Teen librarianship isn't always the most glamourous of positions in the library world. Fortunately, the back-up we have available to us through YALSA and the many awards they offer feel priceless to the winners. As Katie George, winner of the 2011 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, puts it, “Receiving recognition like this from teen-serving peers... at this level... is a shot in the arm. It reminds you, ‘Yes! You are making a difference! Keep going!'”

Katie's “Pass the Book” program at the Howard County Library System in Columbia, MD, started in 2009 and involved passing around over 600 copies of Scott Westerfeld's The Secret Hour. Teens would then read the book, log the book number on the program's website, and pass the book along. According to Katie, “Pass the Book appealed to teens' interest in participating in an exclusive activity, yet encouraged them to connect with other teen readers by sharing books and participating in the website.” She also pointed out that this program gave the public library another opportunity to branch out into locals schools, where some books were distributed in school media centers. While the program is no longer actively giving out new books, the titles are still being logged today - over 616 times on five continents.

For Katie and the other teen librarians, winning the MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens gave them “a boost of confidence” and allowed them to “experience renewed enthusiasm for our jobs.” If you're still considering applying for the MAE Award, take into consideration these wise words from Katie: “Give yourself credit, be brave, and apply. What may be “all in a day's work” for you, might be a groundbreaking idea to someone else. Your work may be just the inspiration someone else needs... and they'll never know about until you share.”

Applications for the 2013 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens are due December 1, 2012. Check out the YALSA website for more information.

Posted on behalf of Mary Haas and the MAE Award Jury.

About mk Eagle

I'm the librarian at Holliston High School, a bit west of Boston. In my spare time I advise my school's yearbook and Gay Straight Alliance, write about food, and root for the Red Sox.

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