The following article was first posted online on August 14, 2015.
It appears in the Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 6 (2015), published by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association.
Digital Systems Manager, Library, New York Academy of Medicine
Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults
This paper identifies and seeks to understand website models of U.S. public library websites for teens, also known as teen library websites (TLWs). TLWs are sections of public library websites devoted to teens and only teens. Few studies have focused on TLWs, and exploring this aspect of public libraries provided an understanding of how public libraries address teen needs via their websites.
TLWs were identified from the 2009 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) data file, a downloadable Excel document of all data available from the IMLS Public Libraries Survey.
Using web content analysis, 60 TLWs were analyzed in 2012 and reanalyzed in 2015 to understand any changes over time. Four website models were identified, with the majority of TLWs adhering to the Reading Model, a text-heavy website with limited interactivity and media content. In addition, the results showed that in 2012 some public libraries moved from one website model to another while others no longer had TLWs in 2015. These findings suggest that there will be shifts in website design, but website models and access can be a guide to navigating changes. The paper concludes with a list of evaluation questions for best practices in designing TLWs.
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