The YA Nonfiction Dilemma

Hi, it’s Jason, Young Adult Librarian. 

To my Young Adults – when was the last time you picked up a nonfiction book? 

Information consumption habits among young adults have changed drastically in line with the ubiquity of smartphones. I would venture to guess when you want to learn about something, you quickly google it, rather than going to look for a book about the topic. Google is able to splice a relevant piece of information out of a source (credible or not) in order to give you the fastest answer… which is why you keep going back. 

So, that leaves me with a dilemma. First, young adult nonfiction books are not widely available. There are tons for children, and tons for adults (rightfully so), but not a lot that focus mainly on teens. Secondly, many libraries are doing away with or interfiling the YA collections with general adult.

What is to become of the nonfiction collection? I think biographies are here to stay. If you want to learn about someone for fun, reading a biography is a perfect way to do that. If you want to learn about mental health, WWII, or other “I need a quick answer” questions, I would venture to guess you’re googling it. For the regular nonfiction collections, I am going to select materials that are engaging, interesting, and more than just a fact book. 

Then, we watch the numbers. Data doesn’t lie!

Next time you’re in, browse the nonfiction collection… there are some “hidden gems” in there!


-Jason Weissmann, Young Adult Librarian

2 Replies to “The YA Nonfiction Dilemma”

  1. Nice email Jason. Will keep look out when sorting. Is there an identifiable spot in Friends’ store for this genre. Young adults in Livingston always impress me by what they read based on Bookfest

    1. Hi Teresa, There is no space in the running book sale for YA nonfiction. It is interfiled with YA. Thanks for reaching out! – Jason, Young Adult Librarian

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