creep them out and give them nightmares. In my experience I get more requests for “scary stories” than horror novels.  With that in mind I’m going to highlight some collections of short stories sure to meet various spine-chilling needs as well as give some horror specific readers’ advisory tips.scary stories for halloween

Remember-

  • “Scary” is subjective. Every reader is going to be comfortable with different levels of the supernatural, violence, gore, etc. A good way to assess what type of horror a reader wants is to ask them what their favorite scary book is. If they are not an avid reader you may need to ask about their favorite scary movie or scary television show. You are probably going to want to recommend a different book to a fan of The Sixth Sense than you would to a fan of Saw.

 

  • If you are not a horror reader yourself or get scared easily, it’s OK for you to tell teens this. Particularly with younger teens this may help them to be more open about how scary they want their stories to be. If you aren’t a horror reader, however, you will want to familiarize yourself with the popular horror titles in your collection. If you can pick the brain of a fellow staff member or teen volunteer who reads a lot of horror, this is a great start.

It’s Not Just About Banned Books: Self-Censorship and Library Collections

It’s Banned Books Week! That time of year when we are all encouraged to discuss the importance of intellectual freedom and the problem with banning books. 2015 is not without its share of book challenges and bans making it into the news. For a few examples check out these articles on Ted Dawe’s Into the River, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, or Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime.Banned Books Week 2015

While news articles like these are a great place to start talking about book banning, there’s another kind of censorship I want to encourage us all to think about – self censorship. A simple search will pull up a number of interesting studies and articles on the subject, especially Debra Lau Whelen’s 2009 survey for School Library Journal and the accompanying article “A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship.”

Podcasts to Help You Build Your Teen Collection

Are you a library staff member responsible for purchasing teen materials for your collection?  If so, I encourage you to include listening to podcasts about teen literature and other teen media as part of your research into what to buy.  In addition to tools such as collection analysis, surveys of your teen user population and media reviews, podcasts produced by those who have a passion for teen materials are a truly valuable resource.  Podcasts also have the advantage of fitting easily into a busy schedule — you can listen while you eat lunch, walk or do things around the house…or just eat again…dessert?

In my research for this post, I sampled several podcasts dedicated to teen literature.  Finding teen literature-focused podcasts was the main object of my search, although a couple of the podcasts which I will recommend do include discussion of other media.  My main criteria for selecting a podcast to recommend were that it be currently active, largely focused on teen literature/media and hosted by someone with a background in teen literature/media (and ideally some experience working in teen library services or teaching).

podcasts for fans of YA lit and graphic novels | YALSA's The Hub
CC image via Flickr User Patrick Breitenbach

The following is just a sampling of all the great teen literature podcasts out there—a place to start your listening.  If you find that you enjoy a particular podcast, do provide feedback to its hosts to encourage them to continue their work!  I also hope that you will add your own favorite teen literature or other media podcasts in the comments area of this post.

For each of the podcasts below, I have included a link to its accompanying Web site or blog.  On each site or blog you will find links to podcast episodes as well as an indication regarding recommended listening apps to use.