Friday, May 1, 2015

A Librarian For All Seasons

As my frequent readers will know, I work hard to make it clear in my reviews what sort of content might be red flags for different readers. As I've grown up, so has my reading, but there are still some types of books I just will not write about here because of the number of teens I know read my posts.

Reading this article (and the comments) was eye-opening - my experience has been through conservative Christian lens, and that's what I highlight on here because I know most of my readers affiliate themselves this way. It was interesting to see how conservative Muslim and Jewish readers could have even stronger feelings about content that wouldn't even blip my radar screen.

"These teens may not read much of anything from the YA area, either. They might voluntarily skip from the children’s room to reading “classics” such as Jane Austen books, not realizing that the YA section also contains great choices. These adolescents may even have become convinced that the public library is not for people like them".

I remember being a preteen and struggling with this. Of course, fifteen years ago the whole genre of YA was just really starting to take off, so there simply were not as many books between the "Middle School" and "Adult" gaps... but I know the teen section always looked freaky to me (ha ha).

And honestly, when I picked up YA fiction, it was often beyond what I was comfortable reading. And yet I was a pretty advanced reader (I read 400 page Tudor biographies when I was 11) so novels with (what seemed to me) age appropriate subject matter, were just not as challenging and engaging. The internet was just being born then, so it was harder to find reviews and suggestions than it is now. I know conservative teens today can find many great resources (hopefully my blog counts as one to you!) to help them navigate the lines of their own comfort zone as they mature in both age and subject reflection. In high school, I was behind what most of my peers would be comfortable reading/watching. Now, I'm ahead of many of my conservative peers. There's nothing wrong with any of these comfort zones, as long as you periodically examine them and ask "am I stretching myself to grow wiser and more mature in appropriate ways that will allow me to connect/understand the world I'm growing up in?"

Anyhow, I love seeing that there are librarians aware of this issue and seeking to make a difference. A display like they're talking about would have been pretty awesome for me as a teen.

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