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YA Collections

Building collections that meet the needs of young adults involves knowing what YAs want, and then being able to identify materials through a variety of resources. School library media centers cannot afford to purchase the thousands of titles published each year. Selection decisions must be made using available resources utilizing the best available information

Library media specialists must determine which of the many selection guides are useful for their particular library's collection.  YA collections do not consist solely of "young adult literature."   In fact, it is likely that the majority of resources used in a collection have nothing to do with YA literature.  

Patrick Jones, in his book Connecting Young Adults and Libraries, identifies four areas within the YA collection:

bulletLiterature
bulletPopular Materials
bulletInformation Sources
bulletProducts

A Core Collection for Young Adults (Neal-Schuman, 2003), by Patrick Jones, Patricia Taylor and Kirsten Edwards; points out that a collection geared towards young adults is not a core collection of YA literature.  School library media centers must include each of the four areas above and quality literature that supports the school's curriculum, encourages young people to read, and presents stories and characters that library users can relate to.

One way to identify user needs and wants is to survey the community a library media center serves.  Patrick Jones (Connecting Young Adults and Libaries,  p. 108) lists the following factors as influencing YA collection decisions:

  1. Total collection development philosophy
  2. Quality and quantity of public school library collections
  3. Budget, space, and staff available I your community
  4. Library media specialist's professional values
  5. Needs that the YA literature collection should meet
  6. Goals for the collection
  7. Roles the library has chosen for itself

Other choices (Jones, p. 109):

bulletDemand vs. quality: Do you buy paperbacks, multiple copies of popular titles, series titles?
bulletCirculation vs. Standards: Do you purchase only YA materials of high literary quality?  Will it be read? Does the appearance of a title on a “Best Book” list insure purchase?
bulletPermanency vs. Immediacy: How long should you keep materials? Should you purchase hardback or paperback? Or both?
bulletRecreational vs. Educational vs. Information vs. Cultural:  What types of nonfiction should you buy? Reference/curriculum materials versus recreational materials?
bulletProfessional vs. Careful: Should you buy YA materials adults and perhaps you, object to but YA love?
bulletGenres:  What basic groups do you need to have in your library? (Horror, realistic fiction-problem novel, mystery-suspense-thrillers, romance, historical fiction, humor, science fiction and fantasy, sports, adventure.
bulletOther types of collections: multicultural literature, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literature. These areas can be evident in the genre areas.
bulletClassics: What part of your collection will be the classic of literature and where does YA literature fit into this scheme? YALSA’s Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Arco’s Reading Lists for College Bound Students are excellent selection aids.

Other Factors to Keep in Mind:

bulletDeciding on the literary canon
bulletInclusion of minority literature
bulletInclusion of literature representative of diverse cultures and groups whether taught in classroom or not – matching books with readers
bulletTeaching of ethnic literature

The website below are just some of the booklist offerings available on the Internet. I would encourage you to visit and evaluate these sites.

Collection Development Web Resources

bulletALA Young Adult Library services Association.  This link provides access to such lists as Best Books, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Awards. 
bulletInternational Reading Association Teen Choices
bulletInternet Public Library Link to Booklists 
bulletInternet School Library Media Center Young Adult Literature               
bulletNo Flying No Tights  Graphic novel reviews and best lists.      
bulletReading Rants Booklists             
bulletVandergriff's 100 Kay Vandergriff’s list of 100 YA authors and titles. 
bulletRichies Picks  
bulletYoung Adult Special Interest Group of the Missouri Library Association  A link to booklists and awards given for outstanding young adult and children’s literature.

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YA Genres
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YA Lit Awards
YA Collections

 

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