Awards with Rewards

Implications and Perceptions for Collection Development for Youth


  • Dr. Kasey L. Garrison Teacher Librarianship School of Information Studies Faculty of Education Charles Sturt University



Multicultural children’s literature, children’s literature awards, collection development, ethnicity


Including award-winning literature in children’s library collections is often openly stated in a library’s collection development policy. Hateley (2012) notes these “meaningful markers” as a way “to grant our wish of someone somewhere, somehow having read all the books, and worked out which one is best” (p. 190). In an age where librarians are pushed to their limits with time, budget, and curriculum, such designators are useful in helping to develop and maintain a quality collection. At the same time, Hateley (2012) enlists readers to acknowledge the unavoidable human subjectivity involved in the judging process of literary book awards:

What must not be forgotten, however, is that this superhuman work is undertaken by humans—passionate and knowledgeable humans, to be sure, but humans nonetheless. To automatically rely on award winners for collection development may mask the necessary fallibility and idiosyncrasies of individual judges or judging panels. (p. 197)

In a study of “Children’s-Choice” State Book Awards in the US, Storey (1992) further notes censorship issues associated with the selection of books on the award lists and, thus, the availability of books to the children readers meant to select the winners. Storey’s (1992) research reports on a survey of school librarians about censorship related to these book awards. The librarians in the study noted that censorship was “expected and accepted” (Storey, 1992, p. 1). They also supported the use of award lists for selection and collection development which is the focus of the current study reported in this paper. Specifically, the purpose was to investigate youth librarians’ perceptions of using award lists for collection development and to also survey their collections for the presence of five children’s book awards.

Author Biography

Dr. Kasey L. Garrison, Teacher Librarianship School of Information Studies Faculty of Education Charles Sturt University

Kasey Garrison is a lecturer with the Teacher Librarianship Team in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University’s Wagga Wagga campus in New South Wales, Australia. Kasey’s primary research areas are focused on diversity within children’s and young adult literature and reader responses to such titles. She earned a PhD in Education from Old Dominion University in August 2012. Her dissertation, entitled “’This intense desire to know the world:’ Factors Influencing the Collection Development of Multicultural Children’s Literature,” was a mixed methods study focused on diversity within library collections and their surrounding communities.