Tag Archive | books

Reference for children

                  This is a challenging aspect of a youth service librarian’s job. what is it that the child is looking for? Children are complex and can be misunderstood which makes them a user group that many librarians do not want to deal with. But I find them fascinating, funny, and incredibly smart. It is important that children are able to receive reference service as well because they have very specific information needs.

                    There are three basic types of service that they need. help with homework and research, voluntary inquires based on curiosity  and assistance with personal problems or issues. This is the dilemma for many librarians because they don’t want to be the teacher or parent helping  or doing homework for the children. This as an opportunity because if the child is not getting the help anywhere else this is the librarians opportunity to step in. Librarians are trained and specialized in knowing the tricks to research and assisting patron’s information needs, and it is our duty to assist with homework help.  The curiosity questions are a bonus. children have a quest to soak up knowledge because they are growing and being able to satisfy their thirst is rewarding.  And assisting children in their personal lives can be tricky, because they will tell you your life story and then some. Librarians need to put their own judgement aside and give the best answer for that situation and if needed talk to the parent or caregiver.

                   Shenton and Dixson’s  “Information Needs: Learning More about What Kids Want, Need, and Expect from Research” explains the types of needs that arise and the variables that effect them.  This is crucial to understanding how to do a reference interview with a child because they care about accuracy and urgency as well as adults.  But children are different in how they act socially and the types of questions asked. The authors came up with strategies for practice and an important one is to develop questions that are not based on preconceived notions but based on the child’s real needs (Shenton, 26). It is also necessary to have open dialogue with the child patron because that way if the need was not met by certain materials the search can be tried again.  This is crucial because some children are shy and will not say so, or they do not even realize they didn’t meet their own need.

                Children’s reference is rewarding and demanding. Librarians have to know it all and be able to read minds,  but not really we can do those things by being friendly, attempting the question wholeheartedly,  and knowing the library’s collection.

Shenton, A.K. and P. Dixson, “Information Needs: Learning More about What Kids Want, Need, and Expect from Research.” Children and Libraries 3 (2): 20-28.

The Invisible Patron

The underrepresented users in the library are  the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning better known  as GLBTQ. Alexander and Miselis  in their article note that this group is not represented in the library by the amount of materials offered. There are many possible reasons that explain this including censorship.  But why should libraries recognize these patrons?

This user group tends to be teens or young adults and if young adult librarians can reach out to them and offer a welcoming comforting environment then they are likely to become a life long user.  Plus public libraries are public spaces and shouldn’t discriminate against any person or user.  Society has recently become of aware of this group as a member of society and librarians should include them in their collection development as a whole.

As Alexander and Miselis have proved in their study GLBTQ teens have information needs and the library is a logical place for them to acquire them. YA librarians need to be aware of the collection development policy at their library and how they can obtain materials for these users.  Censorship and even self-censorship effects the collection development for GLTBQ material in the library. Administration and YA librarians need to work together to understand the need for materials that can aid these teen’s needs. Because not even considering GLTBQ materials is censorship and librarians have a duty to include all of the different types of users.

There are great materials and book lists provided by the professional organizations that supply great books to add to the collection.  This is helpful because it can aid the YA librarian who is unsure what to add, and it is good evidence to the library board and admistration that librarians as a group are thinking about this user group.

Great books to include in your collection that cover these topics:

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson; Peter Parnell; Henry Cole

Putting makeup on the fat boy  by Bill Wright and Lauren Linn

Money boy by Paul Yee

Sweet like Sugar by Wayne Hoffman

With or without you by Brian Farrey

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

  • 2012 Rainbow list consists of great choices for children and teen                                                                                  http://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/archives/953

Alexander and Miselis, “Barriers to GLBTQ Collection Development and Strategies for Overcoming Them,” Young Adult Library Services, Spring 2007, pp. 43-49