Youth Collection Statement

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Youth Collection




A.  Purpose


1.  To support instruction and research in education and related disciplines that address children's and/or young adult literature, particularly undergraduate and graduate courses in early childhood education, elementary education, middle/junior high education, literacy education (reading and language arts), school library studies, education of the gifted, child psychology, special education, and teaching methods courses in the other Colleges that focus on such curriculum areas as the natural and applied sciences, mathematics, the social sciences, and the fine arts.


2.  To support instruction and research in other disciplines that integrate children’s and young adult materials into coursework, such as creative drama, children's theater, art, music, sociology, health, and leisure services.


3.  To support institutes, conferences, workshops, and other programs sponsored by UNI, such as the African American Children & Families Conference, the African American Read-In, Children's Literature Workshops, and the Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP).


4.  To serve as a resource for educators and educational organizations in the state, including the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Library Association, the Iowa Association of the International Reading Association, individual school districts, public libraries, and area education agencies.


5.  To promote literacy, intellectual freedom, and the general well-being of today’s youth.

Related Subject Areas


For the most part, materials designed for a juvenile audience are placed in the Youth Collection; however, some classics and traditional novels popular among young people (Horatio Alger, for instance) may be found in the general stacks. If upon receipt a title ordered for the general collection appears to be juvenile or if the CIP suggests a juvenile literature subheading, the volume is usually referred to the Youth Services Librarian for possible transfer to the Youth Collection. Some adult titles currently popular among young adults are located in the Youth Collection, but most are found in the general stacks. Generally, if a volume appears elsewhere in the library, a duplicate copy will not be acquired for the Youth Collection. 


The professional reference section includes resources for the adult study of children's/young adult literature. These selections are the most highly recommended and heavily used items in the discipline. After several years many of them are replaced by newer titles. They are transferred to the general stacks or withdrawn. Frequently, the newest edition of a major resource will be in the Youth Collection and the previous edition will be available for circulation in the stacks. Reading and library science materials for the general stacks are selected in correlation with the professional reference materials in the Youth Collection. 


Other collection strategists usually refer requests for juvenile titles and resources related to children’s/young adult literature to the Youth Services Librarian. Teaching materials and student textbooks are part of the Curriculum Laboratory collection in HNI Corporation Instructional Resources and Technology Services and are not purchased for the Youth Collection. Print and nonprint formats are interfiled in one classification system and location in the Youth Collection. A growing number of subscriptions to online products are also available via the Rod Library website. Some are related to the professional study of children’s/young adult literature while others are K-12 databases.


Other Resources/Cooperative Agreements

Many resources related to children’s and young adult literature are available on the Internet. The Youth Collection website provides links to some of the most useful and reliable ( Indexes and full-text databases UNI subscribes to can be located by referring to the Rod Library homepage,


The Youth Collection staff works with the staff of Instructional Resources and Technology Services to review selection guidelines for both collections and to avoid unnecessary duplication. The two collections are perceived as complementing one another, rounding out the needs of teacher education faculty and students.  The Youth Collection also serves as a resource for the Reading Clinic. 

From time to time, the Youth Collection has been part of cooperative ventures with the Cedar Falls and Waterloo school and public libraries, providing author/illustrator biographical data, reviews for materials, bibliographies, and other related information, and on occasion has either loaned or borrowed material for a brief time.     

The Youth Collection serves as a resource for the Area Education Agencies in Iowa, particularly Central Rivers AEA in Cedar Falls. The Youth Services Librarian gives presentations at their in-service workshops and has served on their committees and taskforces.

Since UNI serves as the archival repository for the former Iowa Educational Media Association (now Iowa Association of School Librarians), past documents and records for the book award programs—Iowa Children’s Choice Award, Iowa Teen Award, and Iowa High School Book Award—are sometimes sent to the Youth Collection to be reviewed before they are submitted to Special Collections. According to their policy, all books donated to these programs are directed to the Youth Collection to be considered as gifts. 


The Youth Collection has also been impacted by Rod Library’s cooperative agreements with other institutions, particularly the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. 


B. Primary LC Class(es)

The letter "Y" is used to designate Youth Collection holdings in the Donald O. Rod Library, and materials are classified in an arrangement similar to that found in most school library media centers and children's/young adult sections in public libraries. Materials are cataloged using a simplified Dewey Decimal Classification System and a slightly modified list of LC subject headings.


The following symbols are used to designate various areas within the collection:


YE Picture Books


Y + first 3 letters of

             author's surname                       Juvenile Fiction


Y + Dewey Classification                        Nonfiction


Y 398                                                     Folklore

Y 800                                                       Foreign Language

Y 821                                                       Poetry


Y B + first 3 letters of                               Biography

            subject’s surname        


Y Hist. Coll.                                             Historical Collection


Y Notable                                                Notable Awards Collection


YRP                                                        Professional Reference


C. Collection Guidelines

1. Scope of Coverage

a. Language

The collection is comprised mostly of materials in the English language; however, there is a small collection of children's books in other languages (Y 800). The collection includes some bilingual and multilingual materials and translations from other countries. Several books in Braille available for the visually disabled are also part of the collection. Nonprint items are selected in captioned format for hearing impaired when that option is available.  


Visual literacy, an important element in children’s literature, is supported with wordless picture books, graphic novels, and toy books with pop-ups, foldouts, and pull-out. Selections represent a wide range of readability and interest levels, from basic board books for infants to complex literary forms for young adults.

b. Geographical Guidelines

Although the collection is comprised primarily of American imprints it does reflect educational and publishing trends of a more global or international nature by the inclusion of titles available through international publishers' exchanges.


Geographical coverage at the state level is supported with at least one title about every state. The geographical and historical collection on Iowa is most extensive, but more materials are being sought in this area. Since the allocation for Youth Collection materials is not large enough to develop extensive collections of materials about every country, representative titles are selected from most major geographical or historical series focusing on countries and cultures of the world. Generally, several current titles on a country may be found in the collection.


Diversity is an important aspect of the collection and is taken into consideration in all selection, deselection, and collection analysis decisions. Folklore (in English), literature, and poetry representing many ethnic, cultural, and religious groups from around the world are collected.

c. Chronological Guidelines

The general focus of the collection is on current imprints that students will find in the typical school library media center in Iowa. Very few out-of-print titles are acquired.


Retention policies and weeding procedures are based on a plan originally developed by the Iowa Department of Education. Generally, items that are at least ten years old and have not circulated for at least three years are considered for withdrawal in consultation with major retrospective bibliographies. Other considerations include balance in the collection, publishing trends in the genre or discipline, and strengths/weaknesses of the specific title.  


Only those books identified as titles of major historical significance are located in the Historical Collection. Titles are rarely purchased for the collection, but rather they are transferred there when they are no longer needed in the current collection. (See the policy for the Historical Collection attached to this document.) Many of the titles in the Historical Collection are gifts, such as the collection of boys’ early twentieth century series books. This gift was accepted as an opportunity for students to specialize in this area of historical research. The collection of autographed books does include some contemporary titles.


Children’s magazines reflect society, and as such, many are short-lived. Some subscriptions are in effect for only several years before the publication ceases. Issues of all children's magazines are kept for one year. Titles considered beneficial for designing teaching units and other instructional purposes are bound and stored in the library's bound periodical collection. Several professional periodicals used for selection purposes are retained for five years in the workroom. Other professional titles are part of the library’s general periodical collection.


2. Treatment of Subject

The Youth Collection includes many top-quality titles in the major genres of children’s/young adult literature: picture books, information books, full-length fiction, biography, poetry, and folklore. Selection criteria include sound literary and aesthetic quality, authenticity and accuracy, curriculum application, audience suitability, and cost. Titles are selected on the basis of positive reviews and faculty recommendations. Review titles submitted by publishers and other sources are considered for inclusion using the same criteria. The collection includes total runs of several major awards:  Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery, Goldfinch Award, Iowa Children's Choice, Iowa Teen Award and Iowa High School Book Award.


An effort is made to balance the collection with different perspectives, artistic styles, and presentational organization, e.g., general to specific, chronological, or topical structure. In the case of folklore, different versions are obtained reflecting various cultures and visual interpretations. An effort is made to develop at least a small representational sampling of new or experimental genres. A complete run of a particular author or illustrator is rarely collected, but an attempt is made to present the person's best work or most representative pieces. Generally, only one copy of a title is purchased, however, one or two additional copies may be acquired to fulfill requests for titles in great demand.


The reference collection includes reference materials for adults studying children's literature (YRP), including curriculum/genre/topical bibliographies, teaching activity guidebooks, genre indexes, and some selected classics in the professional literature. Total runs are acquired for extensive series, such as The Index to Children's Poetry. Only the latest edition of most bibliographies is included unless the title has retrospective value. Older editions are withdrawn or transferred to stacks if they have potential historical or retrospective significance. Several references are available in both print and online formats, including Children’s Core Collection, Middle and Junior High Core Collection, and Senior High Core Collection (colloquially known as “the Wilson indexes”).. The YRP section is also enhanced by an online subscription to Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.


Titles typically found in a school library or children's reference collection in a public library include children’s dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, and almanacs. Most reference materials have been published during the last five years. Reference materials in the library’s general reference section are not duplicated in the Youth Collection. Some online reference resources are available in the K-12 databases. Reference titles that blend print and online access are also considered for collection.

3. Types of Materials

Print and nonprint materials are integrated on the shelves. An attempt is made to include formats in the collection that are prevalent in Iowa’s schools. Nonprint formats, including CDs and DVDs, are stored in locking cases that are removed when the items are checked out.


Internet access provided at the public workstations is considered a viable part of the collection. The Youth Collection subscribes to several professional online databases, but funds are not available for an extensive collection. Since these databases are intended primarily for schools, licensing issues and high FTE costs need to be considered when considering new subscriptions.


Due to the heavy use of materials, print hard copy is usually preferred over paper copy. Paper copy is acceptable if it is the only format available, but often the volume will need to be sent to the bindery fairly soon. Spiral bindings are acquired if they are the only format available. Unusual formats (pop-up, pull-the-tab, etc.) may be purchased but their location is designated as Youth Office and they are shelved in the locked Unusual Formats section. Disks are preferred over magnetic recordings because they are not as easily damaged by the Library’s security system.


The major children’s literature textbooks are included in the YRP section, but no children’s textbooks or basal readers’ series are located in the Youth Collection. Instructional materials, such as curriculum guides and supplemental science and social studies materials, are not purchased.


Review books from publishers and gifts from other sources are accepted, adhering to the Rod Library Materials Gift Policy. All nonprint formats are acquired in compliance with the guidelines established by the Library’s Audio-Visual Materials Policy and the Electronic Resources Collection Management Policy.

4. Date of Publication
Acquisitions are primarily new publications. Occasionally, added and/or replacement copies of older titles are purchased, especially titles recommended by faculty members.

D. ALA Collecting Level Codes

Children's literature 3b

Young adult literature 2b

E. Strengths and Weaknesses of the Collection


This is a strong, representative collection of children’s/young adult literature, probably one of the best in Iowa. An effort is made to select high quality literature that supports curriculum areas representative of many schools in the state. An emphasis is placed on diversity, global understanding, and child development. Titles considered controversial in other libraries remain on the shelves at UNI, and the collection has served as a resource for schools facing challenges to materials. Many schools have sent educators to UNI Children’s Literature Workshops and/or used bibliographies of recommended titles a selection guide. The Collection has also served as a basis for the research of many UNI professors whose works have been printed by major educational presses and journals.


The Youth Collection is known for its comprehensive collection of biographical information on children's authors and illustrators, its extensive indexes and compilations in children's poetry and folklore, and its access to reviews and critical analyses in the field of children's literature. A major thrust of this collection, its strong research capabilities, can be attributed to the fact that it is supported by additional resources in other parts of the library and online.

Several areas in the Youth Collection need further development, particularly resources on or about Iowa (all formats), the non-English language collection, and the access to online materials, especially K-12 materials. 


Like many other libraries, Rod Library faces budget woes, inflationary prices, and frustration with trying to keep up with the deluge of new materials, especially costly journals and online subscriptions. The Youth Collection will no doubt be affected by these factors.      


K. Browne (2018) / L. Lettow

November 2004; rev. 10/07; rev. 10/18



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