INLS 733 – Administration of Public Library Work with

Children and Young Adults (Spring 2016)

Manning Hall, Room 014

Thursdays, 6:00-8:45pm



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 the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough, so our tasks will 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 14th (Our Beliefs) 

In Class:  Introductions, course overview and expectations; Examine YALSA competencies and/or ASLC competencies; Analyze sample mission statements (Sakai), professional 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.




January 21st 

Field trip to Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough to examine site and collection.  We’ll meet at the library!  If you have a car and are willing to help carpool, we’ll coordinate transportation from SILS (I can take four students in my car, leaving from SILS at 5:40pm).  The goals for this visit are: 1) to explore the physical layout of the space to see what it tells us about librarianship and children, and 2) to examine the collection for similar clues and to get an initial sense of the depth and breadth of the collection in areas that we might analyze (see the collection assignment description at the bottom of this page).


January 27th (Our History)

Topic:  Seminar on history of library services and spaces for children and young adults…choose a decade.

Readings:  Maack article; 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 – older ones are on the 4th floor) dealing with youth services and be prepared to share their main points in class; while browsing, look at advertisements and photos as well to get a sense of library culture.


February 4th (Our Employees/Colleagues)

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

Readings:  Adkins 2004 and Spoor 2012 (Sakai)


Assignment Due:  Draft Personal philosophy


February 11th (Our Programming: Children)

Topic: Designing exceptional library programs for children

Readings:  Dowd & Dixon 1996, MacLean 2008, Peck 2009, Stippich 2012, and Albright, et. al., 2009 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 210+ books we have in our UNC libraries on this topic (or browse the Z718 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, would they really appeal to today’s children, and why/why not?”


February 18th (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 80+ books we have in our UNC libraries (or browse the Z718 area of the stacks).


February 25th (Our Space)

Topic: Building Design workshop

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

§  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:

§  Image search the web on “library design” or “children’s libraries” to see some interesting pictures 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

Skim the Youth Development websites below:

(Normal child development: birth -5 years)

 (Normal adolescent development)


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 Orange County Public Library?  How could we assess their needs?


Assignment Due:  Draft Program (use progtemplate.docx on Sakai)


March 10th (Our Collections)

Topic: Collection evaluation, management, and Challenges

Readings: Read ALA’s approach to materials’ challenges; Work through the Arizona Libraries Collection Development Training website at:  How do the issues discussed here apply specifically to work with youth?  Pay particular attention to the “Collection Assessment” section and the “Community Needs Assessment” section.  Finally, see MCPL Collection Development Policy for Children (Sakai).


March 17th



March 24th (Our Finances)

Topic:  Grant-writing

Readings: Bayley 1995, Boylan 2013; Engelfried and Reynolds 2002 articles and Grant Resources.docx (Sakai) 


Assignment Due:  Draft Community Assessment


March 31st (Our Marketing)

Topic:  Displays, signs, digital presence, transmedia storytelling

Readings: Biggs & Calvert 2013 and Block 2001articles (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.


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 (; (seems to be no longer updated, but still useful for archival purposes); 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 listserv on laws and ethics affecting libraries (scroll down on the left for state-by-state coverage, but remember this is a compilation from a listserv, so judge the authenticity accordingly).


Assignment Due:  Draft Collection Analysis


Reminder (not course related): Master’s Papers are due April 11th


April 14th (Our Interactions with Youth)

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

Readings:  Bishop and Salveggi 2001 and Chelton 2009 articles; Searching Problems spreadsheet (Sakai: other documents)


April 21st (last class)

Consultant groups’ final presentations (no more than 15 minutes for the presentation and 5-10 minutes for questions)

Assignment Due:  Final presentations





Individual Assignments:


Personal/Professional Philosophy                 10% due: February 4th

Live Program Performance Write-up            10% due: post-program delivery

Class Participation                                        10%          due: ongoing

Reflection Blog on Sakai                               10% due: ongoing but finalized by

                                                                      final exam day at 5:00pm

                                                                      (Saturday, April 30th)


Group Assignments:

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


Draft Program (use progtemplate.docx on Sakai)     10% due: March 3rd 

Draft Community Assessment                                  15% due: March 24th

Draft Collection Analysis                                         15% due: April 7th

Final Group Presentation                                          20% due: April 21st



Assignment Descriptions (by date due):


1.     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).


2.     Draft Program

Your program should follow the Template for Thinking about Programming (progtemplate.docx on Sakai: other documents).  This is your group’s opportunity to build an effective, fun, and age-appropriate program that should work well with your target audience.


3.     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 at the Orange County library (or an outreach location in collaboration with Amber) to see whether it actually works, or what parts of it are successful, and to gain practical experience working with children/YAs.


4.     Draft Community Assessment

For this piece of the assignment, I want you to collect as much pertinent data about the clientele of the Orange County library environment as you can.  Find out the actual demographics and statistics of the Hillsborough 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 Orange County 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.


5.     Draft Collection Analysis

For this assignment, your group needs to collaborate with Amber Campbell at Orange County Public Library 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.  Amber has already identified some specific collections she would like assessed (in priority order):

·        Biographies (core collection)

·        NC literature/authors

·        Native American non-fiction

·        Historical Fiction (Colonial era or Early American)

·        Poetry (contemporary and/or classics)

·        Comparative Religions;

·        Mythology

·        Folktales



6.     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 Orange County Public library.  Please dress professionally (for most youth positions, this is casually dressy) and present your ideas concisely and incisively.  You may decide how your group divides the responsibilities for this presentation.  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 and will be based on my observations and each of your personal assessments of the group members’ contributions.


7.     Reflection Blog

This is an ongoing assignment throughout the semester.  I have activated the Blogs function in Sakai so that each of you will have a personal space to post your ideas and thoughts (the default setting is that your posts will be publicly available; I suggest that you change this to “members of this site only” for each post, but if you want to post something that only I can read, select “only site administrators and I.”).  I want you actively contributing to your blog throughout the semester (please don’t do a “blog-dump” at the end as this defeats the purpose).


Possible things to include in your blogs:

·        Thoughts/questions you have related to the readings

·        Reflections on classroom activities and new insights they’ve provided you (if any)

·        Changes to your philosophy of youth librarianship

·        Connections you see to other learning you’ve done at SILS in other courses

·        Problems you encounter finding the relevance of course content (so that can make sure to clarify that; I often make assumptions after having been in this field for nearly 25 years that I need to clarify, so help me ensure that you understand everything)

·        Links to interesting website or articles you’ve found on your own

·        Final assessment of your group process and functioning (successes and struggles, but make sure to keep this one PRIVATE)




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.