Youth Collection Statement

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A. Purpose

1. To support courses and research in the College of Education requiring work with children's and/or young adult literature, particularly undergraduate and graduate courses in early childhood education, elementary education, middle/junior high education, reading and language arts, library science, education of the gifted, child psychology, special education, and teaching methods courses in the other colleges that focus on the various disciplines (science, math, the social sciences).

2. To support related courses in other disciplines such as creative drama, children's theater, art, and sociology.

3. To support institutes, conferences, workshops, and other programs sponsored by UNI, such as the UNI Beginning Reading Conference, Library Science Conference, CONTAG Conference, Children's Literature Workshops, and the Intensive English program.

4. To serve the Department of Teaching as an additional resource and backup for the Price Laboratory School Library.

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

6. To support literacy, intellectual freedom, and literary and aesthetic appreciation for young people.

Related Subject Areas

For the most part, juvenile literature acquired for the library is placed in the Youth Collection; however, some juvenile classics and other historical titles that are juvenile in nature (Horatio Alger, for instance) may be found in the general stacks. If a title ordered for the general collection appears to be juvenile upon receipt or if the CIP indicates a juvenile literature subheading, the volume is usually referred to the Youth Collection Librarian for possible transfer to the Youth Collection. Some adult titles popular among young adults may be part of the Youth Collection, but most are found in the general stacks or the Browsing Collection. Generally, if a volume appears elsewhere in the library, a duplicate copy will not be obtained for the Youth Collection.

The professional reference section includes the most heavily used titles supporting the study of children's/young adult literature. Titles used less frequently, older editions, and titles not as reference-oriented as other publications may be found in the general stacks. Reading and library science materials for the general stacks are selected in correlation with the professional reference materials in the Youth Collection.

Bibliographers in the various subject-oriented disciplines usually refer requests for juvenile titles to the Youth Collection Librarian. Requests for audio recordings of children's music are referred to the Art and Music Librarian. Teaching materials and students' textbooks are part of the Curriculum Laboratory collection in Instructional Resources and Technology Services. The Youth Collection has a few select nonprint titles supporting the library science curriculum, but most nonprint items are available from either Instructional Resources and Technology Services or the Educational Media Center.

Other Resources/Cooperative Agreements

The Youth Collection Librarian works closely with the Director of the Instructional Resources and Technology Services to establish and review selection guidelines for both areas. The Youth Collection Librarian serves on the Curriculum Laboratory's Advisory Committee.

The Youth Collection and the Price Lab School Library have served as backups for each other on occasion, although heavy use of both does not allow much flexibility. From time to time, the Youth Collection has also participated in cooperative ventures with the Cedar Falls and Waterloo school and public libraries. The Youth Collection has shared/exchanged author/illustrator biographical information, reviews, and bibliographies with these institutions, and on rare occasions has either loaned or borrowed a book for a brief time.

Cooperation between the UNI Youth Collection and the Curriculum Laboratory at the University of Iowa has been informal and sporadic, but effective. Both librarians have made presentations at the other's institution, have shared bibliographies they have compiled, and have provided the other with information they could not obtain otherwise.

The Youth Collection also serves as a resource for the Iowa Department of Education. Consultants occasionally submit requests for information or refer teachers in the state to the Youth Collection. All requests are addressed except those involving actual circulation of Youth Collection materials, a privilege that is limited to UNI students and faculty because of heavy demands on the collection.

From time to time, the Youth Collection Librarian has served on various committees sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education, such as the Iowa Authors Committee and the Iowa Literary Map Committee. She has also written brief articles about new Iowa-related materials for children for Growth Notes, the DOE newsletter for school media specialists.

The historical collection in the Youth Collection is developed to support the course History of Children's Literature. Students and faculty doing a more advanced historical study are referred to the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota--the largest historical children's literature collection in the country.

B. Primary LC Class(es)

The Youth Collection is not part of the LC collection. 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.

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

YE Picture Books

Y + first 3 letters of author's surname


Y + Dewey Classification Nonfiction


Y 398 Folklore

Y 800 Foreign Language

Y 821 Poetry

Y B Biography

Y Hist. Historical Collection

Y Notable Notable Awards Collection

YRP Professional Reference

YR Children's Reference Books

Format designations are also indicated for Braille and non-print items (filmstrips, cassette tapes, kits, and videos). Fragile formats (pop-up, movable parts) are generally designated as Desk Copies and are circulated from the Youth Collection Librarian's office with special permission.

C. Collection Guidelines

1. Scope of Coverage

a. Language

The collection is comprised mostly of books in the English language; however, there is a small collection of children's books in foreign languages (Y 800). The Spanish and Russian languages are represented more extensively than other languages because of the significant number of Spanish-speaking people in the United States and because of the UNI's exchange program with the Russian Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg.

The Youth Collection contains some bilingual books and many translations of titles that originally appeared in other languages.

Several books in braille representing the different formats available for the visually disabled are also part of the collection.

b. Geographical Guidelines

Although the collection is comprised primarily of American publications it does reflect educational and publishing trends of a more global or international nature by the inclusion of titles issued through international publishers' exchanges and through participation in an exchange facilitated by our Russian students each spring semester.

Since the allocation for Youth Collection materials is not large enough to develop extensive collections of books about every country, representative titles are selected from most major series focusing on countries and cultures of the world. Hence, only one to three current titles on a specific country may be found in the collection, but additional titles on the country may be cited by noting other series that offer a book on the country and then examining books from these series in this library.

Folklore (in English) from all cultures are acquired.

c. Chronological Guidelines

Children's books of primary historical significance are transferred to the Historical Collection when they are no longer considered current. The Historical Collection is limited to those titles supporting the course History of Children's Literature.

Weeding procedures are based on a modified plan developed by the Iowa Department of Education. Generally, books that are at least ten years old, have not circulated for at least five years, and are not listed in the major retrospective bibliographies are considered for withdrawal. The average time a volume remains in the collection is thirteen years.

All children's magazines are kept for one year. Those that can be used for designing teaching units are bound and stored in the library's bound periodical collection.

2. Treatment of Subject

The Youth Collection includes many of the best quality titles in picture books, information books, full-length fiction, biography, poetry, and folklore. Titles are selected on the basis of positive reviews and faculty recommendations. Review titles submitted by publishers are also considered for inclusion using the same criteria. The collection includes total runs of several major awards: Caldecott, Newbery, Iowa Children's Choice, and Iowa Teen Award. The major children's periodicals are acquired, with special attention to those indexed in The Children's Magazine Guide.

The reference collection includes reference materials for adults studying children's literature (YRP) and titles typically found in a school library or children's reference collection in a public library (YR). Only the latest edition of most bibliographies is included unless the title has retrospective value. Most reference materials have been published during the last ten years. Total runs are acquired for extensive series, such as Something About the Author and The Index to Children's Poetry.

Most Information File materials have been printed in the last five years. These materials relate to children's/young adult literature or the school program and are too small to be bound for the shelves. Very few nonprint materials are currently being acquired due to cost, availability elsewhere, and potential use in comparison to print materials.

3. Types of Materials

Print material is stored in the Youth Collection: books, periodicals, and information file materials (pamphlets). A small nonprint collection of material for children/young adults is cataloged as part of the collection but is circulated from the Reserve Desk. Filmstrips, cassette tapes, and videotapes are included in the collection.

4. Date of Publication

Acquisitions are usually new publications. Occasionally, added and replacement copies or older titles recommended by faculty are purchased.

D. ALA Collecting Level Codes

Children's literature 3b

Young adult literature 2b

E. Strengths and Weaknesses of the Collection


The Youth Collection is designed to be a representative collection of children's and young adult literature for adult study. It should not be viewed as an exhaustive collection, an archival collection, or a model collection. Its primary function is to serve students and faculty at UNI in their coursework and research.

This is a strong collection of children's literature even though it does not have the depth that one may find in many school or public libraries. Generally, only one copy of a title is purchased and subject coverage in the nonfiction section is usually limited to two to four titles on a specific topic. An effort is made to collect titles with different perspectives, or in the case of folklore, different versions reflecting various cultures and visual interpretations. A complete run of a particular author or illustrator is rarely collected, but the person's best work or most representative pieces are available.

An effort is made to select quality literature that supports the curriculum in many schools in the state with an emphasis on multicultural, nonsexist, and other special group factors. Titles considered controversial in other libraries remain on the shelves at UNI. Many schools in the state use the bibliography of recommended titles issued biannually by the Youth Collection as a selection guide.

The Youth Collection is known throughout the state for its comprehensive collection of biographical information on children's authors an 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. In part, the strength of this collection can be attributed to the fact that it is supported by additional material in other parts of the library.


Space and budget have limited the size and scope of the collection. If the number of students using the collection continues to grow, additional copies and more replacement copies will be needed. The Youth Collection allotment has not increased since 1980 while the price of books has doubled, resulting in fewer titles being added to the collection each year. Review copies have been solicited from publishers to alleviate the problem, however the "best" books are not always donated nor are many nonfiction books sent for review. Also, with these gifts comes the commitment to promote them.

As buying power has declined, fewer young adult titles have been acquired because there have been fewer students and faculty requesting these titles for older children. However, recent enrollment in classes studying young adult literature has risen and the faculty focusing on this literature has increased in number and research pursuits. This area will need special attention in the future.

L. Lettow

February 1992

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