Centre for the Public Library and Information in Society


Children, young people and families

Although much of the following work could also have been included under ‘Reading’ or ‘Social justice’, there are clearly issues specific to our youngest age groups. The following examples bring together work on reading and stock selection, promotion and censorship in general terms and to specific communities and age groups. It also presents work investigating the impact of specific initiatives for young people such as homework clubs and Bookstart.

Snapshot from recent research

‘The most popular alternative to having a teenage fiction section from the literature is genrefication. This has the advantage of aligning library stock methods with that of bookshops and so might make finding books easier. However, it was clear from the research that complete genrefication would have negative impacts on reader development and would remove serendipitous browsing; two key things that libraries offer that bookshops perhaps do not.’ [Evans, R. (2013). Do public libraries need teenage stock? Unpublished Masters dissertation, University of Sheffield.

Selected publications

Birdi, B. (2012). The changing shape of reading – the 21st Century challenge. In Rankin, C. (Ed.), Library services for children and young people (pp.39-48). Facet Publishing.

Chapman, E.L., & Birdi, B. (2008). Fiction for all. Public Library Journal, 23(1), 8-11.

Train, B. (2007). Research on family reading: an international perspective. Library Review, 56(4), 292-298.

Train, B. and Elkin, J. (2000). Homework clubs: a model for the qualitative evaluation of public library initiatives. The New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship, 6, pp. 177-192.

Wilson, K. & Birdi, B. (2006). Marketing library services to children and young people: the role of schools library services. New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship, 12(2), 147-161.

Doctoral theses

Chapman, L. (2015). Provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people in English public libraries: a mixed-methods study. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sheffield

Masters dissertations (in date order)

Rawle, E. 2015 What is the role of school and public libraries in combatting the ‘summer literacy dip’?

Evans, R. 2013 Do public libraries need teenage stock?

O'Hara, M. 2012 Why do Some Children's Library Services Take a Disneyised, Themed Approach to the Design of Their Library Services?

Wyatt, A. 2010 A portrait of disability in children’s fiction: the availability and promotion of such resources in public libraries

Evans, P. 2009 Should public libraries do more to promote audio books to children?

Jenkins, D. 2008 Innovation in public library services for young people

Rolland, L. 2008 Reading for teens who don't read

Stannard, T. 2008 The guardians of children's literature? A study into the attitudes of public library staff and parents regarding issues of censorship of children's books.

Chapman, E. 2007 Provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people in public libraries.

Dimyan, A. 2006 Spreading the word: is enough being done to promote poetry to teenagers in Sheffield's public library service?

Farmer, J. 2006 Do young people 'drop' libraries or do libraries 'drop' them? A review of library services' provision for 11-16 year olds.

Conway, N. 2005 To what extent does the Bookstart scheme affect the role of the public librarian?

Cope, A. 2005 An examination of teenagers' perceptions of the public library environment; a case study of three central libraries.

Kenward, H. 2005 The challenge of crossover: an investigation into the existence and implications of crossover fiction.

Vasilogamvrakis, N. 2005 Fiction selection practices by Greek public libraries for primary school children.

Morris, E. 2004 To what extent does participation in the Bookstart scheme affect the reader development of parents and carers?

Perkins, H. 2004 An investigation of the use made of the Carnegie children's book award in the promotion of reading for enjoyment and increased literacy standards in schools.

Guildford, E. 2003 Secondary school library materials: their provision and use. An investigation into the provision and use of library materials to contribute and support the curriculum.

Lord, P. 2003 Young people, connexions and the digital divide.

McGill, J. 2003 Public library-nursery relationships: an investigation into their value and impact.

Davidson, J. 2001 Library materials in primary schools: their value, use and management.

Davis, C 2000 Seven years on - an evaluation of the Broxtowe Bookworms/Bookstart Project.

Harding, C. 2000 Next generation/net generation: an investigation into children's ICT use and the impact on public libraries.

Stone, E. 1999 The Impact of public library use on the educational attainment of primary school children.

Waller, J. 1999 Free Books for Schools - an inquiry into the commercial sponsorship of school resource materials (The hidden curriculum of big business in schools).

Newport, K. 1998 The impact of homework centres in Sheffield Public Libraries: An investigation into library provision for children.

Sisson, F. 1997 Children's library design: does the location of the children's department in relation to the main adult library affect the interaction between the child and the library?

Train, B. 1997 An examination of the interaction which takes place between the author and the child, with the library, school and bookshop acting as intermediaries

Rogan, A. 1996 Telling tales: an exploration of the librarian's role as storyteller.