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