The Girl-Positive Library
Inspiring Confidence, Creativity, and Curiosity in Young Women
by Mary Ann Harlan
December 2018, 161pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-6063-8
$50, £39, 44€, A69
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6064-5
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A study of girlhood as it is represented in young adult literature.

Providing a model of critique useful in readers advisory, collection development, and book clubs, this title encourages the inclusion of young adult titles advancing a positive representation of girls in programming and instruction.

Even in an era in which there are multiple and wide-ranging conversations about representations of diverse groups in literature, the depiction of girls in young adult literature has received inadequate attention. This text provides a model for understanding how girls are represented in young adult literature that will aid school and youth services librarians in their personal understanding and awareness as they build collections and create programming.

It provides practical suggestions for how to use and implement a feminist lens while reading, discussing, and reviewing titles. Included are a list of recommended annotated titles and discussion questions for use in developing appropriate instructional and interesting programs that explore concepts of girlhood, media literacy programs, and diverse collections.


  • Looks at YA books through a feminist lens
  • Provides a list of recommended titles with annotations and discussion questions
  • Provides insights into YA books to consider for collection development and programming in an area of current interest
  • Includes descriptions of programming ideas to use in both school and public library settings
Mary Ann Harlan, PhD, is an assistant professor at San Jose State School of Information. She received her doctorate from the Gateway San Jose State/Queensland University of Technology program in 2012. She has worked in California public schools for 20 years, of which she spent 11 in middle and high school libraries. She also has served in leadership positions for both the California School Library Association and American Association of School Libraries.


"Essential reading for librarians seeking to develop YA collections with care and purpose in order to promote social awareness and change."—School Library Journal, June 1, 2019

"The Girl Positive Library is an excellent resource for any teen services librarian wishing to encourage growth and positivity for young females. Recommended."—ARBA, April 1, 2019

"Harlan is incredibly knowledgeable about her subject and provides an engaging read about girlhood and how to create a girl-positive library. The Girl-Positive Library is an excellent resource for any school or public librarian who is looking for knowledgeable book reviews, new girl-positive programs, or a feminist look at the concept of modern girlhood."—The Library Quarterly, January 1, 2020
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