YALSA Election: An Interview with Edwards Award Committee Candidate Elizabeth Burns

Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 19 through April 25, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2014 candidates for YALSA Award Committees.YALSA_173x79

This week we are focusing on the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, which honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.

Candidates, who will be presented in alphabetical order, were asked to craft “Twitter-length” responses (i.e. around 140 characters). Full biographical information on all of the candidates can be found on the sample ballot.

Today we have an interview with Elizabeth Burns.

Name and current position: Elizabeth Burns, Youth Services Consultant, New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center

Why did you decide to run for a YALSA selection committee?

I’m running for the Edwards Award Committee because it’s the award that recognizes a lasting contribution to YA lit & takes into consideration the teen appeal that keeps these authors/books in print.

In a nutshell, what will you bring to the committee?

Prior selection committee experience: Printz, Schneider Family Book Award, and the Excellence in Nonfiction Award.

What experience do you have with materials selection and evaluation?

You can look at my book evaluations at my blog, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy at SLJ. In my current job, I select large print books for purchase for teens and do lots of readers advisory.

What makes you a good fit for this committee in particular?

A depth of knowledge about teen books and reading habits, from my prior work in public libraries and current work at a library for the blind & physically handicapped.

How do you plan to manage the reading load required by selection committee participation?

I’m a bit old school: I use an actual paper calendar and post-its! Using the calendar helps me break down the time to spend researching nominations and reading the nominated authors.

What have been some of your favorite past winners of this particular award?

Susan Cooper! I read her as a teen so loved seeing her win. I also liked seeing Laurie Halse Anderson win — an author I first read as a librarian.

What books should have won the award, but didn’t?

I’ll pass on this one, because any “should have” author may still be eligible for this award. That said, I have a short list of authors I’d love to see get this award.

What else do voters need to know about you?

I like that this award recognizes that the “best” takes into account what teens are reading; what teens have kept in print year after year. It also acknowledges that the best books aren’t always the newest ones.

This interview was cross-posted on The Hub and the YALSAblog.

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