Kristie Escobar selected for YALSA’s Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award

Kristie Escobar, a third-year doctoral student at FSU’s School of Information, was awarded the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award. This new award was established by YALSA in 2018 and aims to encourage research on teens, learning, and libraries that aligns with YALSA’s National Research Agenda and/or investigates any aspect of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

And Escobar’s research does just that, as it focuses on the 2018 GLBRT Rainbow Book List Young Adult novel selections. Her three-paper dissertation will examine the diversity of the LBGTQAI+ protagonists of the young adult novels from the book list in order to gauge the representation of various demographics.

“Myself and my study participants are very excited about the possibilities of this research,” Escobar says.” I hope this dissertation will stress the importance of young adult fiction novels as everyday information resources, especially in environments where LBGTQAI+ issues are not discussed or examined.” Through thematic content analysis, her study will explore themes such as discovering sexuality, coming out, dating, love, consent, and acceptance to ascertain whether these books could provide information important to LGBT young adults of middle and high school age. In the last section of her dissertation, she plans on sharing the thoughts of 15 young adults who have each read a novel from the book list as they discuss whether the books could have helped them as they discovered their sexuality.

Part of the $3,000 YALSA Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award funds the participation of and provides books for 15 LGBTQAI+ young adults, resulting in 30 interviews exploring their demographics/backgrounds and their feelings about the sexuality and sexual health information contained in the 2018 GLBTRT Rainbow Book List Young Adult fiction selection.

Additionally, the award covers the cost of Escobar’s travel to two conferences. In June, she traveled to Indianapolis for the Children’s Literature Association Annual Conference to share the preliminary results of her dissertation (pictured above). She will also travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to present on a panel for the Youth Services Interest Group at the American Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference. Escobar will also receive the ALISE/University of Washington Information School Youth Services Graduate Student Travel Award at the event.

For more about the YALSA Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship award, click here.