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Building a better Library for Teens:
Books and resources on Health.

Assignment: Spend $800 on new non fiction Young Adult health resources at the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts.

  • Provide a list of existing titles, with publication dates and circulation statistics, along with reasons for keeping, replacing, or weeding title
  • Provide a list of new titles, along with purchase price, and rationale and review(s) that support acquisition
  • Explain why you chose this classification of YA non fiction for collection development, and give detailed information about the YA population and YA collection at the Thomas Crane Library. Place library and target audience within the demographic context of the City of Quincy.

List of books before $800.

List of books after $800.

Summary:

I love health. I’m serious. Fitness? Sexuality? Nutrition? Drugs? Mental illness? Divorce? Diseases? Disabilities? Memoirs about cutting, anorexia, bulimia, depression, mania, addiction, rehabilitation, NON-rehabilitation!? Sexual abuse, alcohol, smoking, coming out of the closet, cross dressing, transgendering?—there isn’t a subject in the 612s through the 618s of the Dewey decimal classification that I don’t like. Plus—I know a lot about my target population here in Quincy. I’ve looked at census figures. I’ve read library reports and plans. I’ve written proposals for grants for teens—and for health programming!

So when Professor Linda Braun gave me 800 make believe dollars and a 25-30% library/educators’ discount and told me to go buy health resources for the teens at the public library right where I work—I thought, “Piece of cake! Walk in the park! The assignment I’ve been training for all my life!” I got a print out from our acquisitions librarian of all the holdings in 612-618, along with circulation figures, shelf location, and when each title was added to the library collection.

I told my children: “THIS will be easy! I might even have enough time this week to cook!”

NOT! I looked over the 60 titles that comprise the Library’s existing collection. I dragged out the newest (not yet even cataloged!) supplement to Best books for High School Readers. I pored through The Real Story: A guide to non fiction reading interests. I had high hopes (immediately dashed) for Anita Silvey’s collection of 500 best books for Teens. I went on TeenInk.com and read all 726 teen book reviews, looking for clues about what teens like and what they are interested in. I googled every variation of “teens on health”, and “health issues for immigrants.” I looked up videos and DVDs. I went to Amazon.com and the Boston Public Library. I found a wonderful resource called the Health Information Project out of the Mid Hudson Library System that pulls together resources based on the actual concerns of and reviews by teens. I looked at my own Library’s adult NF collection to see what teens might have access to there. I even took pictures of the shelves of YA health books. So Linda could see what I had to work with, and what teens themselves saw when they come to the Thomas Crane Public Library hoping to find answers to everything from unplanned pregnancy to whether that weird looking freckle on their back might be cancer.Adult books teens can use

But all those books and papers and notes on my desk, bed, and floor?—a thousand random pictures uploaded to my computer?–and it dawned on me:
I had no idea what I was doing.

The challenge of this assignment is not so much finding good material; it’s choosing how you’re going to select from all the material you do find.

So I told the kids– forget dinner—ever!—and I went back to my library. I pulled out a chair in the empty YA room, sat down, closed my notebook, put down my pen, set aside the circulation reports–and looked around. I asked myself these questions:

  • When have I seen teens actually use this collection? What do they actually take off the shelves? (Graphic novels and manga!)
  • How did my 14 year old daughter react years ago when I presented her with Our Bodies Ourselves? (Omigod!! this is so embarrassing and these women have hairy armpits!)
  • What are the most popular street drugs in Quincy?
  • If my son’s best friend routinely has sex without using a condom, and neither of these (then) seniors in high school knew there even such a thing as the “morning after pill”—what else don’t they know about safe sex—and why?
  • And why aren’t there any books on that shelf about steroids, meth, ecstascy, oxycontin, smack, cutting, date rape, and teen parenting?
  • Where are the books on body piercing and tattoos?
  • Where is the guide to prescription medicine?
  • In a city where many kids are uninsured, where is the basic reference book on health that walks you through how to recognize common illnesses or injuries?
  • Where are the books with Asian, Indian, black, and Latino teens on the cover?
  • Where are the books that might appeal to reluctant readers? To kids with ADD or a learning disability?
  • Where are the books about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identity?
  • Why is that biography Dibbs In search of self, on the shelf, and not Only a mother could love him, or Go ask Ogre:Letters from a deathrock cutter?
  • Where were the books that looked interesting and funny and fascinating?
  • Where were the books written by teens?
  • Where, for crying out loud! are the books with a 2006 copyright?

It was one of those ah-ha! moments.

In my quest for the “best” titles, reviews, and deals—many of which will be in the dustbin of history by this time next year– I’d been looking at the trees, not the forest. What this collection really needed—in broad terms–were the kinds of things we all want access to as teenagers: a couple good “backbone references” on health, prescription and “recreational” drugs, fitness, sexuality, pregnancy, and GLBTQ-related issues. Some current books on topical issues like (today) cosmetic surgery, club drugs and steroid abuse. Books in non-traditional formats that might appeal to reluctant readers. Books alive with teen voices. Books with great pictures and photographs. A few fascinating and gruesome accounts of plagues and viruses and modern day Typhoid Marys. Books to browse, books to steal, books to stick in your pocket and read all by yourself.

This health collection also needs DVDs, and probably a teen friendly database, but until I know more about teen DVD viewing habits and database use, I decided my $800 dollars is better spent on print resources. This collection certainly needs a section of books in other languages, and books aimed at the particular health needs of different ethnic populations– but that is a development project beyond the time or scope for this assignment.

When I left the library this time—I had a plan. I went back through my notes from TeenInk, the web, the print compilations of best books for teens, Amazon.com, and most useful—the Mid-Hudson Library System Health Information Project—and looked for the books and materials in the categories I just described–that seemed to be favorably and widely reviewed in most of those sources. My final lists, which follow the description below of the Thomas Crane Public Library, the City of Quincy, and my rationale for choosing Teen Health—reflect what I think is a solid approach to YA collection development.

I. Introduction: Why health?
The Library, the collection, and the target audience.

Thomas Crane Public Library: Main Building
Hours

• Monday through Thursday 9-9
• Friday and Saturday 9-5
• Sunday 1-5

Services

• Outreach on wheels
• Adult Literacy Volunteers
• InterLibrary Loan
• Museum passes
• Reference Department
• Children’s Department
• Readers Advisory
• Reference 24/7
• 12 online public access catalog
• Home and in-library access to a variety of databases including Rosetta Stone and PubMed.
• 43 state of the art and unfiltered public Internet access computer terminals that offer patrons 13 years and older one hour of computer use time daily

Welcome to the YA Department. (WHAT YA department?)

When the Thomas Crane Public Library opened the doors of its 16 million dollar addition in 2001, administrators pointed with pride to the new Young Adult Department—a sunlit, open space located on the second floor, three steps up from the Readers’ Advisory Desk, within eyeshot of the Main Circulation Desk, and home to four YA-dedicated Internet access computers. In this city of 90,000 located 8 miles south of Boston, where the Asian population has grown by 143% over the last five years and where teens of all backgrounds comprise 14% of the population, this was going to be THE place where young people from every background and every neighborhood would gather to read, do homework, surf the Web, and “hang out” in the comfortable chairs scattered at the end of the bookshelves that house the YA print collection.

Five years later, the YA department is a ghost-town. The public access computers have been moved upstairs to the Reference Area. Program offerings have dwindled to a sparsely attended monthly screening of feature length anime films held downstairs in the Library’s community meeting room. Not only have Large Print books replaced the YA collection—which has been moved to a smaller space in a smaller room where a sign propped on a single wooden desk reads: Young Adult Books—the YA collection itself has been largely ignored. The Children’s Program Director has added a few graphic novels and anime on DVD, but these stranded bright spots serve only to highlight the general despondency that has taken root, particularly in the non fiction section. If anyone uses the tables and chairs in the original YA department, it’s senior citizens, not teenagers—a group that has warmed up even less to the makeshift space now enclosed on three sides by the small and outdated YA collection.

All that is about to change. Since 2001, the Main Library, which has served the city of Quincy Massachusetts for 225 years, has built its collection to over half a million print and non print items, and eBooks. The Thomas Crane is one of only two regional reference centers serving the South Shore and the 25 member Old Colony Library Network. The Children’s Room, bright and busy, has become host to storytellers, Mad Science demonstrations, book groups, and lap-sit story hours. At the Circulation Desk, adult patrons wait in line to reserve passes to Boston area museums and zoos, and while they wait, they browse postings of the many lectures, book groups, exhibits or workshops designed for “Lifelong Learners”.

Now, the Library is ready to turn its attention to its most under-served and least understood population: teenagers. In addition to hiring a full time YA librarian, one of the three top objectives in the Library’s 2006 Mission Statement and Long Term Plan, approved by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, is to increase teens’ circulation of library materials and participation in Library programs by 10% a year over the next four years, and to create a focus group of teenagers who will help staff develop the YA collection, and design and implement programs and policies for Teens.. To help make that happen, the Library also has $4000 in grant monies earmarked for improving services to Teens.

The first priority for collection development is to improve teens’ access to reliable health information. This is part of a nationwide effort underwritten by the MetLife Foundation and Libraries for the Future that hopes to use this population “to access the entire family including grandparents, brothers and sisters, and caregivers”, and make urban libraries a center for community health and wellness.

For this collection development assignment, I will look at the books and material that now comprise the non fiction section on Heath, diet/nutrition, and sexuality in the YA department at the main (downtown) branch of the Thomas Crane Public Library. This includes a total of 54 titles in classifications 612-618. Using a starting budget of $800, I’ll propose a list of titles we should add to the collection, and existing titles we should get rid of or replace. fitnessIn particular, I will be focusing on the subject matter with the highest circulation figures: puberty and sexuality; fitness/weight training; eating disorders; and depression/mental illness. I will be looking at the circulation figures, publication dates, condition, and reviews of the Library’s books and non print items, and explain my recommendations for new or replacement materials .

Not only will this collection development assignment fulfill the final course requirement for LIS 483, I hope it will serve as a blueprint for the actual “weeding and seeding” of the Thomas Crane Library’s YA non fiction section on Health, and offer a practical and philosophical approach to developing the rest of the YA non-fiction collection.

II. Collection Development Philosophy:
“A real teen collection has to be a collection for Young Adults, not a collection of young adult books or a collection in the YA area. It is not just a matter of semantics, but a shift in thinking about who drives collection development and the role, especially in the public library, of the Library School Teacher (or YA Librarian). Developing a collection is customer focused; it does not matter to the teen where the book is located.” (Jones, 2004)

$800 only represents a start towards collection development. The size of the budget is less important than the philosophy behind the book selections I’ll be making, since it is this philosophy that will inform additions and changes throughout the YA collection.

The Library already has a collections development policy posted on its website, stating a commitment to providing a broad range of high quality non fiction materials for a general audience that meets the needs of ethnically diverse users ranging in age from the very young to the very old. As Jones points out, the YA collection is not just defined by designated space on the shelves, but as a considered and important subset of the Library collection as a whole.

The Thomas Crane’s list of specific selection criteria for non fiction is contained in a brief summary at the end of this section, but of particular importance when purchasing potentially controversial materials about teen health and sexuality, the Library offers this disclaimer:
“It must be remembered that since any item probably has something in it that is objectionable to somebody, there would be few materials in the library if selectors tried to choose only items to which there could be no possible objections.”

Given Jones’ description of the YA collection potentially comprising all the material in the library, the YA librarian should know the collection policies and objectives not just for books labeled YA, but for all the resources in the Library. Those policies and objectives should include An Interpretation (excerpted below) of the Library Bill of Rights pertaining to Free Access to Libraries for Minors:
“Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.

Children and young adults unquestionably possess First Amendment rights, including the right to receive information in the library. Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children or young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes to be unsuitable for them.1 Librarians and library governing bodies should not resort to age restrictions in an effort to avoid actual or anticipated objections, because only a court of law can determine whether material is not constitutionally protected.

Parents who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials, or facilities should so advise their children. Librarians and library governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child.”

Statement of Collection Development Objectives

The collection development plan centers around three levels of service: the main Library, branch libraries, the bookmobile and some outreach services. Materials are purchased to meet the objectives of good library service to the whole spectrum of the community’s population, young and old. The library aims to provide the fundamental, significant, and standard works in most subject areas. Aiming at ready access rather than occasional availability, the library attempts to supply materials in sufficient quantity to make the library a dependable source for most general users most of the time. No special attempt can be made to provide material for specialist or research students, except through interlibrary loan.

Inclusion of an item in the collection does not indicate library endorsement of its contents. The library aims to offer the broadest available selection of materials to mature users who, by experience and education, are presumed to exercise the privileges of choice.Richardon room

Non-Fiction

  • The Thomas Crane Library attempts to acquire materials of both permanent and current interest in all subject areas.
  • Among the criteria used in the selection of non-fiction materials are:
  • Levels of materials funding
  • Current interest and usefulness
  • Authoritativeness, comprehensiveness, and accuracy
  • Reputation, authority, and significance of author, publisher, performer or filmmaker, etc.
  • Permanent value and durability of author, performer, filmmaker, etc.
  • Literary quality, clarity and readability
  • Reputation and standards of publisher or producer
  • Effectiveness of presentation
  • Importance as a record of the times
  • Relevance to community needs
  • Political and social significance
  • Balance and objectivity
  • Importance of the subject and relevance to the existing collection
  • Relative importance in comparison with other works on subject
  • Provides information or presentation that is unique to or only available in a particular format
  • Physical format and price in relation to the individual title and its importance to the collection
  • Accessibility to the title through indexes and bibliographies
  • Availability of materials elsewhere in the region

III. Demographics and Library Services:
One of the guiding principles of collection development is know the books AND “Know your audience,” Ideally, the YA librarian should know her audience not just through the kind of demographics listed here, but through conversations with teens, surveys, polls, and focus groups. But the important thing about these demographics is that they show how fast your audience can change. Between 2001 for example, when the new addition to the Library opened, and 2006, the Asian population in Quincy grew by 143%.

The following compilation of facts gives the YA librarian at the Thomas Crane Library a working picture of this city’s schools and neighborhoods, based on the 2000 census and on data provided by the Quincy Public School district and the State and Federal Departments of Education. The YA Librarian should regularly check these sources along with her own data from surveys and circulation figures, to keep up to date with any significant changes in her target population.

Facts about the Library are available in the Library’s annual report; the Library’s long range planning statement, the library website, the Library’s budget, and departmental data collected for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.Welcome to Quincy!

Demographic Summary:
Quincy has twelve public elementary schools, four middle schools, and two public high schools. There is one private college, and one two-year college in the city. There are 41 houses of worship in the city. Quincy also has 6 museums or historic houses and many historic sites, mostly relating to the Adams family.
Quincy Schools:
About 15% of the total population in Quincy is between the ages of 5 and 19.
Quincy has 1 public school district

  • 12 elementary schools
  • 5 middle schools
  • 2 high schools
  • 0 charter schools
  • 10 private schools
    • 6 Pre-school through Kindergarten
    • 3 Parochial schools K-8
    • 1 Girls school 6-12
  • As of 2006, median home price throughout the city is $360,000

Quincy Public School Department of Library and Media Services 2007
From the city website @ http://www.quincypublicschools.com/district/departments/library_media_mainpage.shtml

  • The Department of Library and Media Services provides certified library teachers (librarians) in all of the city’s nineteen school library media centers.
  • Each media center is equipped with an automated circulation and card catalog system.
  • The high school catalogs are available on-line throughout the school system.
  • A city-wide department head supervises the personnel and oversees each facility.
  • Library teachers are responsible for the selection of new materials and maintenance of their own library’s collections.
  • Each librarian has a budget for the purchase of books and periodicals. These budgets are developed by the library teacher and reviewed by the Library and Media Services Department Head.
  • All of our school libraries are warm and friendly facilities with modern collections that encourage independent reading and support the curriculum of the Quincy Public School

IV. Book Lists! Honestly? This still feels like a work in progress. But please find here a list of existing YA non fiction titles on health–and a list of titles I think the library should add.

I’ve never weeded before. I think I should have been tougher on older titles, but if I was in doubt and the title had been circulating–I left it on the shelf. As far as new book titles? I tried to add some graphic novel formats and I tried to strengthen the core collection, while picking up some shorter interesting titles and keeping an eye out for works with strong teen voices.

This was much much harder than I thought it would be.

Existing books: Ttile, author, last ch’d out, #of uses, date added, publication date, notes. Click here to see this list in excel spreadsheet.

Cells, tissues and skin Light, D. 10/23/2005 1 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

The circulatory system Whittemore, S. 2/8/2007 2 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

The respiratory system Whittemore, S. 10/19/2006 1 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

Digestion and nutrition Sullivan, R. 12/5/2005 1 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

The endocrine system Rushton, L. 2/8/2007 1 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

What’s happening to me? Mayle, P. 3/13/2006 26 12/1/1994 1994, copyright 1975. Dated. Weed . Young teens, girls & boys

Human development Zerucha, T. 11/5/2006 1 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

What’s going on down there?Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask Gravelle, K. 3/15/2007 11 2/19/2003 1998. Ages 9-12. Cartoon art is easy on the eyes. Recent check out and decent reviews. Keep it for now.

Period Gardner-Loulan, J. 1/3/2000 11 5/17/1991 1979. Dated. No recent check outs. Weed.

Everything you need to know about getting your period Rue, N. 1/7/2006 6 4/28/1998 1995. Tweens. Weed

The skeletal and muscular system Stewart, G. 4/12/2005 0 4/12/2005 2004, part of Your Body : how it works series. Keep.

The nervous system Evans-Martin, F. 2/23/2007 2 4/12/2005 2005, part of Your Body: how it works series. Keep

The senses Light, D. 2/26/2007 4 4/12/2005 2005, part of Your Body: how it works series. Keep

It’s a girl thing: how to stay healthy, safe, and in charge Jukes, M. 3/15/2007 15 9/3/1996 1996. Tweens. Newberry Honor author. Still in print, good reviews on Amazon. Keep
Boy’s guide to becoming a teen American Medical Association 3/15/2007 1 8/28/2006 2006. Good reviews on Amazon. Keep

My body, my self for boys Madaras, L. 5/29/2007 5 9/11/2006 2000. Recent check-out. Keep

Girls guide to becoming a teen American Medical Association 2/18/2007 2 8/28/2006 2006. Companion to boys guide. Keep.

My body, my self for girls Madaras, L. 5/29/2007 5 9/11/2006 2000. Recent check-out. Keep

Everythying you need to know about becoming a vegetarian Serafin, K. 3/23/2005 10 8/14/2000 1999. Looks old and dated. Replace with newer book on same topic. Weed

Strength training for young athletes Kraemer, W. 2/9/2007 9 10/5/2001 1999. Looks old and dated. Replace with newer book on same topic. Weed

Teenage fitness: get fit, look healthy Kaehler, K. 1/10/2007 21 12/19/2001 2001. Looks old and dated. Replace with newer book on same topic. Weed

Toning for teens: the 20-minute Vedral, J. 5/17/2007 2 3/30/2006 2006. Good reviews on Amazon and Health Project. Looks hip. Keep

Weight training Bright, W. 6/26/2006 26 10/24/1991 1990. Looks old and dated. Replace with newer book on same topic. Weed

A teen’s guide to living drug-free Youngs, B. 10/21/2003 1 8/6/2003 Scary. Makes me want to use drugs. Weed.

Safe sex 101: an overview for teens Hyde, M. 5/2/2007 2 9/5/2006 2006. Good reviews on Amazon and Health Project. Looks hip. Keep

Birth control and protection Peacock, J. 5/2/2007 5 8/13/2001 Go find that poor child who just checked out this book! Weed

Sex, puberty and all that stuff Bailey, J. 7/1/2007 7 8/26/2005 2004. LSJ good review. For ‘tweens. Keep

The what’s happening to my body (for boys) Madaras, L. 12/19/2004 10 11/29/2000 2000. Seems to be interest in this topic. Books may appeal to slightly different audiences. Keep

The what’s happening to my body (for girls) Madaras, L. 1/20/2007 10 11/20/2000 2000. Seems to be interest in this topic. Books may appeal to slightly different audiences. Keep

Malaria, west nile, and other Day, N. 3/3/2003 5 12/27/2001 2001. Remember west Nile? Keep. Basic reference for mosquito borne virus.

When plague strikes Giblin, J. 3/17/2007 13 11/17/1995 1995. SLJ liked it. Parallels with AIDS. Keep

Drugs and dieting Roberts, J. 8/1/2005 3 1/28/2002 2001. Looks old and dated. Calista Flockhart is the celeb draw. Calista WHO? Weed

Guinea pig scientists: bold se Dendy, L. 8/15/2006 1 5/22/2005 2005. Scientists who experimented on themselves. Put it out on display. Keep.

The immune system Stewart, G. 4/7/2006 1 4/12/2005 Lost? No where to be found. Trace, then replace.

Cystic fibrosis Monroe, J. 1/9/2007 6 1/28/2002 2002. Went out this year. Keep.

Karen Killilea, M. 1/17/2006 8 7/29/1988 1985. How about the Family Nobody wanted instead? Hmm. But it still went out last year. Should i weed this?

Coping with multiple sclerosis Burnett, B. 2/21/2007 4 1/25/2002 2001. Went out this year. Part of Coping series. Should I be weeding this??

Anorexia Balkin, K. 5/11/2006 1 4/12/2005 2004. Not circulating. Weed

Eating disorder survivors tell Chiu, C. 7/8/2007 16 8/8/2001 1998. Look around for more current survivor stories. Keep for the meantime.

Exercise addiction: when Kaminker, L. 9/21/2006 0 9/21/2006 1998. Must be something better out there. Weed.

Over it: a teen’s guide to getting beyong obsession about food and weight Normandi, C. 9/13/2006 0 9/13/2006 2001. Not circulating. Weed.

Everything you need to know about depression Ayer, E. 11/6/2006 14 1/25/2002 2001. Looks dated. Pre-new SSRIs. Weed.

When nothing matters anymore: survival guide for depressed teens. Cobain, B. 5/17/2004 16 9/22/2000 1999. Try to replace with 2007 edition which got good SLJ reviews.

Teen depression Martin, M. 4/28/2007 3 12/3/2004 2004. Keep

Coping when a parent is mentally ill Ross, A. 8/16/2005 4 1/25/2002 2001. This cover is horrifying. In a cheesy way. Weed.

Mononucleosis Silverstein, A. 5/22/2000 7 6/15/1995 1994. Check out The kissing disease! Cover. Weed.

Sexually transmitted diseases Kolesnikow, T. 8/2/2006 2 9/15/2005 2004. Keep

Risky times: how to be AIDS-free Blake, J. 11/20/2006 17 4/5/1993 1990. Looks old and dated. Replace with newer book on same topic. Weed

100 questions and answers about Aids Ford, M. 10/20/2006 6 3/28/1996 1993. No longer available on Amazon. Good cover and good reviews. Keep.

100 questions and answers Ford, M. 11/20/2006 9 11/16/1995 discarded

Coping with cancer Cefrey, H. 1/9/2005 3 8/20/2001 2000. This looks institutional and depressing. Not much circulation Weed.

Coping when someone in your family has cancer Rocha, T. 7/6/2004 6 8/21/2001 2001. This looks institutional and depressing. Not much circulation Weed.

The other side of the mountain Valens, E. 5/30/2006 9 7/6/1990 1975. It’s too old, right? But it went out last year. Should I weed this?.

Dibs: in search of self Axline, V. 6/23/2007 13 11/9/1994 1964. And still going strong?? Wht do I DO with this book? It went out a month ago. Keep.

Teens, health, and obesity Owens, P. 1/10/2007 4 4/13/2005 2005. Gallup poll survey. Keep.

Getting a grip on diabetes Loy, S. 6/28/2007 14 8/13/2001 Checked out. Keep.

New Books: Ttile, author, publication date, notes, (full price) price with 25% discount. Click here to see this list in excel spreadsheet.

The Guy Book: An Owner’s Manual Mavis Jukes 2002

Jukes is the Newbury Honor author of It’s a Girl Thing. Good cover, accessible: Amazon: friendly, accurate, and up-to-date advice for prepubescent and adolescent boys. (10.36) 7.77

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships Ruth Bell 2001

SEXUALITY: SLJ on Amazon: Dozens of teenagers themselves were interviewed and are quoted in this book. This comprehensive book includes discussion of sexual technique, STDs and the danger of promiscuous sex, gay sex and sexual identity, and teenage pregnancy and its alternatives. (35) 26.25

Pregnancy Information for Teens (Teen Health) Sandra Augustyn Lawton 2007

Recommended by Health Information Project. Looks like a good backbone reference book. Part of a series by Omnigraphics on information for Teens. (65) 48.75

The Unplanned Pregnancy Book for Teens and College Students Dorrie Williams-Wheeler 2005

Health information project: Voya on Amazon: VOYA, April 2005.The frank stories offered by young women who have faced unplanned pregnancies lend stark reality to a daunting situation” (9.31) 6.99

Invisible Invaders: Dangerous Infectious Diseases Connie Goldsmith 2006

Amazon: Goldsmith does a fine job of presenting a subject that is constantly in the news: infectious disease. She offers clearly written, succinct discussions of viral diseases, such as Ebola, SARS, and influenza; bacterial infections, such as E. coli and tuberculosis; and parasitic and prion diseases, such as mad cow disease. (29.27) 22.50

Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food Eric Schlosser 2007

Health Information project: SLJ on Amazon: An important addition to most libraries. Useful for health classes and nutrition units, it will also be an eye-opener for general readers who regularly indulge at the Golden Arches. (8.95) 6.72

Vegetarianism for Teens (Nutrition and Fitness for Teens) Jane Duden 2001

SLJ: Duden offers useful information on planning a healthy diet and handling dining situations away from home. Food covers a broad spectrum of topics from the effect of food on brain chemistry to blood sugar, cravings, and eating disorders. The importance of a balanced diet, sufficient water, and plenty of sleep is stressed. (25.26) 18.95

Learning Disabilities Information for Teens: Health Tips About Academic Skills Disorders And Other Disabilities That Affect Learning (Teen Health Series) Sandra Augustyn Lawton 2005

BACKBONE REFERENCE: Barnes and Noble: Coverage includes the different kinds, common signs, and causes of learning disabilities; how they are diagnosed; co-occurring disorders; chronic conditions that affect learning; coping strategies; and legal rights. (65) 48.75

A Bird’s-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD: Advice from Young Survivors Chris A. Zeigler Dendy 2003

ADHD: Teen voices. SLJ on Amazon: The book introduces 12 young people (ranging in age from 12 to 18) and describes their struggles with ADD/ADHD issues. Chapter two deals with 13 common challenges of these disorders (e.g., disorganization, impulsivity, inattention, procrastination) and includes advice from the teens. (13.57) 10.18

Physical Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide (It Happened to Me)” Denise Thornton 2007

BACKBONE REFERENCE: Amazon.com: This book addresses the special issues that teens who have physical disabilities must tackle, such as school, relationships, sports and recreation, assistive technology, driving, preparing for life after high school, and more. (42) 31.50

Alcohol Information For Teens: Health Tips About Alcohol And Alcoholism, Joyce Brennfleck 2004

BACKBONE REFERENCE:Health information Project. SLJ on Amazon: Shaded boxes add visual interest and include quizzes, statistics, quick tips, “weird words” that define technical terms, and other tidbits to catch teens’ attention. (65) 48.75

Skin Health Information for Teens: Health Tips About Dermatological Concerns and Skin Cancer Risks (Teen Health Series) Robert Aquinas McNally 2003

BACKBONE REFERENCE: SLJ on Amazon:Sidebars enhance the text, defining “Weird Words” and pointing out “Quick Tips” and key facts to “Remember!” Of particular interest are the extensive sections on piercing and tattooing. While pointing up the risks of both, the articles also provide in-depth information on post-procedure care and choosing a tattooist or piercing artist. (65) 48.75

Body TypeBody Type: Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh Ina Saltz 2006

My son: Totally cool. Amazon: Here are truly unique social commentaries, expressions of love, hilarious examples of biting satire, plus some mottoes, intricate logotypes, deeply personal song lyrics, and, of course, those tattoos that exist for one reason only: to shock the hell out of you. (13.57) 10.18

Ancient Marks: The Sacred Art of Tattooing and Body Marking/ Wade Davis 2004,

BODY PIERCING/TATTOO:Tattoos,scarification, and other bodily modifications of many cultures are showcased here without calling unnecessary attention to these adornments as bizarre/freakish as in some other books which are designed to shock/titillate. (29.7) 22.28

Can I Change the Way I Look?: A Teen’s Guide to the Health Implications of Cosmetic Surgery, Makeovers, and Beyond (The Science of Health) (The Science of Health) Autumn Libal 2005

Health information project. SLJ on Amazon: In addition to being a great introduction to the topic, this book can also be used to spark discussions about self-esteem and media literacy. (24.95) 18.67

Am I Fat?: The Obesity Issue for Teens (Issues in Focus Today) Kathlyn Gay 2006

OBESITY: SLJ on Amazon: lays a solid foundation on which to tackle the topic of unhealthy weight-loss strategies. Different types of eating disorders and unhealthy diets are discussed, showing teens the dangers of such drastic methods. The pros and cons of weight-loss surgery are described. (31.93) 24.65

No Body’s Perfect: Stories by Teens about Body Image, Self-Acceptance, and the Search for Identity Kimberly Kirberger 2003

WEIGHT: TEEN VOICES SLJ on Amazon: Gently, and at times not so gently, Kirberger’s collection coaxes readers to find answers for themselves through the experiences of other teenagers. (11) 8.25

The Facts About Steroids (Drugs) Suzanne Levert 2004

Best Books for high school readers, 2006 supplement to the first edition: examines effects of steroids on users, health risks, and laws governing use. (39.93) 29.99

Drug Information for Teens: Health Tips About the Physical And Mental Effects of Substance Abuse Sandra Augustyn Lawton 2006

BACKBONE REFERENCE: SLJ on Amazon:addresses substances such as marijuana, inhalants, hallucinogens, opiates, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, sports and herbal supplements, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and chemicals. Solid, thoughtful advice is given about how to handle peer pressure, drug-related health concerns, and treatment strategies. (65) 48.75

Mental Health Information for Teens: Health Tips About Mental Wellness and Mental Illness : Including Facts About Mental and Emotional Health, Depression … Mood Disorders, Self-injury Karen Bellenir (Editor) 2006

BACKBONE REFERENCE: SLJ on Amazon: due to the book’s valuable content, it is an excellent resource, especially for collections that do not have the earlier edition (65) 48.75

Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa Joan Jacobs Brumberg 1999

ANOREXIA: My daughter loved this book. I read it too. Fascinating. Amazon: Winner of four major awards, this updated edition of Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s Fasting Girls, presents a history of women’s food-refusal dating back as far as the sixteenth century. (11.25) 8.44

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.) Marya Hornbacher 2003

SLJ on Amazon: Hornbacher talks about possible causes for the illnesses and describes feeling isolated, being in complete denial, and not wanting to change or fearing change, until she nearly died. Young people will connect with this compelling and authentic story. (11.16) 8.37

Go Ask Ogre: Letters From A Deathrock Cutter Jolene Siana 2005

Health Information project. SLJ on Amazon: Like most cutters, those who injure themselves as a physical manifestation of their inner pain, Siana felt powerless as her life spun out of control. Rereading the letters years later, she realized that expressing herself through this way had saved her life. (14.78) 11.07

I Don’t Want To Be Crazy Samantha Schutz 2006

ANXIETY DISORDER: SLJ on Amazon: : In this “memoir in verse,” Schutz comes to terms with an anxiety disorder that surfaced and plagued her throughout and after her college years. (7.99) 6.00

The Truth About Fear And Depression (Truth About) Richelle, Ph.D. Rennegarbe 2004

DEPRESSION/ANXIETY: Recommended by SLJ. Barnes and Noble: presents facts and information for teens about depression and anxiety in a reader-friendly format featuring accessible language, questions and answers, boxes on facts and tips, and stories of teens combating depression and anxiety. Picked by Health Information Project (35) 26.25

Beast Within

Conquering the Beast Within: How I Fought Depression and Won…and How You Can, Too Cait Irwin 2000 graphic novel

Picked by Health information project. SLJ on Amazon. : It is written like a child’s storybook, complete with scary beasts and drawings by the author, yet is deadly serious. Its strength is that Irwin portrays depression as an illness, not a sign of weakness. (23.45) 17.59

Pedro and Me Judd Winick 2001 graphic novel fomat

AIDS/LOSS: “Health Information project pick. Pub.Wkly on Amazon: In this powerful and captivating graphic novel, Winick, a professional cartoonist and cast member of MTV’s The Real World 3: San Francisco, pays tribute to Pedro Zamora, an AIDS activist and educator who died of the disease in 1994. sure to attract a broad cross section of teens…” (24.60) 18.45

Help Yourself for Teens: Real-Life Advice for Real-Life Challenges Dave Pelzer 2005

EMPOWERMENT: Best Books for high school readers. Teens love Pelzer. Amazon: He offers teenagers practical solutions for overcoming their own hardships, focusing on three areas: facing current and past problems; realizing the importance of decisions; and finally, never giving up on oneself. (11) 8.25

In Love and In Danger: A Teen’s Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships Barrie Levy 2006

Amazon: According to author Barrie Levy, as many as one out of three high school and college-age youth experiences violence in his or her intimate or dating relationships. (11) 8.25

Bullying: How To Deal With Taunting, Teasing, And Tormenting (Issues in Focus Today) Kathleen Winkler 2005

BULLYING: Health Information Project. Also SLJ on Amazon: In straightforward and clear language, she uses conversations with teens, quotes from magazine and newspaper articles, interviews with professional therapists and school officials, to provide a readable discussion of what bullying is, why bullies do what they do, and why victims take it. (30.33) 22.75

Teen Ink: What Matters (Teen Ink Series) Stephanie H. Meyer 2003

ON HEALTH (among other things) Health Information Project. Teen Ink. Some selections are better written than others, but all adhere to the purpose of the book, which is to allow teens to express their values, priorities, goals, and fears. (11) 8.25

The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities David Levithan 2006

Health Information Project. SLJ on Amazon: 40 essays, mini-autobiographies, poems, and photographs that chronicle the lives of 21st-century young people, ages 13 to 23. The handsomely dense package includes real-life stories about coming out, falling in and out of love, mistaken identities, families and friends, misplaced affection, confronting homophobia, and more. (17.99) 13.50

GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens Kelly Huegel 2003

Class presenation. Health Information Project. SLJ on Amazon: A great choice for teens who are gay or questioning their sexuality, or even those who would like to know more about what it’s like to be queer (Huegel says it’s “a great word because it frees you from using a more specific label if you don’t want to”). (25.7) 19.28

The Sibling Slam Book: What It’s Really Like To Have A Brother Or Sister With Special Needs Don Meyer 2005

SLJ on Amazon: Comments by 81 young people display the recurring theme of optimism, complicated by hard work, dedication, resentment, and fierce protection, all as by-products of love. (10.85) 7.67

Stepliving for Teens: Getting Along with Stepparents, Parents, and Siblings(Plugged In) Joel D. Block 2001

MENTAL HEALTH: SLJ on Amazon: authors address pressing issues from a can-do perspective, using the voices of several teens and parents who have gone through it all. Providing more than just scenarios and outcomes, the authors go through the decision-making process showing how to face problems or fears and overcome them. (13.40) 10.00

100 DemonsOne Hundred Demons (Alex Awards Lynda Berry 2005, Graphic novel format

MENTAL HEALTH: Amazon: “Barry uses an Asian painting exercise called “One Hundred Demons” to organize and connect 17 “autobifictionalographic” stories in which she meditates on a variety of demons that include pretentious boyfriends, lost childhood friends, family relationships, and even the 2000 presidential election” (18.96) 14.22

Complementary And Alternative Medicine Information for Teens: Health Tips About Non-Traditional And Non-Western Medical Practices Sandra Augustyn Lawton (Editor) 2006

Health information project. SLJ on Amazon: due to the book’s valuable content, this is a useful resource, especially for collections that do not have other titles on the topic. (65) 48.75

Grand total: $802.82.

V. Resources elsewhere:
The adult nonfiction section has family medical guides and a few good titles on viruses like the Hot Zone by Richard Preston. There are diet books galore over there too, along with books on weight training and fitness that would suit the physical dimensions of most high schoolers. Also books about grieving and loss. Other parts of the YA non fiction section include some titles on teen parenting and alcoholism, as well as physical and sexual abuse in the context of relationships. Elsewhere are two good books on make up and beauty, one by Bobbi Brown. Except for a couple memoirs, none of the books I put on my to-buy list duplicate other titles in either the YA or adult non-fiction stacks. I think it’s worth getting extra copies of the memoirs for YA health, because the books are topical as well as literary–and this might be the only place in the library teens are likely to pick them off the shelves.

Computer LabPrint versus the Web: As you’ll see in my list of references, I spent a fair amount of time looking through books about books. But for every one minute I spent with print reference sources, I spent 30 minutes on the Web–browsing browsing browsing.
I have a feeling that ratio may also describe how teens go about looking for health information. In the long run, maybe all this health information will be served up on an incredible easy to use database. And kids won’t need their library barcodes to browse the database, which of course will also be filled with great pictures and every teen in Quincy will HAVE a computer which is not the case right now.

But what these print sources give teens in Quincy is quality and accuracy, and the chance to look through a book that might attract their attention just because of the title: Sex! Pregnancy! Drugs! Cosmetic Surgery! and perhaps pick up some information around the particular topic they are interested in. I think books on health may be more appealing to teens than other reference and Non fiction materials. Like a magazine or website, they are often intended to be good for browsing and the content is often just amazing–because the human body and the human mind are amazing.

I’m not ready to write off books yet, even big reference-style books. As long as teachers are requiring print resources, we should have those resources. And they should be up to date, with even more up to date copies of medical guides available as non circulating reference items–and the YA section should be well stocked enough and well weeded enough that kids can look around and find a lot of this information without asking a librarian or adult for help.

Final thought: That was the hardest 800 bucks I ever spent. This may have cured me of my fascination for All Things Health.

VI. References
Cords, S. (2006) The real story:A guide to non-fiction reading interests. (R. Burgin, Ed.) Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Gillespie, J.T. & Barr, C. (2006) Best books for high school readers: supplement to the first edition. Westport, CT:Libraries Unlimited.

Gillespie, J.T. & Barr, C. (2006) Best books for middle school and junior high school readers: supplement to the first edition. Westport, CT:Libraries Unlimited.

Jones, P., Gorman, M., & Suellentrop, T. (2004) Connecting Young Adults and Libraries (3rd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Silvey, A. (2006) 500 great books for teens. New York: Houghton Mifflin

In addition to these print resources, I spent a lot of time on Amazon.com; the Health Information Project: Non fiction titles, hosted by the Mid-Hudson Library systems @http://hip.midhudson.org/hip_nonfictiontitles.htm; Voya, yalsa, the Boston Public Library website, and TeenInk.

VII. FEEDBACK: Simmons Professor Linda Braun
Your list of questions related to teens and what they know, don’t know, read, don’t read hits on key issues of collection development in general and non-fiction collection development specifically. The questions demonstrate the need to know about the teens in the community and the need not to generalize about teens in the world. That’s what makes collection development so difficult and also such a good challenge. What are the right materials to buy for the teens that we serve in a particular community? The way to find that out is to ask questions and of course whenever possible to talk to teens.

You mention that titles you might purchase today could end up in the dustbin in a year. That’s something that librarians have a really hard time with but is incredibly important, particularly in the topic are you focused on and with the teen age group. Once a health collection is developed it has to be developed on a regular basis. Throw stuff out after a year – and sometimes less – buy new stuff all the time in order to fill in gaps, update, and replace.

This sentence, “The size of the budget is less important than the philosophy behind the book selections…” really struck me as a key point. It’s the first domino that has to fall in order to make everything else happen. If the mindset is right then no matter what the budget starts at, teen collections and services can grow and improve.

That phrase “hi-quality” gives me pause when I think about it in terms of collection development for teens. (Or anyone else I suppose.) Of course we want hi-quality materials on the shelf but hi-quality might not mean the same thing to everyone. If someone is thinking about hi-quality in terms of writing quality there are things you might want to buy that wouldn’t fit. It would be great if that phrase was actually left off and then the criteria simply defined the way materials were selected. Does that make sense?

You mention that maybe you could have been more ruthless in the weeding of the titles on the shelf currently. Definitely true! It takes a little practice but it can be done. Remember, that you don’t have to be afraid of getting rid of something that someone some day might want. In most cases it doesn’t happen and when it does you can get it somewhere else.

Be careful about series titles on health topics. The Chelsea House series is probably good for school reports, but if teens aren’t needing that kind of thing for school then go without. The series tend to look very school-y and that gives the whole collection a feel you might not want to have.

  • Something that has gone out once in 3 years can definitely go!
  • This is a title – What’s going on down there?Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask – you can weed and replace with something newer easily. At almost 10 years old it a little dated and it’s also a little young.
  • For the Mavis Jukes titles which are still good, buy new copies so they shine and stand out like the rest of the items you are going to add to the collection.
  • The Lynn Madaras titles are on the edge in terms of age. You could weed and replace with newer titles. Even if you buy more than one copy of something on a similar theme.
  • You’re right, “Go find that poor child who just checked out this book” This is exactly why we can’t let collections sit to be reviewed every five years or so. The collection is a living breathing thing.
  • West Nile might be of interest to you and me but it’s not worth storing/warehousing on the shelf. Delete and get it from ILL if someone wants.
  • I have little knowledge about Cystic Fibrosis but it makes me nervous that this title is over 5 years old. It may have simply gone out because that’s all there was/is. Weed and look for something newer. Talk with someone in the community who knows the topic and get recommendations from that person.
  • Yes weed multiple sclerosis too. Talk to people who know and find something more current.
  • I worry too about a book on depression from 1999. Newer stuff probably has more current info. on drugs, web sites, support groups, etc. Definitely replace with newer edition.
  • Keeping an AIDs book from 1993. Really? That should definitely be weeded no matter what the reviews said.
  • Yes, weed The Other Side of the Mountain
  • Dibs is a precursor to A Child Called It – get some new paperback copies and ditch the 1960s version.

In terms of replacements be careful about buying titles that are more than a couple of years old. In this topic area anything that is already 3 or 4 years old definitely has a very short shelf life. It’s better to buy a couple of copies of one newer title than one copy of something published 4 years ago – at least in this topic area. Remember it’s the currency of the info. and the currency of the resources – web sites, etc. go out of date as does the basic content of the volume.

Of course the above doesn’t hold true for everything. Something like Fasting Girls and Dibs lives for a long time. So too does something like Teen Ink that focuses on stories as opposed to facts.

Pedro and Me should probably be shelved with graphic novels but it definitely fits the topic. Ditto for the other graphic novels that you added to the list.

I sure hope they update Changing Bodies Changing Selves very soon.

You have good ideas here. With some more ruthless weeding and some more updating this collection could really be quite something for teens. It will make a splash and show that the library is interested in a topic teens are interested in. It can help start discussions and bring in some new teens to the library.

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