Nebraska Guidelines for Young People's Library Service
2002 REVISED GUIDELINES
The Nebraska Guidelines for Young People's Library Services were revised during
2001-2002 by the Nebraska Library Commission's Youth Advisory Board. They were
approved by the School Children's and Young People's section
at the Nebraska Library Association October 2003 convention and Nebraska Library
Introduction: The purpose of these
guidelines is to assist public libraries in Nebraska as they assess the quality
of library service they offer to young people and as they plan for program
improvement or expansion. Unlike the Public Library Guidelines, they are
recommendations for standards of service and not required standards themselves.
While realizing that there is overlap between
the ages and grades of children and young adults, we have chosen to use the
following terms in this document:
Youth/Young People: generic terms indicating any age or grade level
school or age 17.
Children : all youths
through 5th grade.
Young Adults: all youths
ages 12-17 or from 6th grade through high school.
Public Library Access for Young
Young people deserve the same respect from
the library as adults and should be accorded commensurate privacy,
responsibilities and rights. The Library Bill Of Rights applies to children as
well as to adults. (See the appended Free Access to Libraries for
library provides young people with full access to library materials and
services. Electronic resources are available to young people as well as adults
according to the library's technology plan and policies.
B. Materials for young people are included on the Nebraska State Data
C. Young people's
library areas are open the same hours as areas serving adults and are
qualified service providers; the library's hours of service reflect the needs of
young people as well as adults.
A financial commitment is necessary
for a library to develop and maintain a strong young people's program. A sound
planning process for the library will ensure that appropriate financial support
for youth services is budgeted.
people's librarian has input into the planning and preparation of library budget
and is proactive in submitting budget requests.
people's librarian develops a budget for the young people's department which
includes funds for personnel, continuing education, books and other media,
supplies, program expense and public relations.
allocations for youth services reflect the use and cost of materials and participation
in programs offered. Budget allocations are sufficient so that children or
their families are not charged for program participation or for materials used
seek partnerships with other community agencies, groups and
organizations for youth programming, funding and services.
librarian undertakes study and action to improve library funding. Children's and
youth librarians write grant applications for funds available from ALA, the
Nebraska Committee for the Humanities, the Nebraska Library Commission's
Children's Grants for Excellence, LSTA, and other sources.
(note: When the Library Board's function is advisory, those guidelines marked
with an asterisk * may not apply.)
Role of the
Library Board in young people's services:
*1. The library
board has the final responsibility for developing and providing quality public
library service to youth.
2. A cooperative staff and board plan, which includes goals, objectives, and an annual review
of youth services is developed and implemented.
records and statistics should be maintained for yearly evaluation purposes.
Output Measures for Public Library Service to Children, available
from the Nebraska Library Commission, may be consulted in developing evaluation
work time is provided for youth services program planning, materials
selection and interaction with children.
D. Young people's
librarians have access to Internet and the World-Wide Web.
Youth Services programs enhance library
experiences of young people, attract non-users and contribute to the development
of life-long library users.
of programs, both outreach and in-house, at all age levels is a basic ingredient in the
public library's plan of service. Age levels to consider are infants, preschoolers, kindergarten to fifth-graders and young adults. Programs are a
joint staff effort (both adult and youth staff).
B. Program funding
is a budget item.
libraries seek partnerships with other community agencies, groups and organizations in
planning programs for young people. The public library develops a policy
delineating the kinds and amounts of advertising that accompany corporate
sponsorship and donations.
The young people's
librarian should serve the young people of the community and youth-related needs
of parents and other adults. Every public library staff should include a person
whose responsibility is coordination of library service for youth. A basic
responsibility of the young people's librarian is to advocate on behalf of all
young persons in the community. It is recognized that in smaller libraries
this person may be the only staff member. In these cases, the librarian's
duties would also include adult services and other aspects of library
Responsibilities of the Young People's
A. The young
people's librarian helps young people select materials that will expand their
interests and fulfill their information and
people's librarian creates a safe, pleasant and inviting area for children,
adults and families.
C. The young
people's librarian aids parents and other adults in obtaining youth-related
materials and library services.
D. The young
people's librarian selects, evaluates, weeds and merchandises the collection.
people's librarian proposes, develops and implements plans and policies for the
library's youth services
librarian plans, implements and evaluates programs for children and young adults; such
programs would include introductions to reference and information tools and
techniques when appropriate.
librarian participates in planning, evaluating and budgeting for youth service
H. The youth librarian seeks continuing
education and professional development:
1. Attains and
maintains Nebraska public librarian's certification.
2. Attends the Children's Institute for enhanced certification
3. Belongs to and participates in local and state library/media
4. Attends state
and system workshops and training.
The budget for
young people's services includes funds for the expense of continuing
I. The youth
librarian supervises staff and volunteers working with the library's youth
youth librarian promotes the library's youth services through outreach and
public relations activities.
people's librarian communicates and collaborates with schools and community agencies on services, programs, collection development and reading promotions.
L. The young
people's librarian participates in comprehensive planning for all library
services including both youth and adults.
youth librarian thinks and acts as an advocate for all youth.
young people's librarian
encourages youth to be self-sufficient information seekers
providing both formal
and informal instruction and modeling easily adaptable search
skills. The librarian also helps adults to
understand the arrangement of materials in the
children's collection and its relationship to
children's intellectual/thinking development.
It is important that the children's
collections be attractive, of high quality and appealing to contemporary
people's materials meet criteria established in the library's written collection
B. A variety of materials should
be available in the young people's area.
people's collection reflects the current needs and interests of young people in
the community; material on key topics is available in varied formats appropriate
for different age groups
reference materials, professional tools and materials needed by adults
working with young people are part of the collection.
withdrawal, processing and maintenance of the young people's collection is
considered as important as the application of these processes to adult
a minimum of 5% to 10% of the total young people's materials budget is spent for
specific titles, topics or authors to replace outdated or damaged materials and
to strengthen the basic collection.
about the proportion of total library materials budget allocated for young people's
materials is based on circulation and use of the materials - - e.g., if children's
materials represent 40% to 50% of the circulation, 35% to 45% of the total
materials budget is used to purchase children's materials. The rate of turnover
in children's materials is also factored into the budget base.
public access computer is available in the library, materials for children as well as adults
are accessible via the computer.
are deselected according to wear, obsolescence and circulation. 7% to 10% of the
young people's collection is deselected annually.
Comfortable inviting areas for young people are an essential part of
service. Attention to lighting, seating, noise and arrangement is important as
is care to avoid a crowded feeling. Attractive colors and decorations are also
important in making the library an inviting place for young people.
A. The public library has space designated for young people's services
B. The young people's space is flexible and divided into various environments
accommodate different interests and activities; space and provision for
resources are included.
C. Furnishings are suitable in style and of appropriate size for the age
groups using them.
1. There is adequate seating.
2. Shelving and furniture are scaled to fit young people.
3. Some lounging furniture is desirable
D. A work area with adequate storage, separate from the public area, preferably
to the young people's areas is provided for the young people's staff.
E. The young people's area is distinct from other areas of the library,
barriers, or as few as possible between the different library areas.
F. Signage in the young people's area is large and clearly written to direct
categories of material. The language used is appropriate for the age of
the user group.
VIII. STATE AND SYSTEM COMMITMENT TO YOUNG PEOPLE'S SERVICES
Services for young people can be enhanced when the local library takes
advantage of the support available from the library system, the state library
agency and state and local library associations. Available support includes:
A. A full-time consultant for young people's services is employed by the
B. At least one children's librarian serves on the regional system board
C. Resources and professional materials concerning young people's services
from both the system office and the Nebraska Library Commission.
D. Continuing education workshops and training are offered regionally by the
statewide by the Nebraska Library Commission and the Nebraska
FREE ACCESS TO LIBRARIES FOR MINORS An Interpretation of the LIBRARY BILL OF
Some library procedures and practices effectively deny minors access to
certain services and materials available to adults. Such procedures and
practices are not in accord with the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS and are opposed by
the American Library Association.
Restrictions take a variety of forms, including, among others, restricted
reading rooms for adult use only, library cards limiting circulation of some
materials to adults only, closed collections for adult use only, collections
limited to teacher use or restricted according to a student's grade level, and
interlibrary loan service for adult use only.
Article 5 of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS states that, "A person's right to use
a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background,
or views" All limitations on minors' access to library materials and services
violate that Article. The "right to use a library" includes use of, and access
to, all library materials and services. Thus, practices which allow adults to
use some materials which are denied to minors abridge the use of libraries based
Material selection decisions are often made and restrictions are often
initiated under the assumption that certain materials may be "harmful" to
minors, or in an effort to avoid controversy with parents. Libraries or library
boards who would restrict the access of minors to materials and services because
of actual or suspected parental objections should bear in mind that they do not
serve in loco parentis. Varied levels of intellectual development among
young people and differing family background and child-rearing philosophies
are significant factors not accommodated by a uniform policy based upon age.
In today's world, children are exposed to adult life much earlier than in the
past. They read materials and view a variety of media on the adult level at home
and elsewhere. Current emphasis upon early childhood education has also
increased opportunities for young people to learn and to have access to
materials, and has decreased the validity of using chronological age as an index
to the use of libraries. The period of time during which children are interested
in reading materials specifically designed for them grows steadily shorter, and
librarians must recognize adjust to this change if they wish to serve young
people effectively. Librarians have a responsibility to ensure that young people
have access to a wide range of informational and recreational materials and
services that reflects sufficient diversity to meet the young person's needs.
The American Library Association opposes libraries restricting
access to library materials and services for minors and holds that it is the
parents/legal guardians -- and only parents/legal guardians -- who may restrict
their children -- and only their children -- from access to library materials
and services. Parents or legal guardians who do not want their children to have
access to certain library services, materials or facilities, should so advise
their children. Librarians and governing bodies cannot assume the role of
parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship
between parent and child. Librarians and governing bodies have a public and
professional obligation to provide equal access to all library resources for all
Librarians have a professional commitment to ensure that all
members of the community they serve have free and equal access to the entire
range of library resources regardless of content, approach, format, or amount of
detail. This principle of library service applies equally to all users, minors
as well as adults. Librarians and governing bodies must uphold this principle in
order to provide adequate and effective service to minors.
The word "age: was incorporated into Article 5 of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS
because young people are entitled to the same access to libraries and to the
materials in libraries as are adults. Materials selection should not be diluted
on that account.