Some New Books to Get Your Brain Moving

01-27-2014

I rarely write much about the books that we acquire for the library.  Maybe it’s a little presumptuous, but I figure if you care about the books, you’ll come into the library and see what’s new.  You can also check out what new materials at http://hagerstownlibrary.org and selecting “New Arrivals” in the Catalog menu.

Sometimes, however, I think that certain books are so important that they deserve a review or a shout out.  This is one of those times.

As you may or may not be aware, Hagerstown Library has a growing Young Adult Nonfiction collection.  The difference between this collection and the other nonfiction collections in the library is that the books in the YA nonfiction collection are specifically chosen because they address issues that young people face today or will have to deal with in the future.  Many of the topics in these books are controversial.  So why not put them in the adult collection?  Things get lost in the adult nonfiction collection, and these are issues that can’t afford to get lost and that the young people in our society are going to have to wrestle with and make decisions about.

The thing is, and this is probably not surprising, nonfiction gets a bad rap as boring and academic.  Okay, sometimes it really is boring and academic (but not all the time).  So, here are some Young Adult Nonfiction books that will soon be added to our circulating collection with a few notes about why I chose them.  Please note that these titles are part of larger series.  For an explanation of why we rarely purchase full nonfiction series, feel free to drop me a line.  It’s a little technical and full of “library” words, but still interesting (of course, I’m a librarian).

So without further ado, here are our latest Young Adult nonfiction titles.  Wait – some more ado – all of these titles include a references section as well as an index making them ideal for research projects.  Okay…no more ado.

From the Global Viewpoints series, come Social Networking and Adoption.  Both these topics seem fairly cut and draw from an American standpoint, but these books provide information about how views and uses differ around the world.  In “Social Networking,” learn how governments and criminals use things like Facebook, Twitter and their international equivalents to locate bad guys, set up heists, and more.

From the Compact Research series, Bath Salts and Other Synthetic Drugs provide factual information about this tragic epidemic that’s grown exponentially in the Midwest during recent years.

From the Issues That Concern You, learn more about Homeschooling and Underage Drinking.  These books are comprised of articles written from diverse and often oppositional viewpoints.  Similar to the Opposing Viewpoints series, these books provide readers with both empirical and anecdotal information as they weigh the issues for themselves.

Thinking Critically: Medical Marijuana addresses one of the most current issues of our time.  As states begin to actually pass legislation that allows for the distribution of marijuana for health or recreational purposes, this book presents facts and references along with a list of resources for more information.

From the Current Controversies series, come three titles.  In Rap and Hip-Hop, readers can read articles that attempt to answer the questions, “How has hip-hop shaped modern society?” “Is hip-hop a negative influence on society?” “Is rap music harmful to women?” and “Does rap music perpetuate violence?”  In E-Books, read articles addressing “Are E-books better than paper books?” “Should libraries buy and lend e-books?” “How should e-books be priced?” and “What is the future for e-books?”  Finally, in Pakistan, see how others answered “Is religious extremism increasing in Pakistan?” “Is Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal secure?” “Does the Pakistan-India conflict post a global security threat?” and “What steps should be taken to stabilize Pakistan?”

Finally, five titles have been added from the Opposing Viewpoints series.  This series has a long history of showing both sides of some of most divisive issues of our time.  These books are styled in the same way as the Current Controversies series with a group of articles attempting answer questions.  The books from the Opposing Viewpoints series include Netiquette and Online Ethics, Racial Profiling, The Culture of Beauty, Homosexuality, and Organ Donation.

In Netiquette and Online Ethics, questions include “What is the relationship between the internet and civility?” “Is cyberbullying a serious problem?” “What are the etiquette and ethics of online relationships?” and “What are the etiquette and ethics of social media?”

In Homosexuality, questions include “What is the basis of homosexuality?” “Should same-sex marriage be legal?” “Should same-sex partners be allowed to adopt?” and “Should homosexuals be excluded from certain organizations?”

In The Culture of Beauty, questions include “How are standards of beauty established?” “What impacts do ideals of beauty have on society?” “Should people strive for beauty?” and “What are the societal effects of the beauty and fashion industries?”

In Racial Profiling, questions include “Does racial profiling exist?” “Should Arab Muslims be profiled in the War on Terror?” “Is racial profiling justifiable?” and “What are the consequences of racial profiling?”

Finally, in Organ Donation, “Is the organ allocation system fair?” “How can organ donation be increased?” “What ethical issues surround organ donation?” and “What is the future of organ donation?”

Final Note – I know some of these titles don’t sound all that fun.  Of course they wouldn’t.  At the same time, it’s our responsibility to think about and act on the hard stuff.  Please remember that you don’t have to be a teenager to check out books from the Young Adult Nonfiction section or any other section in the Hagerstown Library.

Okay – the actual final note – You may or may not realize this but well researched nonfiction titles of this type are some of the most expensive books that a library can buy.  Some libraries have stopped collecting them because of this and the fact that they don’t circulate as much as Janet Evanovich, James Patterson or J.K. Rowling.    There’s a fine line between buying great books that can inform and buying the books that people know about and are comfortable with.

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