Doctoral Posters #13-16

13. Shari Lee
Teen Space: Designed for Whom?
14. Sarah Young Park
All Look Same? Chinese & Korean Transracial/Transnational Adoption in American Children’s Books
15. Minjie Chen
The Sino-Japanese War in American Juvenile Fiction: Forgotten War and Forgotten Books
16. Jenny S. Bossaller
“One Read: A Case Study of New Adult Readers’ Participation in a Community Reading Program”
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 Young Adult Services
13. Shari Lee
UCLA
Teen Space: Designed for Whom?

Public libraries have had a long, though less than adequate, tradition of serving teens. And although there are positive changes now occurring in many public libraries with respect to young adult services, much of the current scholarly discussion continues to ignore the issue of young adult spaces in public libraries (Bernier, 2003). Building on a previous study that examined the cultural practices of the young adult users who use one local public library, this research looks at how preexisting notions of teens influenced the design and layout of the teen space and, by extension, how teens currently use and behave in that space. The idea that spatial design and arrangement can affect how people behave in, or use, a particular space is not new; in fact, this has been shown to affect humans culturally, socially, and even biologically. With this understanding, the design, layout and use of the teen space is examined within the contexts of teen cultural differences and needs, notions of teens and teen behavior, and as an aspect of excellent library services for teens.

Purpose/Objective of study: The purpose of this research is threefold. First, it aims to provide an understanding of the ways in which preexisting notions of teens affected the spatial design and configuration of the teen space in this local library, and, by extension, teen use and behavior in that space. Second, it seeks to provide much needed data about teens and teen space that will be valuable to scholars, library and information professionals, and educators. Third, this ethnographic study attempts to tell the participants’ stories as lived experiences that will provide public libraries with much needed research on teen space that will improve library services to this group.

Sample and Setting: The proposed study evolved from previous research that looked at how teens used the Community public library and seeks to build on that work. As such, the research will be carried out in the Community public library. This library was selected for the pilot study due to its central location to three high schools. It is located within walking distance of the largest school, and an approximate 10 minute bus ride from the other two schools. This made it a convenient setting in which to look at teens’ use of a library.

Method (Qualitative, quantitative, historical, etc): Inherently interpretive, this ethnographic study is grounded in qualitative research.

Data collection technique(s) (Interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, etc): Data collection techniques include participant observation, semi-structured and unstructured interviews, as well as secondary analysis of data from pilot study.

Results: Preliminary findings indicate that preexisting notions of teens and teen behavior have influenced how the teen space was designed and configured in order to control teen behavior in the space, as well as how teens use the space.



 Children’s/YA Literature
14. Sarah Young Park
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
All Look Same? Chinese & Korean Transracial/Transnational Adoption in American Children’s Books

Purpose/Objective: Since the 1950s, representations of transnational/transracial adoption from Korea have steadily appeared in American children’s literature. Approximately 100,000 Koreans have been adopted into the United States, and since the 1990s more than 60,000 Chinese children (mostly girls) have been adopted into the United States. Both phenomena are now commonly narrated through American children’s books, but with distinct differences in authorship, form, content and consumption. The purpose of my research is to analyze how adoptive parents maintain and manifest the power and privilege, as both adopters and mature adults to their adopted, less mature children, to narrate the stories of their family’s adoption experiences; how the resulting stories reflect the specificity of their adopted children’s national origins and racial differences; and how the stories are marketed and consumed. Thus, I ask: Who has the power to adopt? Who has the power to tell stories, and how are those stories told? Who has the power to consume stories?

Sample: I compiled a booklist of more than forty American children’s books portraying transnational/transracial adoption from Korea and China using adoption bibliographies, bibliotherapy guides, adoption websites, Amazon’s recommendations, and word of mouth referrals.

Data Collection and Methodology: I conduct a comparative literary and visual analysis of the children’s books through the lenses of power, critical Orientalism and neo-colonialism. I also compare the distinctiveness of Korean and Chinese adoption stories with My Family is Forever, a picture book where the transracial Asian adoptee does not have a specific national origin but is racialized as Asian. Additionally, content analysis is useful, for example, for counting how many authors are also adoptive parents and analyzing what effect their multiple identities have on storytelling, or how many children’s books portray pre-adoptive experiences, mention birth families, and so on, and how these topics are portrayed.

Results: I conclude that three main factors influence the differences in the two groups of children’s books about Chinese and Korean adoptees: 1) China and Korea’s different reasons for placing children for adoption; 2) different processes of adoption; and 3) the different practices of post-adoption lifestyles. For example, children’s books about adoption from Korea tend to be told from the adoptee’s perspective and written by a diversity of authors (including but not limited to adoptive parents), and books about adoption from China tend to be told from the adoptive parent’s perspective (and written mostly by adoptive parent authors). There are also similarities: overall, most of the stories are driven by the issue of transracial adoption, and tend not to address sensitive issues such as racial differences, racism, and return trips to birth countries.

My research fills a growing need in children’s literature studies for more scholarship on children’s books about Asian diasporic experiences. Analyzing American children’s books about transnational and transracial adoption from different sending countries can help librarians, educators and parents make better informed choices when producing and selecting books that reflect Asian diasporic childhoods.



 15. Minjie Chen
The Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Sino-Japanese War in American Juvenile Fiction: Forgotten War and Forgotten Books

Abstract: This study examines how the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), which has marked the climax of the Sino-Japanese conflict during the twentieth century and which is still influencing today's international relationships among China, Japan, and the U.S., has been reflected in fiction for American young people. By tracing the patterns of change over time in thirty juvenile novels published between 1938 and 2006, this study seeks to probe multicultural youth literature about China through the lens of war stories, an area often neglected by researchers who are intent upon the quality of information sources for young people to learn about China, Chinese people, and their culture.

Thirty titles of juvenile fiction set during the Sino-Japanese War and published in the U.S. till the year 2006 were collected through an extensive search in bibliographies and library catalogs.

A historical analysis of the publication data of these books reveals to what extent youth's access to the Sino-Japanese War literature has been contingent upon the political climate of the U.S. and China from military collaboration in the war years, to the Cold War, to the normalization of Sino-U.S. ties. Chinese American children's authors were silent on this topic until the 1990s, which decade also saw a new wave of English or bilingual nonfiction publications for adult readers on Imperial Japan's wartime atrocities in China.

A content analysis of the novels found that they are not only stories about people's experiences in China during World War II, but youth literature which contains rich information about Chinese language, art, architecture, landscape, food, customs, religion, society, and politics. These novels, written by Caucasian authors with convincing and sensitive detail about Chinese culture, add insight to the classical debate about multicultural youth literature—whether stories about a particular culture should be told only by people of that culture ("cultural insiders") to ensure an accurate and authentic cultural representation.

This study also analyzes the variety of format and intended audience, geographical settings, subject matters, receptions, and other dimensions of this body of literature to determine the quality of these novels as information sources on the Sino-Japanese War for youth. This will be a necessary supplement to studies of World War II juvenile literature largely focused on the European theatre and the Holocaust.



 Reading and Literacy
16. Jenny S. Bossaller
School of Information Science & Learning Technologies,University of Missouri - Columbia
“One Read: A Case Study of New Adult Readers’ Participation in a Community Reading Program”

Purpose/Objective: This research presents a case study of an Adult Basic Education (ABE) literacy program that is a participant in a community reading program. The study examines participatory education in the context of the public library.

Students who have not succeeded in school are often poorly equipped to participate in a democratic society. Prior experiences with the educational system have not fostered a sense of self-confidence in the students; they often feel their opinions and experiences are not valued. When students take part in their own education and those of their peers, however, they may be able to relearn the processes of education in ways that create meaning in their own lives. Proponents of transformative education believe that educational experiences can improve the lives of students by widening their world view.

Public library systems across the nation have followed Seattle’s celebrated “Seattle Reads” project by developing reading programs for adults that feature a single book as the focus for an array of programming. Through the discussion of literary fiction, community ties are strengthened and a sense of universal understanding between diverse people can be an outcome. According to Rosenblatt’s reader response theory, each individual brings a biography of lived experiences to reading that affects meanings assigned to texts. Discussion of these meanings may reveal similarities and differences in the multiple interpretations, creating ground for discovery.

This study addresses the following questions:

  • 8 adults who are enrolled in the ABE reading program;
  • Other reading groups who are participating in the One—Book program;
  • Adult educators and librarians.

Method: This qualitative study will use narrative analysis and participant observations in order to expand an understanding of the social and educational needs a community reading program provides for new adult readers.

Data collection techniques: The study will use narrative analysis from interviews and participant observation.

Results: Preliminary results suggest that, although print text itself is difficult for the students to read aloud, they are becoming more confident readers. Interviews with the students indicated that they have negative associations with past schooling, and that they believe that the ABE program is a step towards leading a more fulfilling life. Those who participated in the One-Book program last year are eagerly anticipating attending programs this year, as it gave them a sense of educational and personal accomplishment.

 
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