Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Carol A. Doll

Committee Member

Gail K. Dickinson

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh


Multicultural children's literature offers readers the opportunity to experience new perspectives and cultures or reaffirm and develop their socio-cultural identity (Boston & Baxley, 2007; Yokota, 2009). The availability of diverse titles for youth is critical in enhancing 21st Century literacy and social skills (AASL, 2007; Common Core, 2010; Krashen, 2004). The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing collection development and the selection of multicultural children's literature in public library collections in geographically and demographically diverse communities across one southeastern state.

Employing a mixed methods design, the researcher first surveyed ten library system collections totaling 70 libraries and library branches for three ethnic specific and two non-ethnic specific children's literature awards: Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APAAL), Coretta Scott King Award, Pura Belpré Award, John Newbery Award, and Randolph Caldecott Award. The non-ethnic specific awards, the Caldecott and Newbery, were present most in the library collections with the King, Belpré, and APAAL following, respectively. The researcher used the surrounding demographics of each library to investigate the relationship between the diversity of the community and the collection (U.S. Census, 2011). The researcher also identified and surveyed librarians from each system who make selection decisions for the children's section.

Findings indicate a wide variety of factors influencing the selection of multicultural children's literature. Using hierarchical regression analyses, the presence of the King and Belpré Award winners were found to be statistically significant predictors of the APAAL, suggesting that librarians use these lists for selecting multicultural children's literature for their collections. The community demographics for each ethnic group were also found to be statistically significant predictors for each corresponding ethnic specific award. The interviewed librarians indicated formal and informal factors on selection including award lists; community needs assessment; and anticipated circulation. They highlighted challenges influencing the selection process with issues like the availability of quality multicultural literature, what is reviewed in selection aids they use, and their ability to select titles about cultures outside of their own experiences. Their responses support the importance of preservice and continuing education to provide opportunities for promoting library services to a globally diverse community.


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