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CYAC (pronounced kahy-ak) is the Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging Program at the Library of Congress. The program provides cataloging for material published in the United States for children and young adults, and tailors the cataloging to meet the specific needs of our primary users, school and public libraries.
The Literature Section, under the United States Programs, Law, and Literature Division, is responsible for administering the CYAC Program, whick catalogs the wide range of fiction material published for children and young adults. The records created, which include an objective and succinct summary of the book, are used by researchers, publishers, school libraries, public libraries, and their patrons. The CYAC Program also develops new children’s subject headings, proposes changes to existing subject headings, monitors the policies and practices of children’s cataloging, and keeps abreast of trends in children’s publishing. The CYAC Program has expert staff in the field of children’s literature and responds to a variety of queries related to providing access for children’s and young adults’ materials.
The CYAC Program is one of the older programs at the Library of Congress and continues the original Annotated Card (AC) Program, which was established in the fall of 1965 to meet a recognized need to address how children, young adults, and those who assist them in libraries search for books and the information they contain, which can be very different from the approach taken by most adults. The AC Program, as it was popularly called, began by providing cataloging on printed cards and included a summary or annotation of the book, which was a new idea at the time, as well as subject headings more accessible to youths. At that time, both non-fiction and fiction books received AC cataloging. Over the years, the program has changed to better serve its audience. Currently, CYAC focuses on providing access for children’s and young adults' fiction.
The CYAC Program provides access to fiction materials for young readers through high school. The program targets English language material published anywhere in the world and foreign language materials published in the United States. Children’s materials in foreign languages published outside of the United States are not in scope. However, if you wish to prepare original CYAC cataloging for foreign language items in your library, you can catalog your materials using the policies and practices of standard CYAC cataloging.
CYAC is able to provide access to a high percentage of new children’s and young adults' literature available in the United States due to its participation in the Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication (CIP) Program. Many children’s and young adults' publishers are members of the CIP Program and submit applications for their fiction titles, allowing CYAC catalogers to create metadata for these new works before they are published.
Specifically, the program catalogs belles lettres, i.e. fiction works, for children and young adults acquired through the Cataloging-In-Publication Program or the Copyright Office, regardless of language. This includes material for the very young up through high school. For Library of Congress purposes, juvenile or children’s literature is defined as material for an audience of up to and including ninth grade or age fifteen. Young Adult literature is generally defined as ages twelve through high school.
Collaboration with outside organizations in the field of children’s literature plays a part in CYAC Program cataloging. Advice and feedback on cataloging needs is sought from groups such as the American Library Association’s Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Cataloging and Classification Section (CCS) Committee on Cataloging of Children's Materials and the Rare Books and Special Collections Section at the Library of Congress.
The Annotated Card Program, as the CYAC Program was previously called, provided cataloging for both fiction and nonfiction materials for children, but CYAC now catalogs fiction exclusively. Some of the practices detailed on this web site relate to CYAC treatment of juvenile nonfiction, which is now cataloged by LC sections based on each item’s subject. It is included here both to document historical practice and for the benefit of people at the Library of Congress and elsewhere who wish to apply CYAC principles to their nonfiction cataloging.
The types of material or genres in scope for the CYAC Program are:
collections and single works of fiction for children and young adults
juvenile graphic novels
juvenile novels in verse
original and traditional fairy tales
classical nursery rhymes, i.e., Mother Goose
stories in rhyme
song lyrics presented in a picture book format
fiction about realistic animals
bilingual and polyglot fiction for children and young adults
fiction for children and young adults presented in, or featuring, Braille or sign language
The following material is NOT in scope for the CYAC Program:
topical (nonfiction, factual) material for children and young adults
folklore of the native peoples of the Americas
poetry for children and young adults
plays for children and young adults
Availability of Metadata
The metadata produced by the CYAC Program is readily available from numerous sources.
- Individual records may be downloaded free of charge through the Library of Congress’ Z39.50 Gateway.
- The records are also sent to bibliographic utilities on a daily basis and are available for purchase directly from LC. Those interested in purchasing records should contact the Cataloging Distribution Service for subscription information.
For more information about the CYAC Program, you can reach the program staff through our Contact page.