Sex, Brains, And Video Games

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How do we best reach our teen patrons? Young adult librarians and others who serve them constantly strive to better understand this often unpredictable audience. In this insightful guide, Jennifer Burek Pierce provides a fascinating look at today's teen through the lens of neurological, psychological, and educational research. Putting this research in the context of library services, she challenges librarians to question their assumptions about teen patrons and provides new answers based on research findings. Much as early literacy research informed library services to our youngest patrons, Sex, Brains, and Video Games outlines what others who work with adolescents have learned from their professional activities and how that knowledge can encourage new priorities and partnerships in youth services.

Use this research to: Help sort out fact from fiction about adolescent brain development and sexuality, Equip staff to understand and sensitively interact with teens, Foster understanding about teens, technology, and multitasking, Incorporate teen-friendly services and activities into the library.

With further reading suggestions rounding out each chapter, this provocative guide offers school, public, and academic librarians further ways of thinking about young adults and the services provided for them.

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Editorial Reviews

The average public librarian works with teens on a daily basis, but it does not necessarily mean that they know how to properly serve that age group. Pierce tries to dispel many myths on how to work with teens in the twenty-first century. The book is broken up into several topics, the first of which explores the teen brain. There has been much research in recent years on how the brain develops, and knowing this information might help librarians to better understand teens. The other sections discuss technology, sex, and multicultural diversity with teens and libraries. The author provides an overview of each topic along with excerpts from leading experts in the field of teens and libraries. The technology section provides great statistics about teens and usage, as well as how teens are influenced by video games, which is very helpful information for teen programmers and how they can focus on working video games into their programming. At the end of each chapter, Pierce gives an in-depth list of further reading that includes Web sites, along with detailed notes. The book is a good reference for teen librarians but an even better guide to potential library students who will soon be entering the field. Reviewer: Robyn Guedel
Library Journal

Much has been written about the recent developments in brain research as it relates to library service to babies and young children. Pierce (Univ. of Iowa SLIS) focuses on the implications of this research on service to adolescents and young adults. She explores myths regarding teens' use of technology and other media, the role of hormones in influencing behavior, and relationships with parents. She also reexamines some of the tenets of YA library service in light of scientific truths about adolescent brain development. Throughout, she advocates for a diverse view of young adults, rejecting the reliance on marketing research that identifies specific key interests and behaviors of teens and tweens. Instead, Pierce points to empirical research that reveals a range of levels of maturity and development in the adolescent brain over time. She suggests that science offers more compelling information that can help shape librarians' understanding of the YA population and its use of library materials. Presenting ideas with the potential to reinvigorate the discussion of how libraries can best serve young adults, this small book should be required reading for all YA librarians.
—Rachel Q. Davis

School Library Journal

Well researched and documented, this guide provides new and reevaluated ideas and insights about the sociological, neurological, emotional, and sexual perspectives of adolescence. The author's purpose is to assist librarians as they try to engage teens through relevant and attractive responses to their recreational, informational, and technological needs and interests. The premise is that by understanding teens better, librarians are better able to provide appropriate and effective programs and materials. Improved interactions with teens and more library usage are other anticipated results, though the topic of youth participation in libraries and its effects are not specifically addressed. While it is filled with a great deal of pertinent and thought-provoking advice and information, the scholarly writing style does require focused concentration. This book could supplement Patrick Jones, Michele Gorman, and Tricia Suellentrop's more accessible and comprehensive Connecting Young Adults and Libraries (Neal-Schuman, 2004).-Diane P. Tuccillo, Fort Collins Regional Library District, CO

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780838909515
  • Publisher: ALA Editions
  • Publication date: 1/30/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 140
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     1
Myths and the American Teen     13
Taking On the Teen Brain: Scientific Perspectives on Adolescence     21
The Wired Generation: Connections and Limitations     50
Teen Sex: Facts and Fictions     86
Living in a Multicultural World: Diversifying Perspectives on Adolescence     110
Concluding Thoughts on Working with Teens in Libraries     120
Index     125
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