As a youth services librarian for 17 years, I focused some of my research on teen services. I was the lucky recipient of the 2011 Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Research Grant, which I highly recommend for new researchers looking for a $1000 grant. The deadline for this grant is Dec. 1, so you have some time to think about your 2012 proposal.
YALSA is incredibly helpful in telling researchers exactly what sort of research they are looking for. Since it’s still a fairly wide-open field of research, you can find a lot of ways into both theoretical and practical topics that thousands of teen librarians will find very useful.
Check out YALSA’s National Research Agenda. It gives firm examples of the sorts of questions we need to answer to better serve our patrons.
Some of the questions I find most interesting are:
Are budgets for young adult library services positively comparable with budgets for other departments within the library?
Is there a measurable difference in college readiness between young adults who are library users and those that are non-library users?
Taking into consideration such factors as the increasing diversity of the teen population as well as rapid changes in information technologies, what are the most important skills and knowledge young adult services librarians need to have when entering the field?
The role of young adults as creators and producers of information. “The nation is at the beginning of a revolution in youth-produced media, yet current scholarship eclipses any view that young people are increasingly producers of information” (p. xvii).
Beyond the education community’s agenda to advance curricular goals and beyond the library community’s goals connected to “information literacy skills,” how do young adults themselves enact, create, and produce literacies?
You may find different questions reflect your research interests or align with the things you do in your library.