The following article appears in the May 2014 issue of The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults.
Shari A. Lee
St. John’s University
The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults
Vol 4 (May 2014)
Published by Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
Public libraries have had a long, though decidedly less than adequate, tradition of serving teens. While there have been encouraging transformations occurring in many of these institutions, a significant number continue to lag in their efforts to serve this group. Underlying this lag is not only the dearth of research that examines public library services to teens but also the quality of several recently published books about teen library services. Building on a background discussion of the purpose that U.S. public libraries were meant to serve, the development and provision of library services to teens is considered with specific focus on issues that have influenced and/or presented barriers to these services. Finally, using a model for inquiry that draws on William Scott, who posits that institutions are comprised of three pillars that enable them to keep order and provide meaning to individuals, the paper proposes that researchers look to the institution rather than at the community for new insights on serving and connecting with teens as a user group in a more meaningful way.
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