INLS 733 – Administration of Public Library Work with

Children and Young Adults (Spring 2014)

Manning Hall, Room 307

Mondays, 12:30-3:15pm



Instructor Information

Dr. Brian Sturm

Office:  Manning Hall #215-A (962-2460)

Office Hours:  Drop-in or by appointment




Course Description


This course is designed to expose graduate SILS students to the multiple facets of services to youth (children and young adults) in public libraries.  Each week, the class will address a particular issue and explore how it interweaves with related concepts of service.  The class is a service-learning approach, so each year we “adopt” a local library and use that context as the focus of our work.  This year we have adopted our own SILS library, so our tasks will all revolve around their needs and related issues. 



Target Audience


There are no pre-requisites to this course, though it may be more useful during your second year as a SILS student.



Course Pre-requisites





Course Goals and Key Learning Objectives


This is your chance to learn “how to be a children’s/YA librarian.  By the end of the course you should:


1.     Understand the overall job of the youth librarian in all its dynamic aspects

2.     Be confident in designing and presenting age-appropriate and engaging youth programs

3.     Understand how public library services to youth have evolved

4.     Understand how context and physical setting influence library services and success

5.     Be able to assess a user community as evidence in providing relevant services and collections

6.     Be confident in interviewing for your next position and/or hiring someone to fill a vacancy



Class Schedule


Articles listed in the Readings section of the syllabus are either hyperlinked or on the class Sakai site in the Resources section. There is no textbook for this class.



January 13th (Our Beliefs) 

Topic: Personal introductions, course overview and expectations; Competencies, policies, mission statements, personal philosophies; divide into “consulting” groups for the semester (by 1st/2nd year students and child/YA focus), sign up for January 27th history decade to research.

Readings: Sturm 20 Years Later article (Sakai)

Review YALSA competencies for young adult librarians at:



January 20th

NO CLASS: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday



January 27th (Our History)

Topic:  Seminar on history of library services and spaces for children and young adults

Readings:  Maack article at:; History timeline; YA Services Chronology; Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action.

Assignment Due (ungraded):  Find two (2) articles in Library Journal from your chosen decade (browse the print editions in the SILS library) dealing with youth services and be prepared to share their main points in class.



February 3rd (Our Employees)

Topic:  Scheduling, job descriptions and interviews, management styles and communication patterns

Readings:  Explore the 101 library job interview questions at:

Assignment Due:  Personal philosophy; bring to class the URL of one library design you like (either entire public library or just a youth services area)



February 10th (Our Programming: Children)

Topic: Designing exceptional library programs for children

Readings:  Dowd/Dixon 1996, MacLean 2008, Peck 2009, and Stippich 2012 articles (on Sakai), and explore the many youth services books in the SILS library.  Do a subject search in our OPAC on “children’s libraries--activity programs” for a list of the 164+ books we have in our UNC libraries on this topic (or browse the Z718.3 area of the stacks). As you look at these various kinds of programs in these books and articles, ask yourself, “Do they really fit the mission and goals of public library youth services, and why/why not?”



February 17th (Our Programming: Young Adults)

Topic: Library programs for young adults

Readings: Bostian 2010, Shay 2011, and Wallace 1993 articles (on Sakai); Do a subject search in our OPAC on “young adult libraries--activity programs” for a list of the 55+ books we have in our UNC libraries (or browse the Z718.3 and Z718.5 areas of the stacks).



February 24th (Our Space)

Topic: Building Design workshop

Readings: Mulaney 2013 article; Skim Lushington, Nolan (2008) Libraries Designed for Kids on SILS RESERVE. See Black and Rankin history of library design.

§  There are many books on library design (search UNC OPAC under: s = “library architecture” as a place to start your exploration. 

§  Have a look at a retail layout approach to design for libraries at: 

§  Examine some floor plans (Sakai: hollyspringsfloorplan.pdf) and at:



§  Look at the furniture examples at:

§  Search the web for library youth services homepages to see photos of what they look like.  A web search on “library design” should yield some interesting URLs for further study.



March 3rd (Our Community)

Topic: Child and adolescent development; reading preferences; Community Assessment Workshop

Readings:  Nespeca 1994, Sturm 2003 “Dogs and Dinosaurs” articles (Sakai); Sturm’s “Reading Preferences” article

Review the Youth Development websites below: (Normal child development: birth -5 years) and; (Normal adolescent development) (Kohlberg’s theory of moral development)


Assignment Due:  Draft Program (use template)


March 10th




March 17th (Our Collections)

Topic: Collection evaluation and management & Community Assessment

Readings: Work through the Collection Development Training website at:  How do the issues discussed here apply specifically to work with youth?  Pay particular attention to the “Collection Assessment and Mapping” section.  Examine SILS Library Annual Report 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 for trends (Sakai).  Also see MCPL Collection Development Policy for Children (Sakai).


Also Read Conducting a Community Assessment. Read Community Profiling handout.  Explore the US Census site related to children:  & the NC State Data Center site:  Look at State Library of NC public library statistics webpage.  What is the “community” of users for the SILS library?  How could we assess their needs?

Assignment Due:  Building Design



March 24th (Our Finances)

Topic:  Budgets and grant-writing

Readings: Bayley 1995, Deerr 1995, and Devlin 1990 articles (Sakai).  Read the short overview of budgeting essentials from Wisconsin DPI.  See the Wisconsin Library program budget guidelines at:  Look at the old – but still useful – line-item budget at: as an example.  See examples of line item and program budgets at:



March 31st (Our Marketing)

Topic:  displays, signs, digital presence, transmedia storytelling

Readings: Biggs & Calvert 2013, Block 2001, and Young 1984 articles and Grant Resources.docx (Sakai).  See the Marketing – Library Success wiki; Read an overview of transmedia storytelling for marketing.  Work through the self-training in marketing from the Ohio Library Council.

Assignment Due:  Draft Community Assessment



April 7th (Our Legislation and Advocacy)

Topic: Legislation relating to youth services and advocating for your library

Readings: Laws Affecting children’s librarians (Sakai).  ALA’s advocacy webpage (;; Search Google for “library laws” and explore some of the state library hosted (usually) legal information pages for librarians; look at the Best of the PubLib listserve on laws and ethics affecting libraries (scroll down on the left for state-by-state coverage, but remember this is a compilation from a listserve, so judge the authenticity accordingly).


Reminder (not course related): Master’s Papers are due today


April 14th (Our Interactions with Youth)

Topic: Reference interviews, youth information seeking, and reader’s advisory

Readings:  Bishop and Salveggi 2001 article; Searching Problems spreadsheet; Searching study summary (Sakai)

Assignment Due:  Draft Collection Analysis



April 21st (last class)

Consultant groups’ final presentations (no more than 15 minutes)

Assignment Due:  Final presentations





Individual Assignments:


Personal/Professional Philosophy     10%  due: February 3rd

Building Design                                          10%  due: March 17th

Live Program Performance Write-up          10%  due: to be determined

Class Participation                                     10%  due: ongoing


Group Assignments:

Your other assignments this semester are designed to help your “consultant group” create a portfolio to present to the Chapel Hill Public Library, including:


Draft Program (use template)                     10%  due: February 24th

Draft Community Assessment                   15%  due: March 24th

Draft Collection Analysis                           15%  due: April 14th

Final Group Presentation                           20%  due: April 21st



Assignment Descriptions (by due date):


Draft Personal/Professional Philosophy of Service

This is your chance to express your feelings about who you are as a future youth librarian.  Include such issues as:  priorities of service (which are your most crucial and why), things you feel a library should NOT do, how you feel about freedom of access to information and/or privacy for children, why you decided to serve children/YAs and how you feel it is best to serve them (and their parents?), your stance on the role of technology in a youth library, your belief in the kind of collection you should offer, and any other personal stands on pressing issues in the field.  What do you believe in (go ahead and use the words “I believe that….”)? What are you willing to stand up for?  What are your values?  What do you want to accomplish as a librarian?  Focus on philosophical issues more than practical concerns (i.e., “I believe the library is the place to build children’s imaginations,” instead of “I want to have romance novels in the collection”; this latter statement is actually fine IF you use it as an example of a philosophical argument, for example, to provide what the public wants, or to offer a balanced collection).


Draft Program

Your program should follow the Template for Thinking about Programming.  This is your group’s opportunity to build an effective, fun, and age-appropriate program that should work well with your target audience.


Live Program Performance and Write-up (whenever you complete the event you’ve designed)

The idea of this assignment is that your group takes the program you designed for the assignment above, and performs it live the SILS library (or an outreach location of your choice) to see whether it actually works, or what parts of it are successful, and to gain practical experience working with children/YAs.


Draft Building Design

This will be a visual representation: a large poster diagram, a graph paper diagram, or a computer-generated diagram of your dream, pie-in-the-sky youth library with labeled shelving, furniture, and accessories.  You need to include a brief description of the setting/context of your dream library as part of your diagram.  I’ll be looking for youth appeal, functionality, good sight lines, good traffic flow, consideration of special audiences, and other building design elements we discuss in class.  Be creative!  This is your chance to move beyond what we are currently doing and think about what’s BEST for children and young adults in terms of library and information spaces!


Draft Community Assessment

For this piece of the assignment, I want you to collect as much pertinent data about the clientele of the SILS library as you can.  Find out the actual demographics and statistics of the university (who lives where on campus), Chapel Hill and the area; see what it looks like from the air to get a sense of topography; explore schooling, crime rates, ethnicities and where they are located; and any other information you can find that describes the community who might use the SILS library, then put together a presentation that best summarizes what you’ve found.  This can be a webpage, a video, a PowerPoint, a Prezi presentation, a digital storytelling project, etc.  Your job is to describe the uniqueness of the community in as much detail as you can, but in a presentation format that is easily accessible and provocative.  We will examine the SILS library’s annual reports and explore ways to market the library to increase use by various groups (i.e., the School of Education, married student housing).



Draft Collection Analysis

For this assignment, your group needs to collaborate with Rebecca Vargha at SILS to define a portion of the collection to analyze.  You are to do a circulation study of that portion of the collection as well as (if possible) a list-checking study.  The final written product will be: 1) a short summary of your process and methods, 2) an evaluation of the existing part of the collection you have chosen identifying gaps, and 3) recommendations for acquisition and weeding.  Kenny Jones, the SILS library assistant, will run the circulation reports for you, but it takes a while to get them, so please plan ahead so he has time to fit this in.  Rebecca has already identified some specific collections she would like assessed: graphic novels for very young children,  pop-ups/movable books, Dewey 500s (this can be split into multiple projects), and Dewey 800s (also can be split up).



Final Presentation

This will be your group’s presentation of your semester’s study to the class.  You are to design a NOT MORE THAN 15-minute presentation to share – in encapsulated form – all the work you have done as consultants to the SILS library.  Please dress professionally (for most youth positions, this is casually dressy) and present your ideas concisely and incisively.  Your desire here is to perform in such a way that the listeners find your portfolio appealing, and the information included, interesting and useful.  Your grade will evaluate both your content and delivery.





Grading for assignments will follow the H, P, L, F scale for graduate students.



Course Policies




Class participation is vital to your learning in this course, so I expect you to attend class each week.  While I understand that life can get in the way of your education, this class needs your participation and input each week, so that you can build on prior knowledge, share your experiences, and help your classmates learn and grow.