Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Undercover Wednesday: A Librarian's Perspective

Here at Ya Confidential, we celebrate all things books on Undercover Wednesdays. This week, I went to my local library and spoke with a librarian about all things teen reading related. And found out some very interesting things!

City of Fairfax Regional Library

Teen Read Week

Did you know that Teen Read Week is coming up? This year, it's October 16-22 and it's an initiative of Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

"This year's theme is "Picture It @ your library®," which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books, or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it. Libraries across the world celebrate Teen Read Week with a variety of special events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials." source

If you want to find an event in your area, there's a google map with listings. CLICK HERE to find it!

Oh, and as if this movement isn't cool enough? JAY ASHER is the spokesperson. I mean, really. Win, and win.

Most Requested Books
  • Graphic novels! Most teen boys who come to the library go straight to the graphic novels section.
    • Dragon Ball Z is the most popular 
    • And interesting to me, someone who's never read manga, I learned that TRUE manga novels are read from back to front.) 
    • I also learned that there was a huge outcry against graphic novels at first, because according, to some, they're "not real books." 
  • Vampire novels are still very popular. Pretty much anything in the "blood" genre, as the librarian put it!
  • Fantasy novels
    • PC Cast books are often requested
    • There are shelves and shelves full of SciFi/Fantasy (mostly holding fantasy) compared to on small part of one shelf, which houses YA Mystery.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy
  • Clique novels
  • Romance

The Amount of Copies Held Per Book

Collections Management determines how many copies are purchased of each book. It depends on the budget of the library and the popularity of the book. Regional libraries frequently get more.

On Recommending Books to Teens


I was allowed to peruse the YA binder at the information desk. It's divided into sections, for different kinds of teen reading recommendations. I swapped super secret covert pictures of some of the contents.*



There are lists of "clean" and "safe" YA books. 
















 (Though the "safe" list hasn't been updated since 2004...)








And there's a list (also not updated from 2004) Books Every Teen Should Know, that aren't necessarily "safe."









Some listings were notated with thoughts:







There's also a section listing adult books that teens might enjoy. (Including The Secret Life of Bees, The Shining, Andromeda Strain, The Firm, And Then There Were None...)

On Banned Books

The librarian I spoke with never pulls banned books. She believes books are often banned at the whim of a moment depending on whatever's political. It's subjective. She might let her child read something another parent might not. It depends on the maturity of a teen. And that's not something that can be decided with some generalized ban. It's a parent's decision.

This Librarian Recommends a Recent Read

Okay For Now, by Gary Schmidt

From Goodreads: Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.


That about covers it for today! But I plan to visit several libraries to collect opinions from all over the place! So keep your eye out for more about teens through the lens of libraries!

Same library, different angle.
Clearly, I have too much fun with iPhone photo apps...
*Just joking. I had full permission to take pictures :)

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