Editor’s Message: Spring 2011

by Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Welcome to the third issue of the Journal for Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA), the online research journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practices to support young adult library services.

In this issue, we are pleased to publish two papers, both of which focus on the importance of knowing our communities and the interests and needs of the young adults we serve. Arguing that in today’s increasingly diverse society it is critical for libraries to collect titles featuring individuals from varied backgrounds, Casey H. Rawson examined the booklists on which many librarians rely for collection development guidance. Looking for a prevalence of diverse protagonists, her goal was to determine which booklists most closely align with actual demographic data for U.S. teens. Her definition of diversity is broad and goes beyond race and ethnicity to include gender, religion, family status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and disability. Her findings are surprising and serve to remind us of the need to engage in purposive collection development. As she points out, whether young adults use libraries may well depend on whether the resources they find there reflect the diversity they see in themselves and in their communities.

Pointing to research suggesting that male adolescent readers are often disengaged readers, Karen Gavigan makes the case that graphic novels can be used in schools and libraries as an effective literary medium for improving the reading motivation of struggling male adolescent readers. She provides an interesting look at the ways in which four struggling eighth-grade male readers responded to graphic novels and discusses implications for the use of graphic novels in schools and libraries.

We conclude this issue with abstracts of eleven posters that will be presented at the YALSA Research Committee Poster Session at this year’s annual ALA meeting in New Orleans. The posters cover a variety of topics, represent an array of research methodologies, and feature research that has been completed by faculty members, doctoral students, and librarians. We hope reading the abstracts will pique your curiosity and that you will attend the poster session to talk to these researchers about their work. Perhaps you too will become inspired to engage in a research project to explore a question related to young adults and library services.

JRLYA is currently accepting manuscripts for upcoming issues based on original qualitative or quantitative research, an innovative conceptual framework, or a substantial literature review that opens new areas of inquiry and investigation. Case studies and works of literary analysis are also welcome. The journal recognizes the contributions other disciplines make to expanding and enriching theory, research, and practice in young adult library services and encourages submissions from researchers, students, and practitioners in all fields. Please direct any manuscripts, questions, or comments to yalsaresearch@gmail.com.

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