Continuing to Read Collections

A Parent’s Guide to Library Collections for Youth


Irving Public Library’s youth collections (also referred to as juvenile or children’s) are divided into collection areas based on the target age of the reader, the number of words in the book, reading level, and/or the subject matter. Items are placed in areas of the collection based on the publisher and author’s intended audience, and review source recommendations. An item’s placement in a collection allows for the organization of resources and provides viewpoint-neutral guidance to users. It is not intended to imply that every item in that collection will be of interest to or relevant to the collection’s intended user. Becoming familiar with the definitions and intended usage of each collection is a good way for parents and caregivers to stay informed and make the best decisions for the child and family in selecting reading material. This page is a guide to the collections intended for children who are continuing their journey in reading independently. They are moving past “learning to read” toward reading to learn and reading for enjoyment.

Juvenile Fiction (Also called Chapter Books):valley_childrens_common_area

Ages: 3rd through 8th grade

What: The Juvenile Fiction collection contains stories and novels ranging from 2,000 to 40,000 words. They can address the emotions and intellect of the reader and are written on a wide variety of subjects that are often relevant to the reader’s life. The actual age of the reader is determined not only by the age of the main character, but also the conflict and issue being dealt with in the story.  

Why: These books help children develop a foundation of literacy by increasing the child’s attention span for longer stories, strengthening vocabulary and comprehension. Reading chapter books aloud to children helps the caregiver and child share the same stories and opens up conversations about issues found in the book.

What parents should know:  Since the age range and topics covered in this collection is broad, not every book will be appealing to every child and not every subject will align with all family values. This is why reading lists and librarian recommendations focused on the child’s specific age, interests, and reading level can be very helpful.

Juvenile Non-fiction:Weird Things display

Ages: Preschool to 8th grade

What: Books are arranged by the Dewey Decimal system categories: General Information (000); Philosophy and Psychology (100); Religion (200); Social Sciences (300); Languages (400); Science (500); Technology (600); Arts and Recreation (700); Literature (800); History and Geography (900).

Why: Nonfiction books can assist children with finding information needed for homework and school assignments and can also extend and enrich school curriculum. Children can also explore their interests and passions to a greater degree than is offered by school curriculum.

What parents should know: Since the age range covered in this collection is broad, not every book will be of interest or helpful to every child. This is why reading lists and librarian recommendations focused on the child’s specific age and reading level can be very helpful. Although non-fiction is generally informative, there are areas of fiction within non-fiction, such as in the 800s for literature of all languages, and the 741.5 section for comic books, comic strips and manga.

Resources for reviews and information on contents

  • Library Catalog – examine the description of the book, check the attached review sources, review Novelist
  • Read the book and/or the book jacket
  • Ask for assistance at a library service desk
  • Engage with LibChat on the Irving Public Library website
  • Visit free websites that also review the materials/books (sign-up may be required)

Reader reviews:

Library/Bookstore perspectives:

Parent perspectives:

Library Card Holder options and circulation

Anyone with a library card can check out materials from the library. For a youth to obtain a library card, a parent must bring them into the library and sign for the card. The Irving Public Library’s policy has long been that the library does not operate “in loco parentis,” that is, staff do not employ restrictions and controls that are a parent’s prerogative. Options for parents who would like to be involved in decisions as to what their child reads:

  • Allow the youth to have their own card and insert the parent email in the registration form so that checked out items can be viewed by the parent.
  • Allow the youth to have their own card and record the youth’s account number and PIN to check the youth’s library account.
  • Only obtain one card and use this for the family.