Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 13 through April 5, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2017 YALSA Governance and 2019 Selection Committee candidates.

Today we’ll hear from a candidate for the 2019 Edwards Award. Members on this committee serve an eighteenth month term. The committee consists of six virtual members of which three are elected.

The Edwards Award committee’s primary job is to select a living author or co-author whose book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives. A full description of the committee’s duties and responsibilities can be found here.

Full biographical information on all of the candidates can be found on the sample ballot and YALSA Election FAQs here.

Today we have an interview with Michael Cart.

Name and current position: Michael Cart, Author/Editor

Talk about the experiences and expertise you’re bringing to the award committee in terms of material evaluation and selection, and as working as part of a team.

I’ve served as a member, chair, or supervisor of Materials Selection Committees at three different libraries in Indiana and California. More importantly, though, is the fact that I’ve been a book reviewer for nearly fifty years, have written or edited some twenty three books and countless articles in or related to the field and have authored a standard history of young adult literature.

As for working as part of a team, I’ve served on many, many YALSA Committees over the 30 years during which I’ve been an active member of the Association. I’ve often served as Chair of these Committees with the mandate to insure collegiality. I also brought these skills to bear during my years on the YALSA Board and as YALSA President.

Talk about the ways you’ve leveraged literature with teens to address some of the issues that negatively impact their lives.

While I haven’t had as much opportunity as I would have liked to work directly with teens during my career, I have had the opportunity as a library director to support youth services programs, notably in Beverly Hills, which – for its size – was the most generously supported program in California. Moreover I have had ample opportunities to work with those professionals who are working directly with teens through my writings and also through the numerous speeches, presentations and workshops I’ve offered over some three decades of YA service. I’m a great believer in the ability of literature to change teen lives for the better and have served as a teen advocate since I began working with YALSA. In recent years one of my focuses has been on service to LGBTQ +youth. I believe my advocacy has given faces to these formerly invisible young people as has my writing.

What are some ways award-winning titles can be used to help teens acquire critical skills across multiple literacies?

Fundamental to this is the simple act of reading these award-winning books. Moreover, librarians have the opportunity through individual interaction and through programs and displays to introduce teens to these excellent books and, of equal importance, to promote these titles. Discussing these books in whatever venue is available is also vitally important to developing critical skills

Serving on an award committee requires strict confidentiality and high ethical standards.  What actions would you take to ensure there were no lapses in confidentiality or ethics?

I’d like to think my career speaks for itself in this regard.


Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of this award committee?

In large part, I suppose, because of my expertise, which derives from my nearly half century of reading, reviewing, and writing. I might mention here that, in addition to YALSA’s, I have also served on numerous book-related committees (and served as President) of ALAN (NCTE’s Assembly on Literature for Adolescents). I also bring enthusiasm and dedication to the field which – at the risk of sounding sappy – I love with my whole heart.

About Casey McCoy

Casey McCoy is a Librarian at San Jose Public Library and earned her MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. She has a passion for working with teens as well as discovering ways to use technology as a community engagement tool. Her thoughts on libraries, technology and attempts at adulting can be found on Twitter @CayMcCoy.
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