Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Reader's Advisory Guide to Street Literature

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Reader's Advisory Guide to Street Literature

Article excerpt

The Reader's Advisory Guide to Street Literature. Vanessa Irvin Morris. Chicago: ALA, 2012. 138 p. Paper $48 (ISBN 978-0-8389-1110-5).

One in the series of ALA Editions Readers Advisory Guides, this title is ground-breaking in its introduction to the genre "street literature." Morris has brought her expertise in street literature from her beautifully written blog, Street Literature (www.streetliterature.com), to this book. She begins by broadening the definition of this type of literature and distinguishes it from urban fiction. According to Morris, street literature is a subgenre of urban literature (fiction), but also encompasses nonfiction. It includes all ethnicities. The street itself is not just the setting, but a "silent antagonist." "As a motif, the streets symbolize possibility and the enactment of choice; it is an ominous, mysterious, four-sided intersection with no directional signs" (20).

Every point in this book is supported by research, and this underlying scholarship brings Morris's passion for street literature to the forefront. Her years as a librarian at Widener Public Library in Philadelphia have given her authentic experience with street literature and the patrons who read it. The book includes a thorough but brief history of street literature and emphasizes the importance of applying collection development principles--respect what customers want without censorship or judgment. …

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