This study updates and extends Hand’s (2012) research on the transmission of Whiteness through public library youth collections in the early 1900s. Taking Hand’s study as a departure point, this case study of a southern, rural, public library asks whether and how Whiteness is still transmitted through the library’s youth collections. Analysis of Rural Branch Library’s (RBL) easy reader and juvenile biography collections confirms an overrepresentation of White authors and characters and storylines that privilege White racial frameworks. Analysis of RBL’s collection development policies and practices reveals that color-blind selection policies, lack of weeding, and constraints in resources and staffing create a structure that fosters the transmission of Whiteness in the youth collections over time. This study contributes to understandings of library collections as sites of social power and has implications for the collection development policies and practices of similarly situated small and rural public libraries.
Cite as: Wickham, M. E. & Sweeney, M. E. (2018). Are We Still Transmitting Whiteness? A Case Study of a Southern, Rural Library’s Youth Collections. Library Trends 67(1), 89-106. Johns Hopkins University Press.