User Behaviors, Characteristics, and Habits
1. Boys (ages 7-12): Male students in this age group are often categorized as reluctant readers; however, there are many ways to develop collections that cater to their specific information-seeking behaviors and reading habits. Studies show that boys love the process of collecting things, therefore series books are often very attractive to them. In addition, librarians are encouraged to recommend materials in subjects already of interest to a specific boy. Boys are reluctant to switch subjects when they have found something that has fully captured their interest (Robinson 2011). Boys in particular have a fondness for non-fiction titles and non-linear reading (Wilson 2009, 47).
Collection Support: Since many boys in this age group have become enthralled with the series books by Riordan, collecting more materials in this subject will encourage them to continue reading and to expand their reading from the Riordan books to nonfiction or, conversely, from this nonfiction collection to the narrative fiction.
2. Girls (ages 7-12): It has been shown that girls, unlike boys who almost exclusively choose male protagonist books, will read books protagonists of both genders. Although girls consistently test at higher reading levels than boys, they have a preference for narrative fiction, oftentimes to the total exclusion of other genres (Abilock 1997).
Collection Support: It is important to encourage girls to explore nonfiction materials. Since Riordan’s books have been just as popular for girls as boys, providing a nonfiction mythology collection will support and encourage girls to explore beyond the narrative fiction genre (Abilock 1997).
3. Homeschoolers (ages 7-12) & Homeschooling Parents: Another major user group that will utilize this collection is homeschooled students and their parents. Homeschoolers are frequent and savvy library users (Willingham 2008). Multiple studies show that homeschoolers change schooling methodologies, approaches, and materials as their child continues to develop (Slattery 2005; Willingham 2008; Blankenship 2008). This is especially true for the first few years of homeschooling, as parents experiment to find the right match for their child’s learning style (Slattery 2005, 46). Homeschooling parents often check out a variety of materials at a broad range of levels as they go through this process. Although many homeschooling parents purchase core curriculum materials, they often use the library to “try before they buy,” and rely heavily on library resources to supplement their chosen curriculum (Blankenship 2008; Willingham 2008, 61). Non-fiction print, videos, DVDs, and audiobooks are popular supplemental materials (Blankenship 2008, 25).
Collection Support: The new collection will provide homeschooled students with supplemental materials for core curriculum in history, art, drama, geography, social studies, etc. Although some homeschoolers adhere to strict curriculum, most homeschoolers adapt their methodology to the needs of the individual child (Willingham 2008, 59). For many homeschoolers, this means integrating disciplines utilizing a subject for which their child has already shown interest. Therefore, parents with children who have become interested in mythology could use this collection to supplement their core curriculum.