Mahood, Kristine. A Passion for Print: Promoting Reading and Books to Teens. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006. 239 pp.  40.00 USD. ISBN-10: 1-59158-146-X.  ISBN-13: 978-1-59158-146-8. Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians Series.  ISSN: 1532-5571. ∞

Kristine Mahood's A Passion for Print is a wonderful resource for librarians, whether they are of the YA variety or just hoping to interact more positively with teens and encourage them to use libraries. This book is indeed passionate on the topic of service to youth and there is an abundance of information and many ideas between its covers for attracting and keeping youth in the library. Mahood writes a highly readable book that may be studied carefully from cover-to-cover or immediate guidance about specific topics, chapters or sections may be sought using the detailed table of contents and index.  

Mahood's book is thorough in its attention to detail and advice on how to make your library, whether big or small, welcoming and attractive to young adults. Whether your library has its own YA Librarian or only one Librarian, A Passion for Print can guide you in jump-starting services and programming for YAs or reinvigorating what is already in place. The book also has dozens of references and suggested readings at the end of each chapter as well as in the Appendix. Last, but not least, YA titles and authors are also listed in various chapters and Appendix I has almost nine pages of materials including YA series like Tamora Pierce's Circle Opens series.

After exploring why YAs do or don't read, what they read, and how they perceive reading and libraries, each chapter in A Passion for Print focuses on a different aspect of YA services: collections, space, displays, promotions, the Web, readers' advisory, book talking and activities and events. For example, in her discussion on the YA space, Mahood explains the colour wheel and the visual and emotional impact of various colour palettes on the feel of the YA space. However, paramount to offering equal and excellent service to YAs is ensuring that YAs are part of the process from the beginning. This is one thing all books on YA services have in common and it is the most important thing to remember for librarians who have any amount of contact with YAs.

As great a resource as this book is, it is interesting to note that despite the topic and Mahood's research, her book is all text with no tables or pictures to break it up. A more YA-friendly format could have further supported her premise, and a few colour pictures and tables are always welcome as they can sometimes best illustrate a particular idea or issue.

There are so many bookmarks in my copy of A Passion for Print you cannot see the book for the tassels. As a Reference Librarian, I see many young adults looking mostly for computer time. Mahood's book has given me a few ideas to pitch to my supervisor for making our department more YA friendly so that if someone is waiting for a computer, there will be books, magazines or other displays showcasing what else the library has that is cool…If it is still cool to say something is cool.

Sarah J. Gladwell, Reference Librarian,, Saint John Free Public Library, Saint John, New Brunswick


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Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research (ISSN: 1911-9593)