Collection Development Position

Stockholm Public LibraryThe most important part of collection development is awareness of the population being served. In accepting a position a librarian has thus accepted the community being served by that position. This population is whom the librarian must be thinking about when developing a collection. It is not the likes and dislikes of the librarian that should denote what is added or weeded but the interests of the community and their material needs. The best way to explore the wants and needs of a population is engagement. Statistics are fine but no community can be defined wholly by its numbers. By actively listening to a populace and delving into the needs and interests of individuals a librarian will be able to create a collection that meets the values of the community.

Hand in hand with population awareness is representation. People are empowered by the materials the library holds. Part of this empowerment is seeing others like themselves succeed in their own stories, whether fiction or non-fiction. Therefore it is important that a library is stocked with materials that represent the different varieties of people that make up the population. This may be difficult to do for some populations as it is a known fact that literature is overwhelmingly, white, straight, cis, and abled, along with many other inappropriately ingrained societal “norms”. Regardless of difficulty it is a librarian’s position to curate a collection that is varietal and representative of all of the different individuals in the community.

However, representation is not only a door that swings one way. Even in populations that are overwhelmingly white, straight, cis, abled, etc. it is still important to add different viewpoints to the collection. It is empowering to learn about oneself but to explore the worldviews of others is an indispensable experience. This aids a population in being whole and gives them a window through which to view others.

These materials that do not reflect the worldviews of the general population may come under scrutiny during a librarian’s career. The values of the position require that a librarian must not back down when pressured with censorship or avoid adding materials to the collection that may provoke challenges. In being challenged the value of these materials has been proven. They have been shown to defy individuals’ viewpoints and cause discomfort. We, as people, learn from discomfort. Asking ourselves why something makes us uncomfortable and exploring that why we are able to glean not only information about something foreign but also information about ourselves. This is a difficult but important life experience, one which a librarian has the potential to rob of a community by adhering to self-censorship or failing to adequately protect the materials from challengers.



If You Liked the March Trilogy Be Sure To Check Out:

The March trilogy by John Lewis offers a true portrayal of the events that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement. The Soundview Branch of the NYPL has created a list of materials and exhibits in order to delve deeper into this historic time. Read on to learn more!

Graphic Novels

9781596436183The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long

Follow the story of two families, one black and one white, through their finding of common ground during The Civil Rights Movement in Texas in 1967. This New York Times best-selling graphic novel is semi-autobiographical and gives perspective on life on the outer fringes of the movement.

114073King by Ho Che Anderson

This biography of Martin Luther King Jr. highlights his struggles and accomplishments within the Movement. Follow his journey through important historical events such as the Montgomery bus boycott and the March on Washington.
GRAPHIC 323.092 A


51mpilc-JfLA Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

This poem serves as a modern day memorial for Emmett Till, a fourteen year old boy living in the South who was lynched for supposedly flirting with a white woman. This Coretta Scott King award winning illustrated book tells the story of the murder of a young boy that greatly affected the beginning of the civil rights movement.
811 Nelson

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The 1969 autobiography of Maya Angelou tells the coming-of-age story of a young woman overcoming racism and trauma. She learns to celebrate herself through the empowering aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement.
B Angelou A


THIS LIGHT book coverThis Light of Ours by Leslie G. Kelen

This book highlights photographs taken during the Civil Rights Movement by nine activist photographers. These activists view the movement from the inside taking photos of those they care about in opposition to the detached documenting of photojournalists.
E-book available!



This film tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers who marched from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery aiming to gain full voting rights for African Americans.

EyesOnThePrizeEyes on the Prize

This Emmy award winning 14 part documentary series premiered in 1987 is famous for its documentation of the Civil Rights Movement. The series is compiled of archival footage, photographs, and interviews of activists and opponents of the Movement.
DVD 323.1196 E

The Black Power Mixtape

The 2011 documentary focuses its sites on the Black Power Movement. This movement happened at the same time as the Civil Rights Movement but was less focused on civil disobedience. Featuring footage by Swedish journalists it contains appearances by Angela Davis and Huey P. Newton.
DVD 305.8009 B


MI0002172114Nina Simone In Concert by Nina Simone

This album features recordings of Simone over the course of 3 different concerts performed at Carnegie Hall. These performances were pivotal in the creation of her identity as Nina Simone Civil Rights Singer. Her politically laden songs with Civil Rights ties wove together a message that could not be ignored.
CD JAZZ Simone

Soundtrack for a Revolution

The soundtrack to a well-made documentary this album features modern artists singing the political songs of the Civil Rights Movement. This album serves to portray the livelihood and importance of music to those living through dark and difficult times.

CD SOUNDTRACK Soundtra-3589


copy_of_cover_-pp09Black Power! curated by Dr. Sylviane A. Diouf

The Black Power Movement was initially a separate movement born out of SNCC started by Stokely Carmichael. The Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement are often viewed together as the Black Freedom Movement.
Schomburg Center—Main Exhibition Hall—Open through December 30th , 2017

Power in Print co-curated by Dr. Sylviane A. Diouf and Isissa Komada-John

The Black Power Movement advertised their rallies and messages with a series of stylized posters that became symbolic of the Movement throughout the sixties and seventies. Stop by the Schomburg Center to check out this exhibit focusing on the art of the Movement!
Schomburg Center—Open through March 31st, 2018

This list created by Morgan and Katherine.

March Library Brochure
Check out our references here!


Reviewing Reviews– Meta Post

Reviews across platforms vary in many ways, they all serve specific purposes but some prove themselves to be far more useful than others. The five reviews that I will be exploring for the duration of this post are from Kirkus, School Library Journal, The New York Times, Goodreads, and The Zoella Book Club.

  • The professional reviews, while shorter than the amateur, were still longer than expected. SLJ and NYT were both far longer than the 300 word maximum that feels to be the standard. That being said both of these reviews felt less professional and wordier than necessary, negatively affecting their usefulness but enhancing their entertainment value.
  • The review from Kirkus was also the only review that seemed to emotionally disconnect itself from the novel. This is understandable in terms of the amateur reviews but this was surprising coming from the other professional reviews.
  • The main difference between the professional reviews and the amateur was the lack of personal opinion in the professional. The use of “I” statements in the amateur makes sense, it is one individual giving their thoughts to their followers. They are less useful in terms of librarianship but that is not the purpose they are meant to serve.
  • There are different versions of this book and some do not include the illustrations. All of the professional reviews spoke to the fantastic illustrations and the ways they add to the text. From the video posted by Zoella Book Club it was apparent that she had not read the copy with illustrations and therefore did not discuss them. This seems to be more a shortcoming on part of the publisher rather than the reviewer.
  • The age group was mentioned in the professional reviews while the amateur reviews recommended that everyone read that book regardless of age or interest.A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness.

Review Work Pt. 2

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block | Professional Review

Block, F.L., (1989). Weetzie bat. New York, NY: Harper Collins.weetziebatcover

Gr. 11 Up – Weetzie Bat is a sixteen year old wild child growing up with her gay best friend Dirk in the shimmering fairy-tale dream world of LA. Surrounding their friendship is a quest for love, a quest eventually completed with the help of a magical genie. Their happy ending consists of a Duck for Dirk and a My Secret Agent Lover Man for Weetzie. They all move in together and begin their happily ever after writing, producing, and starring in films. Complications arise when Duck runs away due to the death of a friend with AIDS. He returns with Dirk and they impregnate Weetzie in a joint effort as M.S.A.L.M. has refused to have a baby; the world is much too cold for new life. Upon learning of her indiscretion he leaves only to return a year later with a witch baby he’s fathered by accident. Block writes with a swift slickness, using cool turns of phrase that at times feel forced. She attempts to slide the characters across glamorous glittering ice, a sheet thin enough for the reader to see through to the dark depths at the bottom. The story succeeds (though with some culturally appropriative snags) but at a cost. The reader loses out on the importance of these undertones leaving the characters underdeveloped and the tale feeling like a long drunken night with a looming hangover that will never be reached.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness | Teen Review

Ness, P., Kay, J., & Dowd, S. (2011). A monster calls: A novel. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press. (UK)

Gr. 8 Up – Which is more frightening, our dreams or our reality? This is the question at the core of Patrick Ness’s book based off on an idea by Siobhan Dowd. Ness weaves a dark tale of a young teenager, Conor, a boy plagued not only by his own recurring nightmares but also his mother’s illness, a school bully, and now… a monster, in the form of large yew tree. Upon meeting, the monster informs Conor that he will tell him three stories but then Conor must tell the monster one of his own. Rather than fearing the great beast, Conor is annoyed by the interruption, after all he experiences a far more frightening guilt festering in his subconscious; any living monster could never compare. Equal parts poignant, scary, and sad the story never drags as it winds through the days of Conor’s life leading up to the inevitable moment that he constantly attempts to deny. Ness has excellently crafted a book for fans of dark, creepy, and emotionally twisting stories. Adding to the lurid world are the intense and emotionally fraught illustrations of Jim Kay, the drawings, wrought in scratchy pen and ink, are perfectly in tune with the tale’s macabre tone. This novel proves itself as a tightly constructed exploration in fear with fleeting glimpses of the dark underbellies of fantasy, reality, and horror interspersed throughout.

PBS Frontline Documentary Comparison

I suppose in this comparison between two documentaries, Merchants of Cool and Generation Like, it is to be understood that we are not comparing the documentaries themselves but the equally unsettling commercial marketing of the two periods of time portrayed and the changes that have brought our society from one point to the next. Merchants of Cool, having been created in 2001, shows a world focused upon brands and advertising. Brands wish to be cool to capture and hold the lucrative teenage market. Teens have begun to no longer view ads as ‘cool’ and marketers must find new ways to capitalize on their culture and sell it back to them. The documentaries follow companies, such as Sprite, who latch onto aspects of popular culture, such as hip-hop music, in order to revitalize their product. Hired individuals are sent into the streets to document what is being held as a standard of cool in an ever-changing society. Through this act companies can begin to market, sell, and profit off of ‘cool’.


In the second documentary, Generation Like, it is shown that while marketers are still focusing on a teenage audience it is no longer about the specific advertisements or about going out in the world to talk to teenagers. Teenagers are doing all of the talking themselves on social media. Marketers watch what teens say, produce, follow, and ‘Like’ and from this are able to create platforms upon which to advertise through. This time it is not the advertisers themselves creating the advertisements but allowing the internet generations to advertise to their followers for them. Companies sponsor influencers, such as Tyler Oakley, to tell their fans to consume a specific product. It is no longer up to companies to seem cool, it is up to companies to find who is cool and to buy them in, selling out, as discussed in the documentary, is no longer a concept.


It is obvious that the difference between these two marketing strategies is social media. Rather than hunting teens down in the streets teenagers are now openly available through the internet. These internet-savvy individuals feel as if they are more in control of their marketing now, as if they are the ones pulling the strings and choosing what they are shown. However, this is not the case. The instance with Ceili Lynch, a fan of the Hunger Games movies, speaks directly to the marketing done by the Sprite campaign in 2001. The Hunger Games Franchise sets up a system where Lynch and others like her can gain points in a competition of who engages the most with the Hunger Games across social media platforms. She earns sparks with each like and share and gets to be recognized among the top fans of the series; sometimes even engaging with the actors in the films on social media. What she does not realize is the benefit that this provides the Hunger Games franchise, each like and share is more advertising for Lionsgate Films, they are profiting off of her enthusiasm.

The Sprite campaign did a similar stint with Viacom in the early 2000’s. Sprite set up an event including the largest names in Hip-Hop at the time  (not-so-coincidentally those signed by Viacom) and filled the venue full of paid teenagers to dance and look cool. Already Sprite is being sold as a “cool company” to these teens in attendance. However, Viacom took it a step further by marketing the campaign to their audience by filming the event and playing it on MTV. They are able to then profit off of the musicians and the cool factor presented by those in attendance and Sprite is able to profit off the wider audience that is now able to view the event. Those interested and inspired by the Hip-Hop culture at the time could easily tune into MTV and watch the event and simultaneously their enthusiasm for their own culture be bought and sold by mass marketing.

The difference between the two situations here is that while Lynch may feel more in control of the advertisements that she is creating and because she is getting the kick back of fame she is serving the franchise in the same way the teenagers paid $50 to attend the Sprite concert are. While it may look like these individuals are in control of their own environments and are profiting from this, it is in no way comparable to the profit the companies are making off of them in return.


How are we, as teen librarians, supposed to contextualize the young people that we interact with throughout our work in terms of the mass marketing of their generation? Now that this marketing has moved into the sphere of social media and as evidenced by Pew Research Center’s Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015, the vast majority of teens are on social media and it can only be deduced that in late 2017 these numbers have grown. The answer is not, of course, to demonize social media. Social media is a mixed bag of positives, negatives, and various grey matter that we are still learning how to navigate as a society. It seems that the best way to contextualize is to make sure that the teens that we see in and around the library are aware of social media marketing, its profits and pitfalls and have enough information to make the choice of whether or not to participate in these marketing ploys. This knowledge can be promoted through programs, video viewings, and reading materials. If teens are given more power, choice, and understanding in regards to their value to these corporations they may be more conscious of their decisions on social media; hopefully making it more difficult for this cycle of mining teens’ interests for profit to continue.


Goodman, B., Dretzin, R. (Producers). (2001). The Merchants of Cool. [Documentary]. New York, NY: Public Broadcasting Service.

Koughan, F., Rushkoff, D. (Producers). (2014). Generation Like. [Documentary]. New York, NY: Public Broadcasting Service.

Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. Available at     



5 Media Challenge: Thriller

This challenge was done with Raphael, check out his blog!

Merriam Webster has defined Thriller as: a work of fiction or drama designed to hold the interest by the use of a high degree of intrigue, adventure, or suspense. This list is compiled of materials meant to engross the reader in fast-moving plots filled with intrigue and deceit. Whether it is the suspense of a whodunit mystery as in Brick or The Alienist or the tension of survival experienced in The Last of Us and A Darkly Beating Heart these materials are sure to deliver an increased heart rate and the ever-posed question, “what happens next?”



Johnson, R. (Director), Johnson, R. (Writer), & Bergman, R., & Mathis, M. G. (Producers). (2005). [Motion picture on DVD]. United States: Focus Features.

In this film director Rian Johnson mixes the suspense of classic noir with the stark realities of high school. Brendan, a teenage outsider, finds himself tangled in the high school world of underground crime while investigating the grisly murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Movie link:

The Last of Us


Straley, B, Druckmann, N. (Director), Druckmann, N. (Writer). (2013) [Video Game on DVD]. United States. Naughty Dog

Tension and discomfort build rapidly throughout the plot of this cinematic post-apocalyptic video game. Joel and Ellie, two characters in desperation, must make their way across a grotesque United States after a fungal pandemic has turned many of the population into infected mutants.  

Game trailer:

The Alienist


Carr, C. (2017). Random House. 498p.

Crime reporter John Moore teams up with acclaimed psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler to investigate the serial killings of young male immigrants working as prostitutes in late 19th century New York. Compare and contrast the build of suspense in the novel with that of the television series of the same name.  

TV Trailer:

A Darkly Beating Heart


Smith, L. (2016). Roaring Brook Press. 272p.

Spiraling after a suicide attempt, Reiko is sent to live with family in Japan for the Summer. Her life complicates when she realizes that she is able to time travel back into the 19th century as Miyu, a woman bent on revenge with her own demons to battle.

Black OP


Desberg, S. (Author), Labiano, H. (Illustrator). (2015). Dargaud (France). 48p

When Floyd Whitman’s father was killed by Communists in 1945 when he was a child, he planned to join the CIA and get his revenge. Now it is 2003 and Whitman now a CIA agent must put aside his differences and work as a spy aiding the Russian Mafia.


Campbell, C. (2014). 11 Modern film noir movies you must see. Fandango. Retrieved from:  

In this 2014 article Christopher Campbell assembles eleven movies that represent modern examples of the pulp noir genre. This genre is represented by hard-boiled cops or PI’s, with black and white morals trying to right a wrong while up against a corrupt police force or organized crime. The article is published on Fandango which is a destination site for movie listings and entertainment news.

Mysteries Both Historical and Psychological. Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Retrieved from:

This genre guide was assembled to feature titles that are both Thrillers that feature Historical and psychological elements. The CRRL list contains titles featuring serial killers, haunted castles and family secrets.

Philip, R. (2014). Top thriller video games of all time. Gaming Bolt. Retrieved from:

Gaming Bolt is a video games news site that features reviews on the latest upcoming games for all platforms. In this listing they have put together a list of the top 66 games considered to be thrillers. Games that feature sustained tension and suspense featuring characters dealing with supernatural/Biological or criminal antagonists.

Reading List: Political Thriller. (2017). Europe Comics. Retrieved from:

Europe Comics is an International Publisher of graphic novels dedicated to spreading the European style of graphic novels around the world. In this list they’ve curated, they present their upcoming graphic novels featuring political thrillers. Tales filled with spies, non stop action and tension.

White, C. (2016) 10 2016 Thriller ya books that will keep you flipping pages. Bustle. Retrived from:

Mysteries, Thrills and Chills! Are what’s promised to readers if they read this list of Thrillers geared for Teens. From your ordinary everyday crime to supernatural and paranormal mysteries. Bustles list is loaded with secrets, crimes, tense situations.

Primary Material Reading- Extraordinary People


Hearst, M., & Scamihorn, A. (2015). Extraordinary people: A semi-comprehensive guide to some of the world’s most fascinating individuals. San Francisco: Chronicle

Selection Process:
I hate saying that the reason I chose this book was because it was the only one that I could get a hold of in time but that is the reality of this situation (it has not been a good luck week for me and library holds). What can be deduced is this: nonfiction books are being checked out and enjoyed by teens, libraries, not realizing the spike in popularity, are not ordering enough of these books to meet demand. Nonfiction is popular, nonfiction has a place.

Collection Development:
This book certainly has a place in a teen collection, it should be used to replace old biographies and other ‘human interest’ books. I recently aided a librarian in weeding the biography collection of her library (located within a high school). It was then when I realized just how far nonfiction has come in a short period of time. The books included within the collection focused on one individual, were around 100-120 pages, and filled with bone dry facts. A nonfiction book that is not created merely for the student but for the reader is a breath of fresh air.

Read Alike Material:

Mizielińska, A. (2016). Under Earth: Under Water. (A. Lloyd-Jones, Trans.). Somerville, MA: Big Picture Press.

Sources Used:
One of my coworkers ordered this book for the Library months ago and we’re all obsessed with it, she’s my source, she introduced me.

Extraordinary People: W+, 4Q, 4P,
Under Earth: Under Water: W+, 5Q, 4P

One of these books is about people, one is about the earth and sea, what do they have in common? These books both have style. The bright illustrations in Extraordinary People reminded me of the bold colors used in Under Earth: Under Water. Both are also full of strange facts and if that’s what a reader wants, why not turn the topic on its head and hook with underlying factors instead?