Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Future of UC Berkeley Library report

University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks should spend more money on his library, because its books, services, and space will become more important than ever over the next two decades. So, at least, says an October 16 report (PDF file) from a faculty committee tasked by the previous chancellor, Robert Birgeneau, with figuring out the library’s place on the university campus of the future. Implications are generally applicable for all types of libraries.
UC Berkeley. (2013). Report of the Commission on the future of the UC Berkeley Library.

Diversity in YA novels

With increasingly diverse service populations, especially among younger patrons, libraries are in need of more titles featuring individuals from varied backgrounds. Librarians often rely upon preassembled title lists, such as YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) list or the Publishers Weekly bestsellers list, to make collection development decisions. This study examined three such lists for the prevalence of diverse protagonists, with the goal of determining which list most closely aligns with actual demographic data for U.S. teens. Award-winning, Teens’ Top Ten, and bestselling titles were included in the study. Overall, the award-winning title list included the highest percentage of protagonists belonging to most marginalized demographic groups, while the bestselling title list included the lowest percentages in these categories. However, all three lists underrepresented protagonists from certain demographic categories. Based on these results, it is recommended that librarians supplement list-based collection development with purposive collection of titles featuring minority protagonists and/or written by minority authors.
Rawson, C. (2013). Are all lists created equal? Diversity in award-winning and best-selling young adult fiction. Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (6).

Friday, October 4, 2013

California Truancy Report

This report is the first to present state-wide statistics on California's truancy crisis which reveal that, last year alone, 1 million elementary school students were truant and 250,000 elementary school students missed 18 or more school days at a cost of $1.4 billion in lost funds to California school districts. According to the report, elementary school truancy is at the root of the state's chronic criminal justice problems. According to the report, missing large amounts of school is one of the strongest predictors of dropping-out, even more so than suspensions or test scores. Annually, dropouts cost California taxpayers an estimated $46.4 billion in incarceration, lost productivity and lost taxes.
Harris, K. (2013). In School + On Track: Attorney General's Report on California's Elementary School Truancy and Absenteeism Crisis. Sacramento: California Department of Justice.