With summer reading programs at many nearby public libraries in full swing (for example, those at Morrisson Reeves, Centerville, and New Castle), parents are on the lookout for lots of quality books for their children to read. Many local reading programs have a space exploration theme this year, and our library holds many relevant titles, in addition to any other topic of interest to a young reader.
The main purpose of the IU East Library’s expansive juvenile collection is instructional – it supports education, child development, and psychology majors in learning how to teach and understand children. But this focus, different from a public library’s emphasis on the most popular material, makes it a treasure trove of unique books that may suit a child’s individual needs or situation. One example is offering simplified treatments of complex or sensitive topics like environmentalism or abuse – the library has lots of resources that can help a child making sense of something that would otherwise be inscrutable. We even have a number of audio books in the collection, for those who favor listening.
A search in our catalog offers access to thousands of books, but many prefer to browse children’s books by sight for a serendipitous find, or a connection made with a cover illustration. Mindful of this, the library has taken steps to make visual access to these books simpler with stickers that suggest content. All juvenile books feature a yellow sticker of the letter ‘J’ on the side, but those meant for an older, young adult audience also feature a ‘YA’ sticker. Comics have a red ‘Graphic Novels’ label (a significant proportion of these are clustered in the PN’s). Books focusing on international cultures and experiences display a ‘Multicultural’ sticker. Spanish language (or bilingual) books display a yellow and red ‘Español’ label (many of these are have the call number PC, and are grouped on the back wall by the emergency exit).
For adults without children, ‘summer reading’ often conjures images of disposable and utterly forgettable bestsellers read on a beach or airplane. But adults can and do get a lot out of reading literature meant for children (look at the popularity of young adult series like Harry Potter and Twilight, which are even taught in college classes). Even if you are looking for something to read yourself, consider what the library has to offer in juvenile literature.
For those interested in using the juvenile collection this summer as originally intended – as a teaching resource (perhaps in taking a summer class: Summer Session II starts in July) – the library offers lots of supplementary materials focused on more scholarly efforts like teaching or otherwise using children’s books, with titles like Much More Social Studies Through Children’s Literature: A Collaborative Approach by Anthony D. Fredericks, Psychoanalytic Responses To Children’s Literature by Lucy Rollin, or The Pleasures Of Children’s Literature by Perry Nodelman.
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