Monday, June 22, 2009

Libraries Are the New Black?

Has anyone else noticed how frequently libraries and librarians are appearing in recent teen fiction? The Chosen One (Carol Lynch Williams) features a bookmobile as a catalyst for Kyra's questions of an escape from the world she lives in. Much of Lisa McMann's Wake takes place in the school library, where Janie tries to take brief naps between classes. Alexis, the protagonist of Katie Alender's Bad Girls Don't Die, uses the microfiche and special collections of her local library (with the rule-bending librarian’s assistance) to research methods of exorcising her sister.

There are plenty more--I've been noticing it more often lately, and that's my question. Is this something that I'm noticing more because I'm more aware of it, or is it popping up more often? Are libraries and librarians included because they’re organic to the plot (they don’t always feel that way), or are the authors sort of pandering to the library market, making a self-conscious nudge to the readers of "hey, use your library"?

And even if that last is what they're doing: does that matter? Is it enough that authors are, however obviously, normalizing the use of libraries—establishing that libraries and librarians can answer just about any question, from "is there a world outside my sheltered existence?" to "how do I help my demon-possessed sibling?"

1 comment:

Alissa said...

I think there is definitely a mutual love-fest going on between teen authors and teen librarians. I love when an author is organically able to use the library in the plot- but I hate when you can so tell that it is forced in (I mean, what better way to market your book to librarians then to include the library in it?). I wonder how much the authors are preaching to the converted in terms of the "use the library" message. I think that the majority of avid readers are already using their library- it is the kids that don't read and live online that need that message.