The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Current Research Spotlight

Teen Library Accessibility: An Interview with Michelle Biwer & Sharon Irish

“I wanted to learn more about what I could do to make sure that when I’m running the children’s department in a library that I understand the best way to get out information that’s accessible to everyone.”

Read the full interview or skip to a topic . . .

Michelle, what made you decide to research accessibility and YA lit?
Would you summarize the findings of your research?
Who was the target audience for your LibGuide?
What are some of the best platforms out there for people creating accessible materials for teens?
Sharon, I understand that this was part of a DOCC you led last semester, Collaborations in Feminism and Technology. How did this project resonate with what you discussed during the course?
This also seems quite relevant to your work with the Center for Digital Inclusion at GSLIS. For those unfamiliar with the CDI, would you briefly share what it's all about and what your role is with the program?
How might this teen accessibility project fit in with the things the CDI is doing?
Finally, do either of you have any recommendations for current GSLIS students, preparing to enter the workforce, who would like to become more educated on this issue?
Any last comments?
Resources from this Interview


Affiliate Current Research Overviews

Updated montly, this section will detail conference presentations, publications, and other research activity by CCB Affiliates.

CCB Director Deborah Stevenson attended the Children’s Literature Association Conference in Columbia, SC, June 18-21, where she presented her paper, “To See Ourselves: Minority Representation Patterns in Contemporary Literature for Youth,” as part of a panel that also included BCCB reviewer and Illinois State University professor Karen Coats (“The Neglected Protected: Religious Diversity in YA Literature”) and GSLIS and CCB alum Ayanna Coleman (“Diversity and Inclusion: A Publishing Industry Q&A”). Stevenson also attended the American Library Association annual conference in Las Vegas, June 26-July 1, where she joined the rest of the Scott O’Dell Award committee to celebrate the most recent winner, Kirkpatrick Hill, for Bo at Ballard Creek.

CCB Affiliate and GSLIS Assistant Professor Carol Tilley gave the keynote address at the 2014 Comics and Medicine Conference at Johns Hopkins University on June 27. Her lecture was titled “Private Reading, Public Health: Exploring Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s Comics Legacy.” Tilley also spoke about comics to high school students in the Discover [Johns] Hopkins program “The Hospital.” Tilley also appeared virtually on a panel, “Comics and Censorship,” at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, June 20-22.

GSLIS Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem presented her paper “Chartist Children: Rethinking Middle-class Definitions of Play and Work in Early Children’s Literature” at the Children’s Literature Association conference in Columbia, SC on June 20.

GSLIS Interim Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Professor Kate McDowell presented an invited talk, “Exploring the App Gap” on the planning and early implementation of the “Closing the App Gap” grant project, at the IFLA-sponsored International Symposium on Library Services for Children and Young Adults in Seoul, South Korea, June 19-20.

CCB Affiliates Georgeann Burch (GSLIS School Library Media Coordinator) and Karla Lucht (GSLIS PhD student) led a workshop on “American Literary Resources for the Classroom” on June 25 for the Global Institute for Secondary Educators, organized by the Center for Global Studies and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Burch and Lucht introduced a variety of U.S. literature appropriate for social studies, history, and English classrooms to secondary teachers from around the world.

CCB Outreach and Communications Coordinator Tad Andracki co-presented “A Queer Library Alliance for Young People: Using Books with LGBTQ Content” with GSLIS alum Rae-Anne Montague at the biennial Conference on Literature and Hawaii’s Children in Honolulu, June 5-7. Andracki also co-presented a poster about the Mix IT Up! grant program at the ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on June 28; the poster won third place at the fair.


Doctoral Research

The CCB maintains a list of current and recent doctoral students at GSLIS and elsewhere at the University of Illinois whose research relates to youth services or children's literature. See what kinds of work is being done on our doctoral student research page.



The Youth, Literature, & Culture group (YLC) is an interdisciplinary collaboration of faculty and doctoral students from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, and Eastern Illinois University.

In formal existence since 2004, this group brings together faculty and doctoral students who share a scholarly interest in children’s and young adult literature and media. We represent various disciplines, including Education, English, History, Library and Information Science, and meet monthly to discuss research on young people, texts, and cultural contexts. We also participate in the annual GSLIS Research Showcase, and host the Gryphon Lecture, an annual lecture featuring a leading scholar of youth and literature, media, or culture.

For the 2013-2014 academic year, YLC will meet on selected Fridays in the CCB (Room 24 of GSLIS) from 10:00-11:00 am. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend. Please email Deborah Stevenson for more details.


Gryphon Lecture

The Gryphon Lecture series is hosted every spring semester by the Center for Children's Books and features a leading scholar in the field of youth literature. It is an event developed to hold relevance across disciplines at the University. These lectures are free and open to students and the public. A reception to discuss issues raised, network across departments, and meet with the speaker follows each lecture. Visit our Gryphon Lecture page for archives of previous speakers and audio of past lectures.

Research Archives

Archived information about previous conferences, presentations, and research profiles is kept in our research archives.