This year I was awarded one of the Baker & Taylor/ YALSA Collection Development grants to create a new and improved YA collection at the Scranton Public Library’s bookstore/library hybrid branch, Library Express. Library Express is unique not only because it is a hybrid but because it is located in the Marketplace at Steamtown, Scranton’s downtown mall. Library Express is also the location of most of the teen programming that I conduct as the library’s Young Adult Librarian. The YA collection at Library Express was desperately in need of an upgrade so this grant came in very handy. With the grant funding, I was able to add about eighty-five new titles to the existing YA collection. In total, these new items circulated 107 times between June 2016 and August 2016. This much activity was in great contrast to the meager circulation statistics which were collected before we added the new titles.
When I ordered the items for the new teen collection, I decided to spend most of the grant funding on YA Fiction novels which could be classified as modern classics such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, The First-Part Last by Angela Johnson and The Giver by Lois Lowry. This strategy paid off because these titles circulated well and will not become outdated so easily. The nonfiction titles and Playaways that I added to the collection did not circulate quite as well. I had a feeling that this would be the case which is why I spent the bulk of the grant funding on YA Fiction.
The effect the new collection had on our teens was remarkable. It caused quite a stir. The teens were thrilled with the new variety of titles to choose from and enjoyed picking out new titles to read each week. One teen exclaimed, “Now I don’t have to wait for a book from another library before I can check one out!” Another teen was encouraged by the new collection to use her library card for the first time! Having many titles, mostly modern classics, to choose from made this first experience with borrowing from the library fruitful and complete. It was so satisfying to witness the teen’s excitement over their new collection.
I am so grateful for having received the Baker & Taylor/YALSA Collection Development Grant. I love that the teens in our community finally have a collection they could get excited about at Library Express. Now that they feel that they are worthy of a substantial investment, I see the teens taking ownership of their library in new and profound ways. The teens that frequent Library Express have benefited greatly from this grant and continue to do so. I must also note that the statistics showed that, in line with the national trend, adults borrowed the new additions almost as much as the teens. Thus, the Baker & Taylor/ YALSA Collection Development Grant has given the Library Express YA collection a much needed boost and, for that, all of us at the Scranton Public Library are thankful and delighted!
Anna Kilcullen is a librarian at the Scranton Public Library in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She has been the library’s young adult librarian for the past ten years and also works in the circulation department as a reader’s advisory librarian.