Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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).

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