Monday, December 3, 2012
Published by Hurst Communication
First published in September 1944
Plot Summary: N/A
Critical Evaluation: Seventeen is the classic American magazine for teenager girls ages 12-19. It was the first teen magazine to be established in the United States, with its first issue hitting newsstands in September 1944. It began as a publication geared towards inspiring girls to become role models in work and citizenship, but soon took on a more fashion- and romance-oriented approach featuring sections on fashion, beauty, health, love, and life. Every library collection should have a subscription to Seventeen even though the basic message behind the magazine is horrible. Its intellectual merit can be hotly debated and whether or not its status loving, gender role confirming, unrealistic ideals of beauty, and at times extremely un-feministic content is a good or a bad influence on young teens, it is still the magazine for girls that has a finger on the pulse of pop culture with its articles on celebrities, ridiculous quizzes, and articles aimed at the American teenager regardless of how one perceives its merit. While putting it on your magazine racks might make you feel dirty and make you feel like you are betraying the emotional security and development of your teen patrons, not to mention what damage it might do to the body conscious individuals, our job as librarians is to strike a balance between the things patrons want as well as a window to our culture and beyond. As this is one of the most successful—if not the most successful—teen girl magazine it behooves us to have it available to patrons. However, one may want to balance it out with a more self-affirming or generally seen as more beneficial periodical as well, such as Kiki.
Reader's Annotation: N/A
Author Information: N/A
Genre: Realistic (Magazine)
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalking Ideas: N/A
Reading Level/Interest Age: 12+
Challenge Issues: Anti-feminist, bad body images, maintains cultural and gender stereotypes
Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:
· A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill)
· A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement)
· A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
· A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
· Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
· Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
· Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/challengeslibrarymaterials/copingwithchallenges/strategiestips)
Reason for Inclusion: Classic girl’s magazine that readers will expect to see on the shelves. Interested teens might also be intrigued by Kelley Massoni’s Fashioning Teenagers” A Cultural History of Seventeen Magazine.