Creating PDFs -WSJ

Creating Documents for All to Read– WSJ

–by Katherine Boehret

Mossberg Solution, August 8 page D9 of the Wall Street Journal

For years, people have accessed a variety of digital content in one of the most universally accepted formats: Adobe’s Portable Document Format, better known as the PDF. A PDF holds images and text without altering a document’s original fonts and layout. It can be searched, protected with a password, disabled from printing and enriched with bookmarks and hyperlinks that make it more navigable.

But while Adobe provides a free reader for viewing PDFs, creating PDFs yourself can be costly and confusing, even though the format is great for saving and sharing documents of almost any kind including images, Web pages, Word documents and emails. For users who want higher-end PDF creation and collaboration software, Adobe Systems Inc. offers its $450 Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional software program. But that’s pricey for most casual users. So this week I tested some inexpensive or free methods for making PDFs.

There are plenty of Windows programs available for download online that will help you create basic PDFs. On Windows computers, I tried three programs, starting with the $20 standard version of deskPDF from Plano, Texas-based Docudesk Corp. (www.Docudesk.com1). I tested a stripped-down and less-expensive version of Adobe’s program called Create Adobe PDF Online, which works by uploading your document at www.CreatePDF.com2 and costs $10 monthly or $100 annually. And I also used a free program called CutePDF from Acro Software Inc. (www.CutePDF.com3).

If you own a Mac, things are even simpler. Macs come out of the box with the ability to turn documents into PDFs, and I tested that function as well.

DeskPDF and CutePDF worked roughly the same way, though deskPDF costs $20 and CutePDF is free. Adobe’s less-expensive program offered a few more features than deskPDF and CutePDF, such as the ability to add password encryption to a document or to make it unprintable by others. Making PDFs on the Mac was a cinch, including options to compress or encrypt a PDF. None of these methods allowed me to add extra features to PDFs like bookmarks and hyperlinks; for that, you’ll need a more serious program.

When Microsoft’s Office 2007 program shipped early this year, many people expected that it would have the built-in ability to save documents in PDF format; it didn’t. Users can find a patch that fixes this on Microsoft’s Web site.

Apple’s operating system has long been known for the ease with which it can create PDFs using built-in tools. Put simply, any document that can be printed from a Mac can also be turned into a PDF. Users follow the normal steps necessary to print a document or Web site (usually File, Print), but can choose a button on the Print screen labeled “PDF” that converts the document.

In seconds, I turned all types of documents on my iMac into PDFs, including images in JPEG and TIF formats, emails, Word documents and Web sites. This last conversion was helpful for saving not just a view of the current screen, but the entire site from the top of the page to the bottom.

Options labeled “Compress PDF” and “Encrypt PDF” can be chosen in this Print screen. I chose Encrypt PDF and protected a PDF using a password in one quick step. The option to compress a PDF will decrease the size of an image in a document, but won’t decrease the size of a text-only document.

Two of the three Windows programs use a method similar to Apple’s, letting me send documents or Web sites into print mode and converting them into PDFs. Downloading and installing deskPDF or CutePDF adds a virtual printer driver to the computer. Rather than choosing a separate button labeled “PDF,” the conversion program is selected from a list of printers, and hitting the Print button saves the document as a PDF file. The first time I did this, I thought my document was printed rather than saved because a printer icon appeared in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, as if the document was printing. But a screen appeared asking where I wanted to save the new PDF, and I specified a location.

Docudesk offers free 24-hour technical support with all of its deskPDF programs, even trial versions. The company also touts its $40 deskUNPDF program, which restores PDFs to Word documents for editing purposes, one of the features also found in Adobe’s $450 product.

CutePDF writer and deskPDF must be used with separately installed converter programs, but these are small and free, and their installation is prompted after each of the core programs is downloaded. Both programs are also offered in upgraded versions that cost $50 for CutePDF Pro and $30 for deskPDF Pro, enabling advanced features like hyperlinks, encryption, password protection and printing restrictions.

Adobe’s Create Adobe PDF Online program offers a few more features than the others, but feels a bit disconnected because it uploads documents to the Web for PDF conversion rather than converting documents in an installed program.

An option called Create Adobe PDF Online Printer installs a printer driver on your PC, like deskPDF and CutePDF. But this saves your PDF online forcing you to retrieve it via Adobe’s Web site, an emailed link or an emailed attachment.

After registering to use Adobe’s online conversion product, users must select the file or Web page intended for PDF conversion. Security features are optional with each document, such as requiring a password to view it or not allowing others to print it. I tried both successfully. Once converted, a document can be delivered to you via email in a link or attachment. It can also be retrieved from a Conversion History section on the site or converted directly on the site.

Most of these conversion programs are available in some free capacity. DeskPDF can be used five times free of charge in the standard and professional versions before it starts adding a watermark to each PDF, which is intrusive. Adobe’s program can be used five times for each email that you register before you must subscribe to its conversion service.

If you need to save a document in a format that has the greatest likelihood of being viewable by all of your recipients, PDFs are the way to go, and they aren’t difficult to make.


Life of Pi“So what catapults Life of Pi and The Lovely Bones to the elusive reading list club? Both are bildungsromans, or stories of young people coming of age. Ms. Nilsen says this theme is crucial for reading list inclusion, as youth need to feel a connection to the literature. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is an example of a long-lasting bildungsroman. The 1951 book was widely panned for its controversial subject matter, but it soon won the hearts of American teens.”

Byline: Amy Brittain Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

Date: 08/08/2007

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens’s famous line in “A Tale of Two Cities” could be used to describe what is probably hitting home about now for millions of American high school students: Lazy summer days cut short by the frantic rush to finish required reading lists before school starts. “Most teens spend the summer doing whatever, and then cram the reading in during the last two weeks,” says 2007 high school graduate Henry Qin of Boston.

Precious summer minutes spent poring over Shakespeare or Nathaniel Hawthorne may seem less than appealing to teens, but some experts say there is a slowly growing trend to infuse more modern literature into summer reading. As a result, the revered literary cannon, which includes such classics as “Hamlet,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “The Scarlet Letter,” may be due for a shake-up. Glance at high school summer reading lists across the United States and you are likely to find more recent authors such as Alice Sebold, Walter Dean Myers, and even Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong alongside Dickens and the Bronte sisters.

“The natural evolution of these lists is that they expand and include voices that are underrepresented,” says American Library Association (ALA) president Loriene Roy. “If you don’t include authors like Amy Tan or Virginia Woolfe, what does that mean? A lot of discussions have come up over the last 20 years over what one needs to know. [The question is], ‘Who do you bump off?’ ”

Summer reading lists vary widely. Some high schools require books and even give essay assignments to be completed by the first day of school. Mr. Qin of Boston still remembers his frenzied rush to finish Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” before his high school freshman year. “I didn’t understand why we were reading it,” says Qin, who will be a freshman at Duke this fall. “Summer reading is a good thing if and only if there’s a context for it. I don’t like the idea of just handing us a list. If you say, ‘Read these books,’ tell us why.” Other schools choose a more flexible model and present students a list with choices often recommended by local librarians. But what is clear: Cementing one’s status on a required reading list is no easy feat, as librarians or summer reading committee members must argue to bump a classic for a book with undetermined longevity.

Practical concerns such as budget and time cause administrators to resist including recent young adult literature, or literature geared toward 12- to 18-year-olds, on required lists, says Beth Yoke, executive director of Young Adult Library Services Association, which is the fastest growing division of the ALA. But Ms. Yoke says she sees a trend to include more diverse literature in required reading. “Kids want books that they can identify with,” she says. They want to see an African-American character, or a Muslim character, or a strong female character.” Yoke says that it often takes at least a generation for a new young adult book to make required lists. “If you’re doing required reading in schools, you’ve got to buy a bazillion copies of these books and you have to have developed the lesson plans of all that supplementary material,” she says by telephone. “Teachers have been teaching ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ forever and a day, and they don’t want to have to develop all new materials.”

In addition, educators feel that classics still have important lessons to teach, even if they are from different time periods. Betsy Ginsburg, a librarian who edits a recommended reading list from the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network, says a variety of summer reading is crucial for intellectual breadth. Schools, she says, should keep classics on lists since they frequently relate to students’ curriculum and capture a time and place in history.

For the most part, reading lists are still heavy on classics. But consider the differences between reading lists from the 1960s and those in the 1980s. Of the nine most commonly taught books in public high schools in 1963, only one (the 1938 play “Our Town”) was written in the 20th century. By 1988, the 10 most commonly taught novels in public schools included four books from the 20th century: “The Great Gatsby” (1925), “Of Mice and Men” (1937), “Lord of the Flies” (1954), and “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1960). But not all novels take a generation to catapult to required summer reading lists. Some new staples in summer reading lists: “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” by Mark Haddon, “Monster” by Walter Dean Myer, and “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold.

“Ten years ago, these reading lists didn’t have new books like that,” says Alleen Nilsen, Arizona State University English professor and co-author of the textbook Literature for Today’s Young Adult. “These are really popular new books.” So what catapults “Life of Pi” and “The Lovely Bones” to the elusive reading list club? Both are bildungsromans, or stories of young people coming of age. Ms. Nilsen says this theme is crucial for reading list inclusion, as youth need to feel a connection to the literature. J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” is an example of a long-lasting bildungsroman. The 1951 book was widely panned for its controversial subject matter, but it soon won the hearts of American teens.

“That was a book done for adults, but kids loved that book,” Nilsen says by telephone. “Every year there are like 10 books that get compared, and it’s like, ‘Oh, this is the new “Catcher in the Rye.” ‘ Of course, none of them ever are. But they’re in that style — the flip, honest kid that’s critical.”

Nilsen says she understands why teens are frustrated with heavy assigned summer reading but says she’s encouraged by the modernization trend. Her own granddaughter has chosen to read the young adult award-winner “Monster” rather than a difficult classic. “It used to be, no matter where you were in high school, you got this list of classics that the value was to talk about them with other people, not to read them yourself,” she says. “We’re taking this lesson from the [physical education] teachers. Rather than making kids do these things they hate, they’re letting them choose what they want to do, so that when they’re adults, they’ll keep exercising. Summer reading is the perfect time if we want to get kids to read the rest of their lives without us sitting over their heads and telling them what to read. Let them … just lose themselves in a good book.”

 Blood, Sweet Blood!

THE PROJECT: It was love at first bite. Readers have embraced Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series — there are now 1.6 million copies in print in the U.S. of her first two titles, “Twilight” (2005) and “New Moon” (2006). On Aug. 7, Lagardère SCA’s Little Brown for Young Readers imprint is publishing one million copies of the next title in the series, “Eclipse.” “This is our largest first printing ever for a young-adult author,” says Andrew Smith, associate publisher. “Sales get bigger every month.” The books have attracted readers of all ages, but the majority of fans at Ms. Meyer’s readings are teenage girls. Her first effort, “Twilight,” has been sold to 28 countries.


THE BUZZ: Ms. Meyer will appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Aug. 7 and then set out on a 15-city national tour. There will also be a national ad campaign. For holiday gift-givers, Ms. Meyers’s publisher is issuing a three-volume hardcover set titled “The Twilight Collection” in November, priced at $55.

THE OUTLOOK: “This book will exceed her previous books by leaps and bounds, and will put her in the top tier of young-adult authors,” says Ben Ruby, a young-adult buyer for Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation’s largest book retailer. But the series may not be for everybody. “We try to be more literary in our selections,” says Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, N.C., which is ordering only 10 copies

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.


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

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


• 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


  • 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.

Graphic novels

I thought Runaways would be my first graphic novel. The pictures are gorgeous; the storyline seemed interesting; it reminded me of a not unpleasant two weeks I spent reading comic books in my sister’s sunny corner bedroom when I was 16 years old and recovering from whooping cough. But every time I opened that hardcover compilation of volumes 1-18, and felt the giant weight of 300? (unnumbered) pages of conversations in white bubbles, I gave up, and instead selected a plain old text narrative from our reading list of Young Adult novels.

In fact it was Dramacon, not the Runaways, that got me over the “story in pictures” hump. Dramacon, with its ever-so-slight but ever-so-easy-to-scan storyline, and dropping jaws and repartee dripping icicles or flames–depending on the characters’ shifting emotional barometers. I started reading it on the RedLine, from Quincy to Park Street. Then on the Green Line, from Park to The Museum of Fine Arts. Then walking, from the Museum to Simmons. And when I had to put it away? I immediately looked forward to my commute home so I could finish it. The perfect fast read for summer…or winter…or spring…or fall! Yes. Even for a 50 year old dyed in the wool English major–Dramacon exerted a strange and soothing fascination: who hasn’t had a head full of all the things we’d wished we’d said? Or an image of ourselves that is a world apart from what other people see.

I liked the low-techiness of manga. I liked how I got into a rhythm reading/scanning the pages. I liked that I read it better and enjoyed it more the less I worried about catching every word, and going instead for picking up the storyline and out-sized characters and, oh yeah!–the drama! the pulp paper equivalent to an afternoon soap opera for teens with a sense of humor as well as angst. Even now, writing this entry, I’m thinking–I can’t believe I read–and liked!–manga. I don’t know whether to feel like I’m just a little bit hip–or like I’m “chasing it”– a middle aged librarian dressing in in too-short, too-tight Abercrombie and Fitch. I kept the cover covered on the subway.

After Dramacon, American Born Chinese seemed easy. The pictures were easy to follow, and the various story lines and text–while complicated–were both fresh and interesting. I liked the lay out too–not so many pictures that I couldn’t take in the frames with ease, and not stumble on my way from page to page. It wasn’t until our class discussion of ABC that it occurred to me that the book might be little too much to my taste–that of an adult reader rather than a teen reader. More an award winner than a teen crowd pleaser. A point I have found myself coming back to again and again, because it makes me realize I tend to be a slave to award lists–not a quality you necessarily want when it comes to recommending books for reluctant readers.

Overall though, our class discussion of American Born Chinese was most useful as a starting point not for examining the values of personal identity, but for discussing a book with this format. How the lay out and pictures and visual cues and visual “tone” contribute to the meaning and experience of the story. I can (unfortunately it sometimes seems to me) talk about identity until hell freezes over–but i have a limited vocabulary and background when it comes to manga and graphic novels.

After both Dramcon and American Born Chinese and our visit with Robin over at Brookline Library, I thought Runaways would finally be the lush walk in the park I had expected when I first cracked the cover. Not so! Isn’t that strange? Mostly it was the size and design: the pictures were more dynamic than the ones in ABC and Dramacon–and without page numbers and white space borders, I had trouble orienting myself to the page. I felt like the story was getting ahead of me; that I couldn’t organize it as well in my mind as I can a narrative or a graphic novel with fewer and smaller frames per page.

This is not a criticism of the book or the storyline, which are both good examples of teen empowerment. I think my own experience would make my recommendation of this title to teen readers more informed and genuine–especially if the reader were new to graphic novels. I’d be more sympathetic to a reader who shied away from the picture format, and more apt to encourage them to stick with it, or to try some other selections that might “feel” more inviting and easier to eyeball.

Finally–Cathy’s Book. Teens–especially and perhaps exclusively!–girls, might be charmed and intrigued by the doodling in the margins, the important bits of paper stuck in the cover, the sketches of the main characters, and the cross outs that suggest a work endlessly in revision. In some ways, this felt like the equivalent of spending a long afternoon with your best friend dressing up paper dolls and fabricating a fantastic life story to go with each new outfit.

I liked the mystery part of the novel. I generally liked the characters. I liked the ethnic diversity. I liked the humor. I liked the girls’ independence and close friendship. I liked having bad guys in there who seem genuinely threatening. I didn’t take it too seriously, but seriously enough to want to know how everything turned out. I mostly liked the format, because at the same time it seemed a little precious and cliched–it wasn’t a format I’d seen before, and I did think it is one that might have at least browsing appeal to teens.

Put all that stuff together though, and I had the sense of a book that was trying to serve too many masters. I became too aware of the process and design of the book to lose myself fully in the story.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Would girls like it? Is it for tweens or teens? Is the age difference between Cathy and Victor problematic? Is the dialog a little too cute? I’m not sure. I also don’t know whether to marvel at the fact that borrowers had not lost any of the “parts” of the book–or whether to assume that maybe they had not actually opened the envelope and explored all those bits and pieces.

I tried to interest my 13 year old in this book, but after a dutiful glance she put it aside and within a day it was buried under napkins and magazines and volumes 1-6 of Harry Potter.

I do know that I might never have given these books a chance if they had not been on our reading list. That would have been a loss–not just for me, but more importantly, for teens who might come to the library–and to me– looking for a suggestion on what to read.

I don’t know how you put together your reading list for LIS 483, but from my perspective, this syllabus is valuable less for the absolute quality of each book; more for the fact that the list as a whole and the themes around which each week is organized, made me think outside the box and get in touch with my own personal biases as a reader, as an adult, and as Jessie Thuma. If I can take that awareness with me into the workplace, LIS 483 will have exceeded its promised outcomes.

Discord Over Dewey
A New Library in Arizona Fans a Heated Debate
Over What Some Call the ‘Googlization’ of Libraries
July 20, 2007

By all accounts, patrons of the Perry Branch Library in Gilbert, Ariz., are happy with the new digs.

Since the doors opened last month, visitors have checked out about 900 items a day, far more than the 100 to 150 that typically circulate daily in nearby branches, said Harry Courtright, director of the Maricopa County library district. Part of the branch’s appeal has come from the addition of bookstore-like features, including lower shelves, lounge furniture and displays of popular titles.

But it’s what’s missing from the library that has drawn the most attention: Perry abandoned the Dewey Decimal Classification System for its books, whose spines instead carry labels with plain-English subjects such as “history” and “weddings.” Instead of locating books by the traditional numerical system, patrons use a computerized catalog to find out which subject a book has been filed under, and then follow signs posted throughout the library. Many visitors skip the catalog altogether, and just head for the aisles that interest them.

The opening of a Dewey-free facility has sparked heated debate in the library world. “The day that the Maricopa news hit, I just had to steel myself,” said Karen Schneider, a moderator for PubLib, an online discussion list where comments blasting the move have been running about even with those praising the new library.

In defending Dewey, some have decried what they call the “Barnes & Nobling” and “Googlization” of libraries. On blogs and newsgroups, more than one commenter fumed “Have you ever tried finding something at a bookstore?” Some pointed out that Dewey is already essentially a list of subject headings, whose call numbers specify exactly where each book should be placed on the shelves. Many libraries print those subject headings on shelves under books.

Others, however, praised Perry’s decision, saying doing away with the inscrutable codes makes libraries easier to browse and more approachable.

A Broader Debate

But the debate, say many librarians, is about more than one branch’s organizational system. It feeds into a broader, increasingly urgent discussion about libraries, where a growing number of patrons, used to Google and Yahoo, simply don’t look for books and information the way they used to. Some are drawing on cues from the Internet in proposals for overhauls of cataloging systems, but others are more hesitant, saying that the Web’s tendency to provide thousands of somewhat-relevant results flies in the face of the carefully tailored research libraries pride themselves on.

Although the divide isn’t as simple as young versus old, both have passionate adherents. “It’s a religious war at this point,” said Ross Singer, an application developer at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s library. He has been frustrated by some computerized library catalogs that aren’t as “smart” as Internet search engines, where a query for “Ernest Hemingway” may not yield results when “Hemingway, Ernest” does.

Putting the Dewey debate aside, there is broad agreement among librarians that more can be done in the way of spiffing up catalogs. Such databases often include only three or four subject headings for each book — a throwback to physical card catalogs, which had limited space — making more complex subject searches, which users are accustomed to trying in search engines, fruitless. “We’re not addressing the fact that the world is changing around us,” he said. “Some people just want to find things, without doing a whole lot of work.”

“We may want people to spend hours learning our arcane systems, but the reality is they’re going to default to the path of least resistance,” PubLib’s Ms. Schneider said. “We need to be in that path.”

Developed by Melvil Dewey in the 1870s, the Dewey Decimal Classification is used by more than 200,000 libraries world-wide. Translations have been completed or are in progress in more than 30 languages, including Arabic, Icelandic and Vietnamese, and it is regularly updated. Since 1988, the system has been owned by the Online Computer Library Center, a Dublin, Ohio, cataloging and research nonprofit group, and editors are based around the world, including within the Library of Congress, to discuss additions and changes. It remains very much the law of the land: Some 95% of U.S. public libraries use Dewey, and nearly all of the others, the OCLC says, use a closely related Library of Congress system.

Dewey has come under attack before. Its critics are quick to point out, for example, that the religion section (200-299) overrepresents Christianity, spanning 220 (Bible) to 289 (Other denominations & sects). Other faiths, such as Judaism (296), get just one division, while Islam is lumped with Babism and Bahai Faith at 297. The 600s, which are classified as technology, include everything from hydraulic engineering (627) to leather and fur processing (675), but not topics related to computer science (004-006).

Finding Your Way to France

But Dewey loyalists are far from extinct, even among younger librarians, who worry that simple subject headings aren’t specific enough to keep a collection organized. For example, looking for books about traveling in France leads right to 914.4 in any library using Dewey, while those books might be scattered throughout a travel or European section in a less-specific system, said Sarah Houghton-Jan, a San Mateo, Calif., librarian.

Dewey’s consistency across language and regional barriers is another advantage, said Joan Mitchell, the OCLC’s editor in chief for the system (and in case there’s any question about where her loyalties lie, a link off the official Dewey blog1 lists her interests as 641.5; 746.432; 782; 787.87; 796.935; 800 and 914-919). A German librarian launched that country’s translation, she noted, after visiting U.S. libraries in metropolitan areas and an Indian reservation and finding the books were organized the same way in both.

The outcry over the Perry library didn’t surprise the district’s Mr. Courtright, who also introduced self-service checkout and check-in at the district branches. “We’ve done a number of ‘innovations,’ and every time we do something, there are those that think it’s heresy,” he said. The fast-growing area southeast of Phoenix is projected to open a new branch each year for the next 10 to 15 years, he said, and they will all use the Dewey-less system.

Last month, Michael Gorman, a past president of the American Library Association who recently retired as dean of library services at California State University, Fresno, penned an penned an essay2 on Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc.’s blog that, among other things, criticized the Internet as a research tool. Search engines return too many irrelevant and disreputable sources, he said, and students have become dismissive of the idea that libraries provide information beyond what’s online. “I honestly thought that these were not controversial ideas,” he said.

Mr. Gorman, whose writing has provoked technophiles before, was roundly criticized in librarian blogs and other online communities. The responses he’s read, including ones disagreeing with him, were “very solid,” he said, adding that even raising these concerns can get a person marked as a Luddite.

But even tech-savvy librarians often have a complicated relationship with Google. “Google’s great. Find me a librarian that doesn’t use Google,” said Jessamyn West, a Bethel, Vt., librarian who runs the blog Librarian.net3. What bothers those in the profession, she said, is that increasingly, patrons only know about keyword searching, when catalogs provide several other ways of looking up entries. “There are other ways of slicing information that aren’t the way Google decided to slice it,” she said.

“I think older patrons, they believe you have to kind of rassle with the online catalog a little bit, and it’s OK to spend a little bit of time to get exactly what you want,” she added. Young people are more likely to stop after a “good-enough” search. “It’s the difference between scholarship and ‘I just wanna kinda know about something,'” she said.

Millions of Results

Anthony McMullen, a librarian at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Penn., said he’s heard colleagues scoff at searches that result in millions of pages, which they think bewilder users, as well as searches that direct users to illegitimate sources of information.

But Mr. McMullen encourages keeping an open mind, noting that most users focus on the first 10 to 20 results and don’t get overwhelmed. And the Internet doesn’t have exclusive rights on inaccuracy, he added. “I could compile a lengthy bibliography of published books that support the notion that the Holocaust never occurred. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use books.”

The discussions over Dewey and Google are similar, said Michael Casey, in that they both relate to serving people who don’t want to learn a complicated system. Mr. Casey, a librarian and information-technology director in Gwinnett, Ga., who writes a blog called LibraryCrunch4, said that during a new branch’s recent construction, he began asking plumbers, inspectors and other construction workers whether they used libraries. Most said they couldn’t figure out how to find a book, he said. Although it didn’t give up Dewey classifications, the branch incorporated more subject signs as a result.

“Librarians like to think that we’re indispensable,” he said. “While I think that is true to a point, I don’t think we should continue to propagate the idea that we’re indispensable by keeping a complicated cataloging system.”

Write to Andrew LaVallee at andrew.lavallee@wsj.com5
URL for this article:

Hyperlinks in this Article:
(1) http://ddc.typepad.com/
(2) http://blogs.britannica.com/blog/main/2007/06/the-siren-song-of-the-internet-part-i/
(3) http://www.librarian.net/
(4) http://www.librarycrunch.com/
(5) mailto:andrew.lavallee@wsj.com

Sometimes, we don’t get the choice.

I don’t want to be crazy is as much a memoir of a disorder as it is a memoir of the person who suffers this disorder. The story is absorbing enough that this distinction is not necessarily one the reader will make on a conscious level, but it is nonetheless a distinction that drives the action and pulls the reader into Schutz’s world. The anxiety attacks that come out of nowhere on an otherwise fine day–that send Schultz packing whether she’s in a classroom at college or in France for her Junior Year Abroad–simply don’t care. They come and go with the indifference and weird majesty of any other Act of Nature–or God. And they leave destruction in their wake. We feel for the author–we also feel for the family. And what we feel–or at least what I feel–is not always sympathy. This, to me, is the beauty of I don’t want to be crazy: the reader is right there hyper-ventilating with Schutz–and the reader is also wondering (like a traitor!)–how can that be? She has so much! Can’t she just GET BETTER?? I mean–for crying out loud–the girl is at a restaurant in PARIS!

And in that moment–whether we know it or not, we have come face to face with the main character: uncontrollable panic. But it could also be anything else uncontrollable: paranoia; manic depression; anorexia; severe depression. Anything that lays claim to us, to our families, our friends–and, in a story well told–to the reader. At least for the hours we spend between the pages of books like this one.

By using blank verse rather than conventional narrative, Schutz telescopes her perspective without making us feel that we have lost important detail or context. When we see what looks like “poetry”–we are instantly prepared for a story that is pared down to its essentials. In this case, the chronology of events or the larger canvas of Schultz’s life play second fiddle to the effect on both of her anxiety disorder.

My 21 year old daughter is bi-polar. My father, my aunt, and my grandmother were also manic depressive. By the time I was in college, my father was making regular trips to the state hospital, and later, when age had put him beyond the embrace of a straitjacket–he spent time in private psychiatric hospitals. Some nicer than others. To the outside world, I think there is something persistently fascinating and even romantic about “madness”. But up close and personal? It’s like a 100 headed hydra: lop off any one head and two grow in its place. More exhausting and hopeless than it is creative, noble, or even just plain unfortunate.

But Schutz spares us too much commentary. Instead, she just takes us with her on her wild ride through one anxiety attack after another. In between, she is a college student like any other: she’s got boy problems, she’s got family problems, she’s got job problems, she has good shrinks and bad shrinks. She’s also got money and resources, and no matter how tempted we might be to pin the blame for the pressure she feels on her parents–the bottom line is that mental illness and mental disorders can create a hell even out of Eden. It happens that Schutz has a family and community that care for and about her; that she has the benefits of education, money, health insurance, and a roof over her head whether she works or not–and that she is articulate enough to tell us her story.

By pointing her reader to a list of mental health resources in the back of the book, Schutz is generous in reminding us that for every person like her, who has a face, and a name, and story we want to hear–there are thousands of other people whose lives are also dominated by a disorder or mental illness, and for whom there may be far less sympathy or understanding–or relief.

Yes–Linda–you are exactly right. It was reading this book that made me decide to blog about my daughter. Evan’s story is fragmented and haphazard. But I don’t want to be crazy made me think that’s OK. That stories can be told all different ways–and still be interesting and helpful. Evan’s story is written in all the journals she kept starting in the 5th grade. It’s written in my journals too. And it’s written in the fabulous and fearful collages Evan used to make, and in the hundreds of bracelets and necklaces she strung, using alphabet beads to spell out not-so-profound truths like “peas they judge me” and “hysterical mother”.

Maybe there IS a book in there. I keep thinking that’s the case. But the problem for me had always been–how to tell it so it isn’t a story about something that happened–it’s the thing itself. What it looked and felt and smelled like to be those people–in that situation.

I don’t want to be crazy is not just a good read. It’s Help with a capital H for any teen or any parent who has felt the trapdoor of sanity give way under their feet. It’s about friends and family and personal boundaries–and the absence of any boundaries at all. And it feels truthful. If you’re going to write about this stuff–you need to keep it close to the bone.

I’m really glad we read this book. Thank you.