This is a neat resource for Middle Grade collection development. It touches on a lot of the points that our class observed during our Community Analysis Reports. Namely, that in a lot of public libraries middle graders are “falling through the cracks” in terms of programming, resources, and collections. It seems like public libraries are focusing primarily on early literacy, and then jumping straight to an emphasis on teens.
This blog entry from YALSA talks about the importance of building a strong middle school public library collection, and makes a few interesting points as to why. First, the author claims that “childrens” books are getting older as a whole. This means that middle grade novels are increasingly edging toward “teen topics” such as serious relationships, drug use, and other heavy-hitting themes. This is leaving a hole in collections for actual materials that would appeal to middle graders. The issue with this is as follows:
If they cannot find books that speak to them, they may determine that books in general don’t speak to them.”
When you can’t figure out where to find books for your age group, it’s not only frustrating but can also leave you feeling lost as to where you belong at the library.”
This is a super important topic to consider, as no public library wants to lose this base of young, yet important readers. Plus, I loved that this librarian decided to name her middle grade collection “Middle Ground” – de-emphasizing a specific age demographic but at the same time highlighting its user base.
Part 2 of this Middle School Monday blog entry is also worth a read, as it goes much more into the specifics of selection criteria and the actual collection development process.