Diversity Audits

Does this sound familiar: I want to do a diversity audit, I know I need to do one, but I…

  • Don’t have time
  • Don’t know where to start
  • Am overwhelmed by the thousands and thousands of materials in my YA collection
  • Identify with most of the dominate identities/cultures and I don’t know everything I should, I’ll miss things and make mistakes

If this sounds familiar, take 10-15 minutes to read Measuring Diversity in the Collection by Annabelle Mortensen. I just did and learned…

1. Start small: Identify one or two small, but high profile areas and just audit those materials. For example, only audit the books used in teen book club and videos used in teen movie nights last year.

2. Set a time limit: If the identity of the characters and authors isn’t clear, set a time limit for researching that information. The library featured in “Measuring Diversity in the Collection” set a time limit of 7-8 minutes. If they didn’t find the information they needed in 7-8 minutes, they marked the item as “unknown.”

3. Don’t recreate the wheel: Use the same tracking categories as the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Measuring Diversity in the Collection (which is adapted from CCBC), or this School Library Journal blog post.

4. Use an easier tool: Create and add data via a Google Form rather than creating and working in a spreadsheet.

5. Embrace discomfort: “It’s awkward and a bit unsettling to be actively looking for details on someone’s race or gender, not to mention that the entire exercise was naturally subjective, susceptible to user bias and errors… Nonetheless, we reasoned that a flawed audit would still be better than no audit at all.

6. Set diversity goals: After you view the results of your diversity audit, set a few goals. “Each library will have different criteria for its diversity goals, whether they are tied to local demographics, strategic initiatives, or other considerations.” Measuring Diversity in the Collection has a few ideas about what your library can do to accomplish its goals.

If you want more detailed information on diversity audits, you might read the Complete YA Collection Diversity Audit series by Karen Jensen on the School Library Journal Blog.

Mental Illness Narrative in YA Lit

The March 2019 issue of The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults includes an article about the representation of mental illness in young adult fiction by Diane Scrofano. I’m at the beginning of my learning on mental illness representation in literature. I understand that this article is not the only perspective and the suggested theory for reviewing mental illness in YA lit may not be the best theory. For me, it is a starting point and it may be for others too.

After reading the article, I had a couple of concerns. Trying to sort the plethora of YA novels of mental illness into only three story types seems like over simplifying something that is extremely complex and personal. I wonder if this degree of simplification could be emotionally harmful to folks experiencing mental illness and misleading to those who are not?

When Wonder by R.J. Palacio was published, I remember reading about the author’s story and concerns from readers that the main character’s role was to educate others about disfigurement, help others see people with disfigurements as “normal,” and make people without disfigurements feel comfortable. Whether or not we agree on this critique of Wonder specifically, it illustrates an important type of story that is by and/or for people not experiencing disfigurement, disability, or mental illness. Diane Scrofano doesn’t discuss this type of story in her article, and just touches on #OwnVoices a little bit. How are authors’ backgrounds taken into consideration in this theory? How are stereotypes and harmful tropes taken into consideration? Scrofano’s doesn’t explain her thinking enough for me to understand how she took these issues into consideration and how that thinking informed her theory.

On the other hand, I found learning about the three story types very helpful!

  1. Type 1 Novels: Restitution and Attempted Restitution

These types of stories focus on finding a cure, or figuring out how the character can get back to living how they did before the onset of mental illness. “While many novels feature characters in different stages of denial, other stories make a shift from denying the illness (or the need for help) into admitting but hiding the illness.”

  1. Type 2 Novels: Chaos

These types of stories focus on uncontrolled symptoms that can seem chaotic, typically before diagnosis. “While books about the onset and diagnosis of a mental illness are important, in reality life with mental illness plays out in a more complicated way than it would in a simple problem novel.”

  1. Type 3 Novels: Quest and Problematic Quest

These types of stories typically start with diagnosis and explore the journey to incorporation, emancipation, or recovery. “Novels that fall into this category will emphasize how characters rebuild their lives after the chaos and crisis stage”

Additionally, the author explored how all the types of novels may be helpful and harmful to teen readers. I recommend reading the article in full to get a broader and deeper understanding of disability narrative theory and how the Scrofano applies it to YA novels that include characters with mental illness. At least look at the chart on pages 10-12 that categorize about 50 YA novels of mental illness and the chart on page 6 that attempts to align a few disability narrative theories that may of particular interest.

Article citation:

Scrofano, D. (2019, March). Disability Narrative Theory and Young Adult Fiction of Mental Illness. The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, 10(1), Retrieved from http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/

Community College

CoverOfSpring2019CommunityCollegeIssue

Earlier this year, I wrote about nontraditional and vocational post-high school options. The Spring 2019 edition of the office journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association is the community college issues.

While are several good articles worth reading I want to discuss “Next Steps: Preparing Teens for Growth and Success at Community College” by Camila Jenkin, (pages 19-4). This article provides a few idea about how teen librarians and high school librarians might support older high school students transition to community college specifically. However, a lot of the suggestions are relevant to any type of college or university experience and some are also relevant to teens who go to trade school or enter the workforce after high school.

  • Talk with teen about who and how to ask for help, providing real life examples.
  • Invite current college students to be on a panel to discuss their college experience; be sure to include more than one first-generation student.
  • Talk with teen about how they find information, including the Internet and Library of Congress classification system.
  • Foster growth mindset thinking. “Many teens have been socialized to believe that they bring nothing of value.” Help them realize the valuable experiences and skills that they bring any college class… or trade school or job.
  • Encourage teens to join a club, study group, or similar soon after they start college—it can be more difficult for community college students to develop a social/support network at college and feel part of college life.
  • Learn about the options your local community college provides to students for getting text books—they are very expensive—and share that information with teens. They need to know their options before they start school, including Fair Use copyright, so they know what to do the first week off college when they don’t have their books yet.

OYAN Review: 2019 Spring

In this issues, learn about…
  • Goblins in the Library! (Salem Public Library)
  • Congratulations to OYEA Winner Danielle Jones
  • Deschutes Public Library’s Youth Lit Fest
  • 2019 Book Rave Titles Announced
  • Why Alex Gino Is Just the Best (Multnomah County Library’s Rockwood Branch)
  • And more!
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed an article — it’s really fun to get to share your accomplishments and experiences!

2019 Book Rave Now Available

2019 Book Rave (color brochure)

2019 Book Rave (black & white brochure)

The books on this list were published between November 1, 2017, and October 31, 2018. Titles were nominated by teens and library staff in Oregon. OYAN members voted to select the 20 titles on the list and worked to create a balanced list that includes a variety of genres and diverse titles. Learn more about the annual Book Rave and access past lists on the OYAN website.

Train the Trainers Opportunity: Transforming Teen Services

The State Library of Oregon is participating in YALSA’s Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach project and is recruiting two teen librarians to participate!

The selected teen librarians would participate in a 2.5 day face-to-face train the trainers with teen librarians from across the country. “Participants also have the opportunity to be leaders in the field and become the go-to people in their state and nationally.  Participation also provides opportunities to speak at local, regional, and national conferences and publish articles and blog posts about connected learning, computational thinking, and library youth services.”

Contact Greta Berquist (503-378-2528, greta.berquist@state.or.us) by May 1, 2019, if you have any questions and are interested in participating.

More information:

The State Library of Oregon’s Transforming Teen Services flyer

YALSA’s Train the Trainer webpage

ALA’s press release from 09/11/2018

ALA’s press release from 04/24/2018

 

2019 LGBTQIAP Booklists

The Teen Council at Multnomah County Library’s Hollywood Branch updated their LGBTQIAP booklists. These lists are created by teens and for teens, with one list for tweens.

Lesbian Characters in YA Books

Gay Characters YA Books

Bisexual Characters in YA Books

Transgender, Non-binary, and Genderqueer Characters in YA Books

Queer Anthologies and Nonfiction YA Books

Intersex, Asexual, Aromantic, Demisexual, or Pansexual Characters in YA Books

LGBTQ Characters/Families in Tween Books