Pierce, Jennifer Burek

Associate Professor

School of Library and Information Science
3076 Main Library
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242-1420

Jennifer Burek Pierce writes about changes in media for young readers, creating histories of moments in media use that reflect important developments either in library history or contemporary culture. Her current research explores Nerdfighteria and Vlogbrothers' viewers as communities of readers, emphasizing the ways readers craft their responses to stories. A forthcoming essay on readers' responses to The Fault in Our Stars will be published in the Edinburgh History of Reading in 2019.

Her research on nonbook materials for children in libraries won the ALA Library History Round Table's Davis Award in 2018. Fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society and Winterthur Museum, Libraries and Garden supported that article and her other studies of books, games, and toys for young readers. A 2013 essay evaluates historical developments in e-books and picture-book apps for children. The essays have explored trends in publishing and young people's reading, considering their implications for libraries, past and present. Particular topics of interest include the ways books and other media are promoted and shared. These studies also consider how communities of readers are understood in light of books and materials made available to them and made by them.

Her books include What Adolescents Ought to Know: Sexual Health Texts in Early 20th Century America (UMass Press, 2011) and Sex, Brains, and Video Games: Information and Inspiration for Youth Services Librarians/2nd (ALA Editions, 2017). She developed the Youth Matters column for American Libraries and has also written for The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Paris Review.

Prof. Burek Pierce serves on the advisory board for the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities and the University of Iowa Press.

Areas of Interest: 
Print culture and book history, including 21st century and digital practices; literature and non-fiction materials for young readers; publishing, particularly marketing and book promotion; communities of readers; and community engagement and service learning.