YALSA Research Committee Poster Session

by Sandra Hughes-Hassell

The YALSA Research Committee is charged with stimulating, encouraging, guiding, and directing the research needs of young adult library services, as well as compiling abstracts and disseminating research findings. In response to this charge, the Committee is hosting a poster session at ALA’s Annual Conference, which will highlight current research focused on young adults and libraries. The poster session will be a full-length conference session and will allow LIS faculty, librarians, and students to share their research in a less formal setting. The session is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, 2011′ from 4—5:30 p.m. in room 356 of the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.’  Additional information about the conference is posted at www.tinyurl.com/yalsaac11.

Ten’ posters will be on display. The titles and abstracts for the posters, as well as the contact information for the presenters, are below. The Committee encourages you to attend the session and to talk with the researchers about their work.

Title: Growing Up with Harry Potter: What Motivated Youth To Read?

Colette Drouillard, PhD

Graduate School, Valdosta State University


Abstract: The overarching question of this descriptive and interpretive study was “What motivated youth to read the Harry Potter series?” Defining the focus and parameters of the study were three more specific sub-questions: Of the young readers who participated in this study, what are the general reading interests, habits, and attitudes towards reading? What factors did the young readers identify as initially attracting them to Harry Potter? What factors did the young readers identify as motivating them to continue to read Harry Potter?

A purposive sample of six hundred and seventy-one readers completed a web-based survey with results clarified or expanded via semi-structured interviews. The members of this unique-in-time group were born between 1984 and 1990 (eighteen to twenty-four years old at the time of the study), grew up in the United States, began reading the Harry Potter before 2000, and read each book as the series was published. The survey addressed the relationship of young readers who grew up with Harry Potter and the factors these readers identified as impacting their motivation to continue reading Rowling’s series during the ten years the books were published.

Title: LGBTQ Homeless Youth and Public Libraries

Julie Ann Winkelstein

School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee


Abstract: While public libraries have begun to focus on the particular needs of LGBTQ youth, little research and few resources relate specifically to those who are homeless. This qualitative study addresses this critical topic by bringing together the voices of homeless LGBTQ teens, public librarians, and professionals and volunteers who are actively engaged in the lives of these marginalized youth. This research aims to provide insight into the everyday experiences and needs of this population, as well as ways in which public libraries could and do contribute positively to their lives.

LIS Education: An Analysis of Graphic Novels and Comics Pedagogy in American Library Association Accredited Programs

Elizabeth Figa, PhD

Department of Library and Information Sciences, University of North Texas elizabeth.figa@unt.edu

Abstract: American Library Association (ALA)-accredited library and information sciences programs have a long history of pedagogy concerning varying literatures. Using publicly available information sources such as ALA websites, university and department websites, course catalogs, course descriptions, and conversations with youth services educators to gather data, the researcher presents an analysis of trends in library and information sciences curricula and courses that include and/or focus exclusively on graphic novels, comics, and/or sequential art education for library and information professionals. The researcher will present a model of key constructs that may form a best practice model for trends in graphic novels and comics pedagogy and suggested curriculum content based on the findings.

Title: New Immigrant Adolescents’ Everyday Information Practices When Isolated from Peer Groups

Joung Hwa Koo

School of Library & Information Studies, Florida State University


Abstract: The purpose of this study is to explore new immigrant adolescents’ information behavior as they establish peer groups, which are an important part of adolescence. This ongoing study will provide an initial understanding of socially isolated teens’ information behavior in daily life contexts. Because there are few studies about immigrant adolescents’ information behavior in the field of LIS, it will be a significant contribution to the literature to describe immigrant teens’ information needs and seeking behavior. The results will fill a gap regarding both youth information seeking and the information needs of immigrants, and will inform librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with youth. This data will provide input for the successful design and delivery of information services and instruction for youth and a basis from which to support healthy growth for adolescents seeking to fulfill their information needs without the help of peers. Finally, the study will provide an initial understanding of information needs and seeking behaviors of people dealing with isolation and loneliness–for example, newcomers in an organization, transfers from other schools or organizations, or teens suffering from peer-bullying.

Title: Preparing Students for College: Academic Outreach to High Schools

Sandy Sumner

Camden-Carroll Library, Morehead State University


Abstract: I am investigating ways academic libraries are offering outreach to local high schools. Several universities in Kentucky are forming partnerships with their local school librarians to better serve the needs of the high school teenagers, which better prepares them for entering college life. Research questions include: What kinds of different partnerships currently exist? What departments most commonly offer outreach partnerships? What are other states doing? How do school and university librarians benefit from this? What is most requested by school librarians, and what is most offered by university librarians? What impediments are there to partnering like this in other institutions?

Title: Protagonist and Author Diversity in Award-Winning and Bestselling Young Adult Fiction

Casey H. Rawson

School of Information and Library Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Abstract: Librarians often rely upon preassembled title lists, such as YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) list or the Publishers Weekly bestsellers list, to make collection development decisions. This study examined three such lists for the prevalence of diverse protagonists and authors with the goal of determining which list most closely aligns with actual demographic data for U.S. teens. Award-winning, Teens’ Top Ten, and bestselling titles were included in the study. Overall, the award-winning title list included the highest percentage of minority authors and the highest percentage of protagonists belonging to most marginalized demographic groups, while the bestselling title list included the lowest percentages in these categories. However, all three lists underrepresented protagonists and authors from certain demographic categories. Based on these results, it is recommended that librarians supplement list-based collection development with purposive collection of titles featuring minority protagonists and/or written by minority authors.

Title: Researching Data Sets to Develop State Library Standards

Lesley Farmer, EdD

College of Education, California State University Long Beach


Abstract: In 2009, California began developing outcome standards for school library students and quantitative standards for library program factors that provide the conditions for students to meet library outcomes. In an effort to make those programs standards empirically based, the researcher analyzed three 2007—2008 reputable data sets: California’s school library data set, AASL’s School Libraries Count data set, and the national School Library Journal data set. The research clustered the standards into two sections: 1) baseline factors, and 2) statistical standards for resources. Findings revealed that school libraries that met the baseline standards were significantly different from libraries that did not. Once the baseline set of factors were determined, the researcher applied descriptive and correlational statistics to the data sets, with the resultant figures based on the average figures supplied by those libraries that met the baseline factors.

Title: A Safe Space? Homeless Teens’ Public Library Use

Vikki C. Terrile

Queens Library, New York


Abstract: I will present the methodology and preliminary findings from a study which explores how homeless and runaway youth use public libraries, their unique information needs, and whether they share the perception that public libraries are safe public spaces. The study, which is currently in the data collection stage, is an ethnographic study of a convenience sample of 25—30 teens living in family shelters or unaccompanied/runaway youth shelters in New York City. Data are being collected using participant observation, focus groups, questionnaires and interviews with teens in three to five temporary housing shelters and through homeless youth-serving organizations. The study is important because it explores the information and library space needs of a population that is often overlooked during discussions of either teens or people experiencing homelessness.

Title: Silencing the Internal Censor in YA Collection Development

Robin Fogle Kurz

PhD Candidate and Instructor

School of Library & Information Science, The University of South Carolina


Abstract: What causes librarians to avoid collecting certain books for the teens they serve? This work-in-progress poster details the methodology and preliminary findings of dissertation research on how public librarians collect materials for young adults. Using mixed methods research, the researcher is conducting collection analysis and multiple in-depth interviews with youth services librarians in South Carolina who have been in professional positions for under five years. In addition to basic concerns around job security, these librarians often work in socially conservative areas with vocal racist and xenophobic subpopulations. Conversations with participants focus on intellectual freedom, the unique needs of teens of color, and the underlying fears of challenges. The collected transcripts are analyzed to determine at what point in the collection development process the meaning of the word “community” may shift from the teen readers librarians serve to the potential censors they fear. The poster also highlights past research on librarian self-censorship and potential future uses for mixed methods studies in teen library services research.

Title: A Tale of Two Covers: U.S. Teen Responses to Swedish and U.S. Book Cover Art

Annette Y. Goldsmith

University of Washington Information School; University of Southern California School of Social Work and USC Libraries


Abstract: In order to sell books in the U.S., many publishers consider it necessary to Americanize the covers of international books that are acquired and translated into English. Drawing on Dresang’s Radical Change theory conceptualizing youth as competent and capable, and Rosenblatt’s Reader Response theory emphasizing that readers construct a personal response to literature, this study investigates the assumption that U.S. readers require Americanized book covers. The mixed methods pilot explores the responses of a diverse Los Angeles grades seven and eight advanced art class when comparing the original versus the “translated” cover art of Annika Thor’s A Faraway Island (Random House, 2009), first published in Sweden. The class of twenty-nine students was shown the paired book covers with artwork only, stripped of text, so the language and country of publication would not be apparent. The students completed a brief questionnaire and a follow-up focus group was conducted with six students. Descriptive statistics were gathered and content analysis was used to analyze the data. When asked to choose between the two covers, students overwhelmingly preferred the U.S. cover as the cover of a book they would like to read. Deeper analysis revealed a more complex picture of interest in and ambivalence towards the two covers.

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