New issue of JRLYA

Volume 7, Issue 1, of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online at  This newest issue features research papers relating to teens, libraries, and LGBT issues.

In the first paper, “‘They Kind of Rely on the Library’: School Librarians Serving LGBT Students,” author Shannon Oltmann examined school librarians’ perspectives on collecting LGBT materials to show that school librarians generally support collecting them and positioning their libraries as safe, supportive spaces.

With his paper “Sex in the Stacks: Teenager Sex Education Information Seeking Behavior and Barriers to the Use of Library Resources,” Kyle Marshall focused on understanding the information sources teens use to gather sex education information, including curricular materials, interpersonal sources, digital media, and print sources. The teens in his study relied on a wide variety of resources for their sex education information needs, yet none relied on libraries when looking for sex education information.

Moving to a focus on library collections, Elizabeth Chapman and Briony Birdi analyzed 13 British public library collections to look for LGBTQ teen fiction holdings. As the title of their paper, “‘It’s Woefully Inadequate’: Collections of LGBTQ Fiction for Teens in English Public Library Services” suggests, they found generally limited holdings of LGBTQ fiction materials, regardless of library size or budget.

Lastly, in their paper “The Curriculum Materials Library as a Hub of Resources, Literacy Practices, and Collaboration: Expanding the Role of the Library to Support Foster Youth,” Yonty Friesem, Kelsey Greene, and Mona Niedbala show that organizational vision and relationship; structure, responsibilities, and communication; authority and accountability; and resources and rewards are all crucial to the creation and maintenance of successful ongoing collaborations between libraries and other organizations that serve teens.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal. It aims to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support teen library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. If you’re interested in publishing your research in JRLYA, see the writer’s guidelines at or send queries to editor Denise Agosto at

Submitted by: Denise E. Agosto, editor, JRLYA


An Interview with the Roadtripping Librarian

Over the summer Talya Sokoll traveled across the United States to learn about library services and collections for teens. Talya paid particular attention to space and collections that support the needs of LGBT teens. In this 10 minute video interview YALS Editorial Advisory Board member Michelle Bayuk talks with Talya about Talya’s trip and what she learned about library services during her travels.

Continue reading An Interview with the Roadtripping Librarian

The Roadtripping Librarian: On the Way Home… and Some Unexpected Help from My Mother!

We’re on the way back to Boston… (again, not really – I have been home for a week now – but this post covers the return journey.)

This leg of the trip was less structured than the beginning. We’re staying with family (my brother in Ohio) and friends (my friend Katie in Kansas) and my wonderful second family in Rochester, the parents of Maggie Levine, one of the children’s librarians at the main branch of the Boston Public Library.

Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library Teen Space
Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library Teen Space

I also received a surprise phone call from my mom telling me that, while on vacation, she read all my posts. They inspired her to visit the Pitkin County Library in Aspen, Colorado to check out their collection. More ‘ about them later in the post. Continue reading The Roadtripping Librarian: On the Way Home… and Some Unexpected Help from My Mother!

The Roadtripping Librarian: Austin! and the Surrounding Cities

I’m in Austin!

(Okay not really anymore, I am home now, I couldn’t really write coherently from my iPhone while on the trip…)

In Austin, I was lucky to be able to spend a few day with my friend Jenny and her husband George. Jenny is a former blogger for Forever Young Adult and currently blogs for Writers Out of Bounds. She is working on her first YA novel, so we have a lot in common and a lot of YA to talk about…we’re both hardcore fans of Michael Grant’s Gone series and hadn’t seen each other since before the last book came out.

OutYouth Center for LGBT Teens in Austin
OutYouth Center for LGBT Teens in Austin

While in Austin, I visited three libraries, ate LOTS of BBQ and was lucky enough to meet with Natalia Ornelas, the program coordinator at Out Youth, a nonprofit in Austin that serves LGBT youth. Before I describe my experiences, I want to quickly go over my method of identifying libraries to visit and what I do once I am there. Continue reading The Roadtripping Librarian: Austin! and the Surrounding Cities

The Roadtripping Librarian: On the Way to Austin

The road trip has begun! It is hard for me to write a ton while I am on the road because I only have my phone but here are my thoughts so far:

1. Texas is really hot. I was expecting the heat, and I was prepared because we just had an awful heat wave in Boston where I live, but Texas is something else entirely. It also didn’t help that I waited outside in the sun for three hours at Franklin’s BBQ for lunch. Although it was totally worth it. Now that I have eaten Texas BBQ I can never go back to what we eat in New England.

2. The libraries I visited on the way to Austin were very varied in their size, collection, set up etc. (no surprise there) but mostly really awesome in their own ways.

I’ve been to eight libraries with plans for a bunch more in the next week or so. All the libraries I’ve visited have had at least three novels on the shelf in their teen collection with LGBT characters and at least one nonfiction title discussing being gay in a positive way. Of those eight libraries, four have had at least ten titles and multiple nonfiction titles (either in a specific teen nonfiction section or in the regular adult nonfiction section.)

Laman Public Library in Little Rock Teen Space
Laman Public Library in Little Rock Teen Space
Continue reading The Roadtripping Librarian: On the Way to Austin

The Roadtripping Librarian: Northeast Ohio

I haven’t left for my road trip yet, but I did do a little pre-roadtrip library-browsing in Ohio, while visiting my brother who lives in Oberlin. While there, I visited four local libraries: the Oberlin Public Library, the Lorain Public Library, the Avon Lake Public Library, and the Herrick Public Library in Wellington. As outlined before, I’m checking out their teen rooms, seeing what types of programming they were offering, and reviewing their titles to determine how their collection represented LGBT teens. I’m not looking in these libraries’ OPACs to see if these books might be checked out, or checking to see if they are part of a larger consortium of libraries that might contain these titles; I’m only looking at books that are currently on the shelf.

Oberlin Public Library
Oberlin Public Library

I’m approaching this project as if I were a teen going into my local town library searching for these titles, without any knowledge of how to find them besides looking on the shelf. Obviously, some teens would employ other strategies if they were unable to find certain titles (Interlibrary Loan etc.), but I wanted to experience what most teens would encounter when seeking books for immediate availability.
Continue reading The Roadtripping Librarian: Northeast Ohio