Cross-Unders

The following piece is cross-posted on the ALSC Blog. For more cross-under resources, visit The Hub.

Whether we’re serving older teens whose tastes have matured or trying to appease faculty members who need to catch up on a book club, we’re all familiar with adult cross-overs–books originally published for adults that nonetheless have teen appeal. (YALSA even has an award for them!) But what about cross-unders?

With limited budgets, it can be tempting to limit young adult collections to titles actually written for young adults. And the question of where to shelve books has always been a touchy subject–if teens are reading adult books, should the library buy two copies? Are teens even allowed in the children’s area? In schools, we can’t expect teens to leave the building to find the books they want to read–and again, high school students may not even be able to check out books from the middle or elementary schools, and vice versa.

Double- or triple-purchasing books can be a hard pill to swallow. After all, every book purchased for multiple departments or areas means a unique title can’t be purchased. We all have to remember that our patrons–whether they’re teens, tweens or adults–may not feel comfortable seeking out their books in unfamiliar (and potentially unfriendly) departments. They may not even be able to check out books elsewhere, so why not have the books where our our readers want to be? After all, lots of our teen readers have reasons for choosing cross-under titles–or would gladly choose them if they found them on our shelves. So who are those readers?

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