The Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults is pleased to announce the recent publication of two new papers discussing research related to teens and libraries.

In “Adolescent Females and the Graphic Novel: A Content Analysis,” Emily Simmons analyzes 70 books from several of YALSA’s recent “Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens” lists to examine the gender distribution of the main characters and the racial/ethnic diversity of the female main characters. She finds that about a quarter of the 70 titles feature exclusively female main characters, whereas nearly half feature exclusively male main characters. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the female main characters are white, and as a group the female main characters include just four of the fourteen disability characteristics identified by the Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. To encourage greater diversity of representation in the materials that teens read, the author suggests that librarians, teachers, parents, and other adults who recommend graphic novels to teens should consider the gender, racial/ethnic, and disability representation of the main characters in titles they recommend.

With the goal of learning how public libraries can make their websites more appealing to teens, Robin Naughton presents a study entitled “Teen Library Website Models: Identifying Design Models of Public Library Websites for Teens.” For the paper, she analyzed the teen sections of 60 U.S. public library websites in 2012 and again in 2015 to identify recurring design patterns and to look for design changes over time. She identifies four common models: the Reading Model, the Media-Oriented Model, the Portal Model, and the Information Discovery Model. Unfortunately, the Reading Model, which past user studies have shown to be largely unappealing and boring to teen users, was by far the most common design model in both 2012 and 2015. The author suggests that libraries using the Reading Model modify their websites to increase interactivity and visual content. The paper concludes with a useful list of questions that public library staff can use to assess the design and appeal of their own library websites to teens.


Denise Agosto, Editor


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