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Resources in the Youth Collection

Description of the Collection

The arrangement of materials in the Youth Collection is similar to that found in school libraries so that UNI education students can become familiar with this system as part of their teacher training.

The call number, location, appropriate interest level for each item, content summary, and additional information are indicated in the item record in OneSearch!, Rod Library's online public access catalog.

map of Youth Collection space

Reference Section

The reference section contains professional materials, such as retrospective or specialized bibliographies, critical writings, and teaching resources. They are classified YRP (Youth Reference Professional).

Reference materials may be checked out by obtaining a special permission form from the Youth Collection staff; they are typically only checked out to members of the faculty.

Reference materials written for children and young adults (children's almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and similar items) are now shelved in Youth Nonfiction and are available to check out. We also subscribe to a number of online reference materials for children and young adults.

Picture Books

The picture books have call numbers that begin with YE and are arranged alphabetically by author in the section of shelving near the windows. The collection represents the work of major authors and illustrators, covering many artistic styles and mediums, with an emphasis on current titles.


All full-length fiction, including fantasy, historical fiction, and contemporary realism, are classified Y (fiction) . Titles in this section are selected primarily for students in grades 3 through 12. Titles are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name. Novels written in verse are part of the fiction collection.  Full-length novels written as poetry can be identified by using the subject heading "Novels in Verse."

Most graphic novels, however, are classified in Y 741 because of their illustrative format.


Both full-length biographies and biographies in picture book format are part of this section.  The call number has three lines: Y (Youth), B (Biography), and the first three letters of the subject's last name. The section is arranged alphabetically according to the last name of the person being featured.


All non-fiction materials are arranged according to the Dewey Classification System. Subjects are assigned numbers ranging from Y 001 to Y 999. Folklore is classified as Y 398, poetry as Y 821, and graphic novels as Y 741. (The Wikipedia "List of Dewey Decimal classes" is currently a good quick overview of what's where.)

Notable Books

Complete collections of the Caldecott Award, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, and the Newbery Award medalists are displayed in glass cases near the Youth Collection offices.  Iowa book awards for children and young adults--the Goldfinch, the Iowa Children's Choice Award, the Iowa Teen Award, and the Iowa High School Award--are also on display. They do not typically circulate.  Additional circulating copies of these books are shelved within the various sections of the Youth Collection.

Unusual Formats

Books with pop-ups, extended pages, pull-the-tabs, and other unusual features are shelved behind the Youth Collection Service desk. Any patron may check these out by obtaining a special permission form from the Youth Collection staff.

Historical Collection

A collection of children's and young adult literature published prior to 1960 is on display on the northeast side of the Youth Collection, near picture books. The titles included in this section are no longer considered popular among young readers today, but they are retained here for those conducting historical research. There is an extensive collection of boys' series books from the first half of the twentieth century. Included in these series are the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, among others. There is also a collection of autographed books by well-known authors and illustrators. 

Children's and Young Adult Magazines

Current issues of many children's magazines, are available in a shelving unit on the West side of the Youth Collection. The most current issues are displayed on the shelves. Back issues are also available and are stored within the same shelving unit. They can be accessed simply by lifting up the shelves. These resources may be checked out with special permission from the Youth Collection staff.  

Other Sections

The Youth Collection also includes small collections of books in Braille and children's books in languages other than English, located on the west side of the Youth Collection near the Reference section.

Brailled books have call numbers that start with BRAILLE and are arranged similarly to the Youth Collection (picture books together, etc.).

Books in languages other than English, including some bilingual and trilingual books, have call numbers that start with Y 800 and are organized alphabetically by language, and then by author. Languages currently represented in the Youth Collection include Arabic, Aramaic, Burmese, Chinese, Cree, Czech, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lakota, Navajo, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.  

Another small collection is Watson Collection, a collection of books donated by the faculty and staff of the UNI College of Education in honor of Dr. Dwight C. Watson, former Dean of the College of Education. These books celebrate diversity in many forms.

Finding Materials in the Youth Collection

OneSearch makes finding materials in the Youth Collection fast and efficient. You can search the Youth Collection directly from the Youth Collection homepage.

You can also use Advanced Search to search by Author/Creator, Title, or Subject:

An Author/Creator search will supply complete lists of specific authors' and illustrators' works.

A Title search will locate specific series or single volumes in the Youth Collection.

A Subject search will locate any and all Youth materials catalogued under a given topic. They are helpful if you know what kind of book you need but not a specific author, illustrator, or book title. 

The record for each item indicates location, call number, and availability.

Electronic Resources

UNI subscribes to several databases that will assist you in identifying and reviewing materials related to children’s and young adult literature. Databases you are likely to use include such useful resources as the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database, Children’s Core CollectionEducation Full Text, and ERIC. Access these databases by going to the Rod Library Home Page and finding Databases A-Z. All available databases are organized alphabetically.

UNI also subscribes to research databases specifically geared toward PreK-12 students and educators. Access these databases through Databases A-Z. In the Subjects dropdown, choose "PreK-12 Information Sources" and then select the resource that best suits your purposes.

UNI students have access to additional PreK-12 databases through Iowa AEA Online. If you're in a teacher preparation program and don't know how to log in to these resources, the Youth Collection staff can help you out.

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