Instructional Guides

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Guide to Internet Safety for Kids

internet safety guide for kids1

Guide to Internet Safety for Adults

internet safety guide for adults

Troubleshooting Access to Online Catalogs

TROUBLESHOOTING access to online catalogs

Troubleshooting Wi-Fi access

Troubleshooting WIFI access guide



Dante PowerPoint

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Divina commedia presentation – Lee

Peer Assessment

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LIBR_204_Student_Peer_Assessment_Fall 2011

Research Proposal – Youth

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Research Proposal




Research Proposal: Reluctant Readership among Teenagers in Southern California


Susan M. Lee

Lib. 285

School of Library & Information Science

San Jose State University

                                                                                                Fall 2014








Literacy is an important issue affecting society today. Reluctant readers come in all shapes and sizes. Yet reluctant readers are often mischaracterized as being illiterate or close to it. They don’t like to read because of various background factors such as language barriers, access, or learning disabilities. The truth is close to the idea that reluctant readers can read but they simply don’t like to. Or at least they believe they don’t. Librarians can play a major role in fostering literacy and changing this attitude. My study will review current literature and studies available on reluctant readers, and attempt to improve on them with additional information. I will examine how libraries address reluctant readers, their methods used (whether they are the same methods for teenage boys and girls, and adult men and women), and their effectiveness.




The 2014 Quick Picks List, which suggests recommended books aimed at teenage children between the ages of 12 to 18 who do not generally like to read, presented at the recent American Library Association [ALA] Midwinter Meeting features 77 titles and 3 series. The list is often varied – featuring zombies (popular due to the Walking Dead series), dystopia (featured in Hunger Games and Divergent), graphic novels, romance, action and mystery novels, dogs, and more. Some of the recent picks include a novel set in 1962 about ten people stuck in a bomb shelter meant for four called “Fallout” by Todd Strasser, the zombie-filled “Undead” by Kirsty McKay, “Uses for Boys” by Erica Lorraine Scheidt about a teenage girl struggling with sex and love, a guide on “How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language,” “A Little Book on Sloths,” and “The Fashion Book.”[1]

The list is published by Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), a national organization of librarians, library workers and advocates, in association with the ALA. YALSA’s mission is to “expand and strengthen library services for teens” by making sure to engage, educate, and support teens. Many think that literacy issues should focus on young children, not older ones. But teenagers are not simply children, despite their age. The teenage years are a “developmental stage that requires a different strategic approach in order to effectively understand, connect with, and serve them.” [2]

According to Snowball in her article “Teenage Reluctant Readers and Graphic Novels,” children stop visiting their local public library between the ages of 14 and 20, which affects their decline in reading. In verbal discussions with teenage boys, they described reading as “boring,” “difficult,” “hard,” and too time consuming (2005). Yet a recent study in Canada revealed the opposite, with teenage boys stated that they liked to read but that they had lost interest in reading. A survey in Reading Today showed that 29.8% of teenage boys surveyed stated that they lacked the free time to read, while 39.3% stated that reading is boring.[3]It doesn’t state how the surveys were administered, or if the responses were confidential. Teenagers or children may give answers that are what they think is more normal or popular. Reading is seen as boring by some, and (wrongly) ‘feminine.’

According to Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science, every reader has his or her own book and every book has its reader. Even those who do not like to read in general can find something they like to read. Librarians and teachers must help put the two together so a reluctant reader can be turned into an avid reader. There has been a range of factors affecting teenage readership in the past, many of which are still factors today including judgment for reading choices, peer pressure, reading level, taste in materials, accessibility, and adult role models.


Literature Review


A review of recent literature on reluctant teenage readers and public libraries found several interesting articles on the issues at hand, some more diverse in their findings and conclusions than others. Below is a historical background, with challenges and current research findings and gaps.

Many public library programs address literacy are typically focusing on young children, foreign language speakers (ESL), or adults rather than teenagers. Internal studies completed look at budgets, circulation numbers, patron statistics, and management issues rather than specific items that are harder to measure such as literacy skills, or programming effectiveness.


Public libraries across the country create popular programming involving video games, comics, or music, and offer incentives such as free Internet access, contests, or food. The Chippewa River District Library System held their first Minecraft event with the assistance of a teen advisory board member. Many teens began playing the game on the library servers. One reluctant teen reader began playing the game at the branch library and has become an avid manga reader.[4] It’s important to get the teen population to even step foot into the library by drawing them in with something special. Other public libraries in California offer book clubs, craft activities, homework help, summer reading programs, movie nights, and author talks.

Teens need an inviting space where teens can feel comfortable and safely hang out with their friends, which is a far cry from the stereotypical and common image of librarians shushing them. It’s important for public libraries to have a positive atmosphere with appealing displays and materials for young people who may feel that they don’t belong in a library since they don’t read. Recognizing and addressing community needs are two things that are hard to measure.

With the financial aid of a national grant, the Santa Barbara Public Library addresses the issue of literacy via the Juntos Leemos/Read Together Program, which targets reluctant readers and low-literacy families by promoting read-aloud time between parent and child, siblings/ buddies, or other trained volunteer mentors. Post program evaluations showed that reluctant readers participating developed an increased interest in reading, especially those partnered with siblings.[5]

Of 111 children, 89% of those with a younger sibling had read at least one book with them and 56% had read over 5 books with them. 63% of participant parents stated that they observed their child reading more with a sibling or buddy than usual. Of summer camp participants, 2/3rds stated that they would return to the public library after the program finished. 75% of the camo participants noted an increased awareness of how to utilize public library services. They also stated that they felt more comfortable going to the public library after a tour with the summer camp counselors. Of the 34% of reluctant readers who stated that reading was ‘okay,’ ‘not so fun,’ or ‘not fun at all,’ 72% stated that they preferred reading with someone than reading alone. 65% of that same group reported that they were more motivated to read if they were reading with someone. [6]

Although we tend to think of reading as a solitary activity, reading can be made into a group or social, family activity particularly to encourage at-risk youth and reluctant readers. To recruit reluctant readers, library staff or volunteers would visit local schools or summer camps for low-income families. Participants were given incentives such as ice cream parties. The program showed that libraries can serve as a community touchstone for families and volunteers with the right outreach. Confidence levels can increase if reading is made into a group activity.

There’s a general consensus that teen collections should include relevant and recognizable, colorful, and popular books filled with action, drama, and sometimes romance. There is much academic literature supporting the inclusion of graphic novels and comic books into public and school library collections to appeal to teenagers. According to Schneider in his article “A Survey of Graphic Novel Collection and Use in American Public Libraries,” which surveyed the use of graphic novels and video games in public libraries, the primary users were young readers. Almost all the public libraries who voluntarily participated in the survey had graphic novels in their collections, making the medium a “near-ubiquitous part” of library collections. His research inferred graphic novels were an effective use as a gateway to adult literacy. Whereas once they were dismissed as “lurid,” “crude,” and “problematic” due to the immortality and violence often depicted, graphic novels are now widely accepted as a great way to encourage literacy and reading (Schneider 2014).

Indeed, graphic novels are a high-interest “magnet” for reluctant readers. They can help “improve language and literacy development,” particularly for non-English speakers. Exposing children to “lighter” reading such as comics and graphic novels is a gateway to fictional novels and other ‘heavier’ reading fare (Crawford 2004). The cover art and non-traditional format, lack of intimidating factor, as well as “low readability levels” are what appeal to teenage reluctant readers the most (Crawford 2005).

There are many resources for developing teen collections with graphic novels, comic books, and other non-traditional media, as well as information on how to order, catalog, and maintain them. There are organizations like YALSA and websites like Guys Read (, a web-based literacy program aimed at boys to help shape them into lifelong readers. Guys Read encourages young men to read. According to the U.S. Department of Education “To Read or not To Read” Report, there is a general decline in reading among teenage and adult Americans. Both “reading ability and reading habits” tends to halt during the teenage years despite measurable progress in elementary school. Because they read less, their reading skills decline, which reads to a decline in academic achievement. Poor reading and writing ability in turn affects their employment later on. The study is careful to point out correlations rather than a cause/effect pattern. For instance, someone with a daily reading habit more typically correlates with an increase in reading skills and academic achievement.[7]

Ferrarra’s article “Reading Fluency and Self-Efficacy” argued that beginning and less-skilled older readers exhibit potential fluency reading problems. She describes fluent readers as able to demonstrate “automaticity in word recognition, good word attack strategies, use self-correction, good comprehension skills, smooth reading, and flowing manner with appropriate expression.” One needs sufficient fluency to become a rapid and efficient reader (216). Ferrarra argues that confidence levels and reading are tightly intertwined. She attempted to connect self-efficacy, a self-assessment of how one feels they accomplished or performed a task, with

Ferrarra examined a pre-adolescent girl who was a struggling reader despite living in a literate household. The girl was selected based on grade level, below average reading level, reading fluency level, and school teacher’s recommendations. Her method was to conduct a study using one-to-one instructional intervention of paired reading (matching up a reader with high reading fluency with a reader with lower reading fluency), with reading conversations to understand and explore the general experience of possessing reading difficulties. Ferrarra recorded each session and used a graduate student as an impartial observer. But Ferrarra was studying how fast the girl could read words aloud, without omitting or adding any, or mispronouncing any words. Ferrarra would follow up with questions on how the girl felt about her accomplishment and how well she felt she did. A single subject study seems limited especially with only studying oral reading. Other factors may affect the subject’s reading ability. Every reader is different. The self-questioning method did not seem reliable.

In 2004, Strommen and Mates presented a larger survey of children in 6th and 9th grades to determine their attitudes toward reading and to find factors associated with the development of a love of reading using a questionnaire to separate readers from non-readers. They examined the characteristics of the teenagers, differences and similarities between the readers and non-readers, identified methods to encourage reading and the role of the family in affecting readership.

They identified earlier studies that link a home environment that supports literacy and reading with literacy development and reading ability. Their review of earlier research findings also pointed out that even skilled youth readers have devoted little leisure time to reading since the 1940s although no generalizations or statements were made about the reasons or attitudes behind the pattern. The amount of television watched had no discernible correlation on amount of time spent reading. Their own questionnaire survey was submitted to a cross-section of sixth and ninth grade students who lived a suburban area outside a large U.S. city in the Northeast. The students ranged from remedial to honors students.

The questionnaire was peppered with statements to decipher if the respondent is a reader or non-reader, such as “I enjoy reading a good book,” and reader or non-reader responses, I enjoy reading a book versus I do not enjoy reading a good book. Another question was “Books read in the past three years,” with the reader response as 20 or more, and non-reader responses as 0 to 5.

But the questions seem to be missing gaps, and open-ended questions. It doesn’t ask or allow for specifics. Some of the respondents may not recall exactly how many books they have read since three years is a long period. And it doesn’t allow for the exact titles to be given so a pattern or preference can be pulled out i.e. the respondent prefers to read biographies, sci-fi, or comic books. Good may vary in definition depending on the respondent; good could be critically acclaimed or a best-seller or good could mean a book they enjoy. If it is the former meaning, and the respondent prefers to read more “popular,” less critically-received titles, or comic books, they may answer no when it is actually yes. They could be closet readers, making their responses untruthful. The study also does not address their local library systems, how far away from their home the nearest library is, how many times they visit, or what services/programs they are aware of, etc.

The study was intended to identify young children who enjoyed reading as part of their regular recreational activities, intentionally excluding reading skill and academic achievement as factors or considerations. Only 8% or 12 out of 151 children in the study met their criteria. The questionnaire was administered by classroom teachers who followed a specific set of instructions. Their survey concluded that “children’s views of recreational and academic reading are tied to reading ability as well as to community norms and beliefs,” with attitudes ranging from enthusiasm to indifference (Strommen 2004). The study by Strommen and Mates doesn’t address if respondents are given sustained silent reading during school hours or at home, where they can read for set period of time, materials of their choosing.

Many reluctant readers or “would-be” readers are overwhelmed by the size and amount of books when they enter the library according to John Royce’s article “Surviving Information Overload: Lessons from the Reading Reluctance Research” (1997). Non-readers don’t know where to start in their information overload. A typical reader would know what they are looking for …the latest best-selling novel, or science-fiction title. Maybe an autobiography, cookbook, or poetry book next. A non-reader would not have a strategy so to speak, which is more specific than just browsing the stacks or the online catalog. A “techniques [such] as reading more by a known author, getting a friend’s recommendation, following a genre or a series, looking at covers, and so on“ is more important where reluctant readers are concerned since they are more likely to read if given the freedom to choose (Royce 1997). Yet when selecting a title is a chore or a hard task, reluctant readers by nature won’t be able to get too far.

Two recent studies by Young Australians Reading: From Keen to Reluctant Readers and Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities on Australian teenage boys’ reading habits debunked the typical stereotypes of their reading (or lack thereof) habits. Eight out of ten teenage boys and girls surveyed agreed that books are exciting. Forty-nine percent of boys compared to fifty-eight percent of girls read every day or every few days. Overall, 69% of boys surveyed stated that they enjoyed reading, compared to 80% of girls surveyed that enjoyed reading. The gap isn’t that large. Forty-one percent of boys thought reading was boring, 45% found it nerdy. Only 23% thought reading was cool.

Reading for pleasure ranked about the same as other activities such as sports and television. Sixty-five percent of teen boys agreed that they thought reading was not relevant and preferred more social activities that they could do with friends. The general conclusion made was that most teens would read if they had more free time, space (such as a teen area in the library), and given the right material (Horton 2005).

A 2011 study by Vivian Howard sought to discover the attitudes of 12 to 15-year old children towards public libraries in Canada using a mixed methodology of survey and focus groups. Howard used a disproportionate stratified sample and multistage clustering – mailing 900 surveys to middle school students. Of the 900 surveys, 249 surveys were returned and found usable. Of those willing respondents, 9 focus groups of 7 to 12 students each were formed for qualitative research to further explore library-related issues related to the study.

Howard did conclude that active teen readers used the public library more than reluctant teen readers. But Howard’s main conclusion was that public libraries need to be proactive and seek new, different ways to specifically reach teenagers. The survey responses indicated a high level of satisfaction in public library service for teens while focus groups indicated a low level of satisfaction in public library service. Howard did not provide the survey forms, focus group questions, or a code sheet used to analyze focus group responses nor did she provide specific suggestions to improve public library service for teens (Martin 2011)

Rothbauer performed a qualitative study on the role of reading and libraries in teenagers in a small town in rural Ontario, Canada – mainly focusing on reluctant, or ‘non-active’ readers and the ‘placelessness of reading.’ She collected data through in-depth, loose interviews with 27 diverse teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old, coupled with observations and environmental scanning. Post-interviews, Rothbauer concluded that 56% of teens participating identified themselves as readers while 44% saw themselves as non-readers or light readers though no definition or further explanation was given for any of the terms.

Interview questions were tailored to each student, according to how much or how little they read, allowing interviewers to use responsive questioning while face-to-face. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. There were an equal number of boys and girls participating in the study, obtained by using purposive sampling and multiple locations such as schools, post offices, recreational sites such as parks, and other locations to enlist teens as participants. Permissions were given from the teens’ parents or guardians but no data such as income or education level was collected from the parents. Teens were given $20 gift cards for participating.

Rothbauer stressed the importance of cultural geographic locale in her, or any study. For hers, it was important to note that school libraries were the primary libraries available for most teens in similar rural areas due to lack of public library service. Rothbauer attempted to focus on the reading habits of teens’ perceptions and experiences with both print and technology culture within the framework of cultural geography. She sought to examine teens’ voluntary reading habits, public library use patterns, bookstore visits, and Internet use. She began collecting data after an extensive literature review and ethics approval by her university review board. She makes a general conclusion regarding the importance of the library to “foster a lively and engaged reading culture for youth” (Rothbauer 2009). Although her study drew interesting feedback and discussion from the youth interviewed about the topics at hand, there was no specific figures or data collected, to draw any general or overall conclusions.

As seen, there is a variety of research and articles on teenage reluctant readers but they are not focused in the United States, or California, and the results or conclusions vary. There are many books on providing library services for teens, developing and implementing programs for teenagers, especially at-risk teens, and building core collections for teens but not specifically addressing reluctant readers, or evaluating services for reluctant teen readers. YALSA,, and other groups/websites help fill in the gaps though.


Statement of Research Problem


Literacy is an important issue. According to the U.S. Department of Education statistics, readership among youth drops rapidly once they enter their teenage years due to a variety of factors. Public libraries and schools exist to promote literacy, lifelong learning and access to information. A study of teenage reluctant readers and how to best approach the group can be helpful to outlining


Purpose of Research


To help uncover reading habits of teenagers and address issues facing teenage reluctant readers today as well as public libraries in a time of rapid changes. To identify possible solutions to both promote and increase readership among teenagers in California.


Significance of Research


To draw a conclusion regarding teenagers and readership, and solve issues affecting teenage reluctant readers by addressing effectiveness

I will attempt to study and understand reluctant readers, assess and identify their current needs, and suggest other ways of meeting their needs with high quality library services. I will supplement my research by providing evidence, information, and cases from secondary sources found in my research.



Description of Proposed Research/Research Design


  • Identity and execute a method to target teenage reluctant/nonreaders at schools
  • Create and distribute a survey, with permission forms from the school and participants’ parents
  • Follow up with select or random sample of participants’ post-survey, to discuss their reading habits, issues affecting their reading habits, choice of reading material, library services, accessibility, etc.


To understand the scope and nature of the issues, I will design a large-scale survey. The survey will be sent to select number of public middle schools and public library branches in Southern California. The aim is to receive 80% of surveys filled out and returned. If success rate is less than that, adjustments will be made or more surveys sent out to other similarly populated areas. Of the surveys returned, a random sample of willing respondents will be pulled for follow up interviews.


Factors to be considered during the selection process:

Personal survey/ data of reluctant readers and their parents

Age, gender, interests, reading materials, grade/reading level

Use of the public library, school library, or local book stores

Ease of access of local public libraries, school libraries, or local book stores

Attendance/ use of programming at public libraries

Background (parents’ reading habits, education level, time spent reading with their children, etc. can affect their children)

Collections available (‘guy-friendly’ materials, graphic novels, video games or games)






Varies, depending on grants and funding available.






Alvermann, D. E. (2005). Literacy on the Edge: How Close Are We to Closing the Literacy Achievement Gap?. Voices From The Middle, 13(1), 8-14.


Crawford, P. (2004). A Novel Approach: Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant Readers and Promote Literacy. Library Media Connection, 22(5), 26-28.


Horton, R. (2005). boys are people too: boys and reading, truth and misconceptions. Teacher Librarian, 33(2), 30-32.


Mackey, M., & Johnston, I. (1996). The Book Resisters: Ways of Approaching Reluctant Teenage Readers. School Libraries Worldwide, 2(1), 25-38.


Martin, J. j. (2012). Teenagers’ Public Library Needs are Difficult to Determine. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 7(1), 108-109



Nes Ferrara, S. L. (2005). Reading Fluency and Self‐Efficacy: A case study. International Journal Of Disability, Development & Education, 52(3), 215-231. doi:10.1080/10349120500252858




Royce, J. (1997). Surviving Information Overload: Lessons from the Reading Reluctance Research. School Libraries Worldwide, 3(1), 39-46.


Schneider, E. e. (2014). A Survey of Graphic Novel Collection and Use in American Public Libraries. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 9(3), 68-79.


Snowball, Clare. (2005). Teenage Reluctant Readers and Graphic Novels. Young Adult Library Services. 43-45.


Strommen, L. T., & Mates, B. F. (2004). Learning to love reading: Interviews with older children and teens. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(3), 188-200. doi:1O.1598/JAAL.48.3.1


Tomblinson, Amy. (2004) “Reluctant Readers and The Power of Real Reading.” Language Arts Journal of Michigan: Vol. 20: Iss. 2, Article 5.



[2] YALSA blog:

[3] Page 11,

[4] “The Minecraft Craze at the Library.” Public Libraries Association:

[5]Santa Barbara Public Library

[6] Siblings Project Summary:


Research Study Evaluation/Book Review

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Research Study Evaluation

Susan Lee

The core question at the heart of Vanita Sundaram’s monograph “Preventing Youth Violence: Rethinking the role of Gender in Schools” is how we improve upon the traditional framework of violence prevention work currently aimed at youth by changing the gender-bias in current violence prevention work. The key answer is involved is presenting their case (violence prevention by altering gender norms in terms of thinking and behavior in relation to violence) directly in an educational setting via schools. Rather than child abuse or crime-related violence, the violence in question is relationship in nature – domestic violence between youth.

The introduction defines and discusses the importance of violence prevention, the conceptual framework and key concepts defining violence and youth, the role of schools, and the important of redefining gender roles in schools in preventing youth violence. The first chapter argues that the perspective of youth themselves is important in research regarding youth violence prevention. Current existing literature regarding the topic is also reviewed. The second chapter re-established the link between gender and violence via seminal and recent research on the link between gender and violence. The chapter also focuses on how gender influences young people’s views on violence and how important it is to violence prevention.

The third chapter describes the methodology, approaches and techniques specifically, on seeking youth perspectives on violence for the author’s study. The author also discusses the implications of the research resulting from her methodology. The fourth chapter focuses on how youth understand and conceptualize violence, problematic characterizations, and any mediating factors affecting their views. The fifth chapter focuses on the assertions that young people make regarding expectations about gender and normative gender behavior through their storytelling about violence. The sixth chapter addresses the important part that schools can play in violence prevention by creating school-based initiatives and literature, and the challenges that face schools in dealing with the topic of violence. The seventh and last chapter further delves into the detailed issue of schools in preventing youth violence. The author argues that youth’s understanding of violence is intrinsically tied to the preventability (or un-preventability) of violence, and whether or not youth believe that schools can address violence prevention adequately.

The third chapter is the one that is heavy in methodology and research methods. Sundaram conducted thorough focus groups with youth between the ages of 14 and 17, carefully selected from six different schools in the United Kingdom. She discusses the results as well as performs a literature review on current research and studies. Her findings work to argue for a broader focus on youth perspectives of relationship violence and dispelling the myths regarding violence among youths. Resulting interviews from focus group participants allow for youth storytelling to reveal and affirm both expectations and norms about youth violence. Due to the emphasis on constructing meaning in the study, Sundaram uses group discussions and interviews rather than surveys. To open up discussions, she utilized vignettes, photographs, and short statements about violence.

Sundaram also discusses ethical considerations and procedures that were utilized since she was working with teenagers and the sensitive topic of violence. She made sure to use British Educational Research Association (BERA) guidelines during the research and study process as well as when approaching schools and the teens’ parents with proper documentation including consent forms. She used qualitative analysis on the narratives related by the youth, viewing them through a phenomenological lens for interpretation and analysis. The narratives produced were not easy to dissect or interpret. Sundaram recognized a need to prevent bias, emotion, show too much authority to the youth, or imparting an analytical agenda to the participants.

Sundaram used a coding template to categorize and analyze the narrative data generated from focus group discussions to allow for an iterative approach. The template was fluid, changed as new and unanticipated themes popped up. Sundaram uses the “I” voice which personalizes the study but makes it seem not as professional. Although she attempts to be impartial, a secondary researcher or observer may have been helpful. She also didn’t seem to have another researcher or impartial observer during interviews.

She doesn’t mention if she recorded the sessions for documentation or ethical concerns. Instead of summarizing or providing larger details, she peppers quotes from various youth throughout the paper, identifying them by first names only and their schools. This might not allow for total anonymity for participants though. Due to the nature of the study, there is no single or overarching ‘truth.’ The narrative depictions of violence are based on experience and interactions that can be altered over time.

Although heavy in politics, Farthing’s article on youth participation makes the same case as Sundaram for including youth to help improve upon youth policies and services. It can both empowers the youth by relaying their voice and encourages them to participate by analyzing current theory. Farthing cautions against adult researchers not allowing the youth to have a voice or overpowering them with their own agenda. Sundaram seemed to take this point to heart during her focus group discussions.

Soep and Chavez’s article on youth radio shows that the use of youth media in an educational setting can rejuvenate and inspire teens in mandatory school curriculum. The use of media production to encourage teens to share their stories via audio and images to create individual meaning can be related to Sundaram’s proposal to use schools to combat youth violence as well as educate them about gender roles in conceptualizing violence. Radio, photography and film can be powerful mediums when employed correctly.

Sundaram is careful not to present participants as a stereotype or impart too much personal data beyond statistics, age, grade, or gender. Recalling Rothbauer’s article on youth representations, the participants in Sundaram’s study are not treated as research subjects or simply students or teens. They are encouraged to interact among each other and share their experiences instead of just checking boxes on a survey, and allowed to parlay their experiences in words through direct quotes peppered throughout her book. They’re not treated as an unknown or ‘other’ with no agency despite the fact that they still required parental consent for participation.

Sundaram’s book was well-written and thorough. It is easy to follow and understand. She conveys both passion and knowledge for the topic (youth violence prevention). The intended audience appears to be other researchers in her field, educators and those who unfortunately deal with youth violence on a regular basis. It’s not intended for teens or youth per se. Her purpose is to combat youth violence, educate youth on gender roles against stereotypes, and encourage schools to participate in youth violence prevention and education. Her argument is that schools are reluctant or too challenged to do so but she does not delve into why or provide counterarguments. She does use primary sources well and interweaves them throughout the book.

I was able to locate Sundaram’s monograph through the San Jose State University King Library Online Catalog. I selected online books only and limited by year. The key words I used were “youth services” and “school.” I was able to locate Sundaram’s book. I first attempted to locate a monograph through the San Diego Public Library but the few search results generated were over five years old. Most were from the 1990s. The King Library search generated many more recent results.

Works Cited

Sundaram, V. (2014). Preventing Youth Violence: Rethinking the Role of Gender in Schools. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Studies in Youth Services in Foreign Countries

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Brief #3

Library 285

Susan Lee

The 90s articles on youth services that I located for this assignment were found through Jstor. Iulia P. Malent’eva’s “Youth Services in Russian Libraries in an Era of Social Change” and Leonard Kniffel’s “The Changing Face of Youth Services in China” focus youth services abroad as the titles suggest but in the specter of the country’s social and political climate. Both Russia and China created and maintained public libraries dedicated solely for the youth. Malent’eva’s traces the history of youth library in Russia and analyzes their approaches to services such as acquisitions and reference. Youth services is all-encompassing for Malent’eva – covering grade-school aged children to college students. Services were once uniform and monotonous but social and ideological changes have led to a new form of young adult library activity.

The article traces the developments that led to the change in youth services, both positive and negative, but does not use surveys, prior research, or direct interviews with young library users. Malent’eva concludes the article by stating that the new government-run youth libraries are a huge success but does not back this statement up with fact, statistics, quotes from youth users, or any specific research. The claim may be valid but there is nothing offered to reinforce it. Malent’eva argues against dismantling Russia’s young adult libraries, something not mentioned earlier in the article at all. The core question of the article is hard to discern.

Kniffel’s article is more thoroughly put-together, assessing how youth library users are adapting to changes in their library system due to socialism. Kniffel traveled to Beijing with a group of American librarians to speak directly with groups of Chinese students about their modern, new five-story West District Juvenile and Children’s Library, one of three in the country specifically dedicated to young people. The library featured its own playground and state-of-the-art movie theater which regularly ran Hollywood films.

Kniffel’s article is definitely more focused as he describes a building boom fueled by capitalism and a newfound emphasis on children. As well as briefly delving into history and politics, he provides the direct contact and more thorough look at youth subjects that Malent’eva as well as Carver and Vandergrift, were lacking. He offers statistics, direct testimony, and firsthand experiences. Kniffel speaks to Chinese librarians, Chinese educators, students, and young patrons in mainland China regarding their library knowledge and experience, in English so there is no language barrier or room for misinterpretation.

Although Kniffel does not cite prior scholarly research, he does cite American educators and librarians who had prior experience and visits to China’s schools and libraries. The Chinese government heavily influences every aspect of the library experience, including the restrictive access to certain materials and the Internet. Western influences slowly began permeating Chinese libraries in 1978. According to Kniffel’s observations, the Chinese youth libraries are roughly 15 years behind what U.S. public libraries are in terms of technology, experience, and services. Both Malent’eva and Kniffel provided informative looks at international youth library services through the veil of socio-economic and political influence – primarily Communism – but were lacking in thoroughness. Unlike Vandergrift, Kniffel and Malent’eva do not focus on specific subjects, or use surveys/questionnaires for direct study. They both mention informational or reference services, programming, as well as acquisitions but do not delve very deeply into services provided or improvements that could be made.


Craver, Kathleen. (1988). Social Trends in American Young Adult Library Service, 1960-1969. Libraries & Culture, 23 (1), 18-38.

Kniffel, Leonard. (1998). The Changing Face of Youth Services in China. American Libraries, 29 (11), 58-61.

Malent’eva, Iulia P. (1998). Youth Services in Russian Libraries in an Era of Social Change. Libraries and Culture, 33 (1), 69-75.

Vandergrift, K. E. (1989). Are children and teenagers second class users?. Library Resources & Technical Services, 33(4), 393-399.

Historical-Comparative Research Critique

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Historical-Comparative Research Critique

Research Article:

Larson, K.C. (2001). The Saturday evening girls: a progressive era library club and the intellectual life of working class and immigrant girls in turn-of-the-century Boston. Library Quarterly, 71(2), 195-230.

Research Summary:

The Saturday Evening Girls’ Club [S.E.G.] was a library club established in 1899 in the crowded North End of Boston for working class women and poor immigrant women. Its founding members were three women: Edith Guerrier, a librarian, her lifelong partner and artist, Edith Brown, and an upper-class patron, Helen Osborne Storrow. Its beginnings were auspicious, quickly expanding to several library chapters with over 200 members who meet each week to discuss topics such as literature, art, politics, employment opportunities, and other similar subjects. They would publish the S.E.G. News and the Paul Revere Pottery Club, an acclaimed pottery club.

Kate Clifford Larson’s article describes how the club was created, and how it grew over the years, identifying key members as well as important moments in the club’s history. Held on Saturday night to accommodate the workweek, the Saturday Evening Girls’ Club was originally hosted by the North Bennett Street Industrial School [NBSIS], a charitable organization that provided assistance to immigrants in the area.

The mission and purpose of the club was to provide intellectual and social stimulation for oppressed and depressed women at a time when they had little or no rights, or opportunity afforded to them. Older members would provide guidance and mentoring to younger, new members. They promoted civic and involvement as well as furthering their education.

The resources that the clubs provided to its female members were invaluable. Larson attempts to emphasize the importance of library clubs such as the Saturday Evening Girls’ Club in the women’s suffrage movement and social movements in general history.

The article features selections from her historical research from her then-book in progress “The Saturday Evening Girls: Training for the Head, Heart, and Hand in Turn-of-the-Century Boston,” as well excerpts from her Master’s thesis “The Saturday Evening Girls: A Social Experiment in Class Bridging and Cross Cultural Female Dominion Building in Turn-of-the-Century Boston.”





In-depth Critique:

Research Problem

Larson attempts to “examine the role clubs and social reform organizations played in advancing educational and economic agendas” as well as provide an in-depth look at the lives of immigrant and working-class women in the United States in the early to mid-1900s.

Literature Review


Larson uses rare primary documents and running records including copies of the S.E.G. News, the S.E.G. news supplement Cherry Tree Edition, oral histories with surviving S.E.G. members taken in the 1970s, and interviews with descendants, relatives, and friends of S.E.G. members in the 1990s. School documents, Boston Public Library documents, local news articles, U.S. Census reports, NBSIS Records, letters and correspondence written between club members and librarians, and S.E.G. meeting minutes are some of the other literature referenced by Larson in her piece. Secondary sources include books about the historical time, working women, literacy and culture at the time, and the Paul Revere Pottery Club. Literature referenced is dated from 1873 to 1997.

Theoretical Framework


Larson does not build on a pre-existing well-known theoretical framework concerning library clubs or related-organizations. As Larson states, the plight of immigrant women in urban communities was not well-documented until the late 1990s. Historians wrote little about their involvement in clubs and organizations, primarily due to a lack of archival material reflecting the voice or experience of women from lower classes.


Research Design/Instrument Design


In the absence of direct study or primary interviews, historiography (historical research or gathering/analyzing historical evidence) was appropriate. The research problem was to study the history of the Saturday Night Girls’ Club and how female-centered organizations for working class and immigrant women like it affected social movements. Archives would be and were the main source of information and supporting evidence.


Data Gathering


According to Neuman, historical-comparative research allows us to identify long-term trends across societies or time. More specifically, H-C research lets us understand why “an entire society operates in particular ways by revealing processes that operate over long periods and across societies” (Neuman 465). One important dimension of H-C research is data.

H-C research evidence tends to be “limited and indirect” (Neuman 473). The data provided is for one society (working class and immigrant girls/women in the Boston-area) and one time period (early to mid-1900s). Larson uses both qualitative data (observations, documents, open-ended interviews, etc.) and quantitative data (survey data from that time period, economic and population statistics). Larson relied on surviving data from the past.


Data Analysis


Larson worked with the data that exists and was preserved to this day including newspaper articles and surveys. She interprets the data somewhat but does not question or provide evidence to its authenticity. She writes that the materials she examined depicted a “remarkably consistent view of the important role that intellectual stimulation and opportunity played in the lives of these young women and girls” but could it have been too consistent?

The S.E.G. published the S.E.G. News so it may not have been exactly biased or thorough. But Larson does not question what was printed or who the intended audience was for it. No doubt that the library clubs served as an “important venue for intellectual, social, professional, and economic advancement” but there were also other clubs and programs for working to middle-class women that could have propelled social change. Statistics were limited to small samplings or no more than around twenty percentages of groups.

Larson does not go into depth of the social context at the time; specifically the plight of the immigrant women, why they came to the United States, their customs, or backgrounds (i.e. their prior schooling or work skills). Human agency is important. Larson goes into depth about the history of the S.E.G. and its founders, and related movements but does not identify specific economic (their circumstances driving them), or demographics. She uses the general terms of girls and women without ages. She offers a sample of young women and their education level, but not the percentage of S.E.G. members who attained any type of degrees after joining.




She states that the S.E.G. and other library clubs allowed working class and immigrant women to emerge from the shadows of their domestic lives, to challenge themselves intellectually and economically, and pursue better lives for themselves and women in general.

S.E.G. members “wanted more, above and beyond expectations of their gender, class, and ethnic groups.” Ahead of their time in terms of liberalism, the S.E.G. and related organizations “became part of a modern movement toward greater options for women–educationally, politically, and economically” in spite of their circumstances or patriarchy prevalent at the time.

Larson attempts to explore and prove her research via secondary sources and documents. Given the historical timeframe, personal experience and interviews are not possible.

Critique Conclusions:


Larson’s research appears to be in-depth and thorough, primarily relying on archival materials rather than secondary sources. Her focus remains on the Saturday Evening Girls’ Club, particularly the history of its beginning. The article does not go much into depth about other library cards, or small moments or bigger movements led by S.E.G. members. The human agency is not prevalent enough within the writings.

But the article is a stepping point for her Master’s thesis and eventual book on the subject, both of which likely included more information. No doubt an individual or a strong group can lead change but the causal association or connection between variables (specifically S.E.G. and women gaining more rights and success) is not solidified. The members could have still become educated or raised within the class ranks for other reasons.

Larson’s interpretation may be viewed as solid. Her research was thorough. The S.E.G. club and related organizations helped immigrant and working-class women get out of the house (some sneaking out due to male disapproval)., develop comraderies, and educate themselves about important topics. But to what degree did this affect their overall lives and futures by extension? Yet I did not feel her associations were detailed enough to identify direct links between factors. It feels like there are missing factors that can be attributed to the changes.


Neuman, W. L. (2003). Social research methods/Qualitative and quantitative methods (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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