Reading with Your Ears Preconference

Posted by Jamie Watson

Highlights #2 from the YALSA Preconference.
Presented by Daniel Bostick and Bruce Coville, Full Cast Audio; Tim Ditlow, Random House/Listening Library; and Eileen Hutton, Brilliance Audio.

Q: How do producers determine what to publish?
A: It must be a good book! Random House gets thousands of manuscripts a year with potential to become just a small list of audiobooks. For Full Cast, a book must be driven by dialogue since, they are read by a “full cast” of characters. All publishers agree that a good review in a review journal can alert them to something they may want for audio. Publishers also look for a balanced list – a variety of age groups, genres, etc.

Q: Is having a cd that releases simulteously with the print book important?
A: For Brilliance, since they are predominantly a retail publisher, it is very important. Now that Listening Library is a part of Random House, there can be a simulatenous release, taking advantage of joint publicity. Often, in retail situations, when a book sells out, retailers will handsell the audiobook.

Q: In terms of young adult material, how do you deal with challenging, potentially controversial material?
A: Full Cast mentions controversial language (ie. the “f” word!) They made the decision to include a “strong language” note on the package. Listening Library mentions that at one time they had the Top 10 Challenged books all on audio. Both agree that if the “controversial” contact is organic and true to the book, not gratuitious, that is a valid reason for publishing the material. Brilliance publishes predominantly adult material, and they label them as such ( ex. Adult Fiction.)

Q: How are casting decisions made?
A: Full Cast has a stable of readers (think theater troup!) They use actual teen readers to narrate the teen characters. Authors are not always (and usually not!) the best choice to read their own works – trained actors and narrators are the true professionals. Sometimes accents drive the decision – Full Cast doesn’t record works that require British or Southern accents, since their stable is from upstate New York. Listening Library hunted far and wide for an authentic midwestern accent for their recent “Dairy Queen.”

Q: How about format? Cassettes, cds, downloadable?

A: Cassettes are over! Retailers are not buying them at all – libraries and schools still are to a point, but it is on a life support. The retail side of Listening Library’s offerings via Audible is now 15% of their total sales.

And now for lunch! Back this afternoon.

Reading with Your Ears Preconference

Posted by Jamie Watson

Throughout the day,I’ll be posting highlights live from the YALSA Preconference entitled Reading with your Ears. Comment if you have any questions, or send me an email at

Curriculum Connections
Presented by Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI and Mary Stump, Arlington County, VA Public Schools.

Why Listen?

Most important point: Listening is not cheating!

A good way to enhance literacy is NOT to try to read along : the narrator can read faster than you can keep up. Rather listen first and then read, or read first and then listen.

Listening can add to the reading experience just like a movie version does.

Preponderence of mp3 players is giving an extra motivation to try listening.

What’s the best reason to listen to audiobooks? It’s fun! The quality of narration is superior and often provided by well-known actors. It’s also a wonderful family activity. It’s a great way to give parents the opportunity to share books with their teens. You can stop the book manually and talk about the story.

How to Listen?

Is the book appropriate for audio presentation? Is the book or story one that lends itself to being read aloud?

And yes, correct pronunciation of all text is REQUIRED for a good audiobook!

An audio edition may make the material more accessible to a wider audience.

Several audiobooks were shared, complete with clips, and then linked to specifics from a variety of statewide curriculum standards. In many cases, the audio demonstrates the selected standard in an even stronger manner than the print version does.

There is such a thing as a Free Lunch

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Remember back in high school economics, where the teacher went on explaining why there wasn’t such a thing as a free lunch? Well at ALA your old economics teacher was wrong.

One part of ALA is attending programs and learning more about interesting opportunities available, hopefully getting just enough ideas to not be overwhelmed.

Another aspect is networking, for students this track could be more important than the programs. Since your time is completely overbooked, and the exhibit hall is overwhelmingly large, many exhibitors offer breakfasts, lunches, and cocktails for invited guests. It doesn’t cost to attend, but what the exhibitors get is your attention for longer than you would stop by their booth. And that to them is worth paying for a meal in exchange for your attention and time.

I would encourage everyone (especially poor students) to pay attention to the pre conference mailings so that you can get some meals for free, and also learn about many different things going on in the library world, because as we all know it is the exhibitors at the different conferences that are our biggest supporters.

Eve of Departure

Posted by Beth Gallaway

  • Made handouts for presentation & meetings? check!
  • Packed (including umbrella, sturdy shoes, and band aids)? check!
  • Touched base with roommate? check!
  • Boarding Pass printed? check!
  • Hotel confirmed? check!
  • Shuttle reservation made? check!
  • harged cell phone? check!
  • RSVP’d to events? check!
  • Updated itinerary in Google Calendar? check!

Next: Shower. Sleep. Airport!

Gaming Events of Interest at ALA Annual in New Orleans:

Sunday June 25th, 1:30-3:30 YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group
Hilton New Orleans, Riverside 2 Poydras St
Chequers Room, 3rd floor

The purpose of this discussion is to discuss issues relating to teens and gaming and to develop and disseminate best practices in collections, programming, and related topics in the field of gaming (including video, computer, internet, handheld, mobile, board, card, and miniatures) for young adults ages 12-18. Bring a program to share, a game recommendation, or your questions about starter collections or successful gaming events. Teens are VERY welcome to attend – we could really use their opinions, experience, and expertise to add to the discussion.

Can’t attend? Join in via Skype or Second Life

contact Beth Gallaway
(informationgoddess29 AT gmail DOT com or Kelly Czarnecki (kelly.queenofthejungle AT gmail DOT com for details.

Notes will also be posted on the YALSA blog, and online in our community at

Moderators: Beth Gallaway, Metrowest MA Regional Library System

Waltham MA & Kelly Czarnecki, ImaginOn, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Monday, June 26th, 1:30 to 3:30
LITA: Exploring the Technology of Gaming
Morial Convention Center, Room 286/287

This program will concentrate on the validity, opportunities and
adoption of the provision of adult and teen games as the emerging new

literacy and literature of the immediate and long term future. Gaming
technology represents a fundamental learning and information exchange
of the future and by adopting it, libraries have the opportunity to
get ahead of the curve in an important emerging component of society.
Speakers: Kevin Ferst, Teen Librarian, Jacksonville (Fla.) Public Library;
Matt Gullett, ImaginOn (Charlotte, NC);
Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library;
Beth Gallaway, Metrowest MA Regional Library System, Waltham (Mass.)

(Although not a YALSA program, it has a strong teen focus, and conflicts only with YALSA selection committee meetings, according to event planner.)

Summer Reading -at the Jail

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

My ever-thinking colleague suggested we offer to sign up the young men (16-17 year olds) in the Freedom Reads! book club at Jail North in Charlotte, NC for the Teen Summer Reading program. Of course and why not! Since the program is online and the young men do not have internet access, we had to be a bit creative. They chose a username and password which the librarian at the jail will keep track of. They will record their hours on hard copy and turn it in when they reach their goals. Some even said they would read for thirty hours straight and right away. What do they read? So much! Astrology, Dead Sea Scrolls, James Patterson, teen dating violence prevention, and most recently titles from the Great Stories CLUB grant program.

Come see our display (among many others) at the Diversity Fair at the conference on Saturday, 3p-5p at the Convention Center in the Special Events Area behind aisle 3700.

A few other related programs:

All Committee meeting, Saturday, 10a-12p, Hilton Grand Ballroom. Visit the Outreach to Young Adults Special Needs Committee.

Behind Bars: Books & Teens and the Criminal Justice System, Saturday, 1:30p-3:30p, Convention Center, Room 288-289.

A couple of new titles

Posted by Linda W. Braun

There are two new titles I just purchased that I thought would be of interest to readers of this blog.

The first is a downloadable book available from Amazon in pdf format – My Space Safety: 51 Tips for Teens and Parents. I was curious about the book partly because it’s written by two parents of a teenager and partly because I assumed it was going to be particularly negative about My Space. I was basically wrong. It’s a good book that says teens are gong to use sites like My Space so here are some things you, as a parent, can do to make sure they are safe.

The other book is a new one by Will Richardson called Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. It covers the basics of newish technologies and provides good ideas for how they can be used for, with, and by kids and teens.

Happenings at Conference

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Yesterday Beth Yoke sent out a reminder email of YALSA events at conference and I wanted to make sure it was posted here too.

The ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans is just a few days away on June 22-28, and we wanted to be sure you knew about some recent developments:

1) It’s not too late to register to attend the conference. Anyone who is not yet registered, but who would like to attend, may do so online or on-site at the convention center. A special one-day rate for Monday is now being offered. To learn more about the conference or to register online go to For a complete list of programs and room locations for YALSA’s meetings and events, go to

2) If you can’t make it to all the YALSA programs you wanted to, or if you can’t come to the conference at all, be sure to check out YALSA’s blog each day of the conference for up-to-the-minute reports and musings from our conference bloggers. Just go to

3) Kick of the conference by attending YALSA 101 on Friday from 4-5 in room 253 of the convention center. At this informal gathering you can hear about the newest programs and services available to members. This event is sponsored by School Library Journal, who will be providing refreshments and goodie bags.

4) Tickets for the Monday evening Michael L. Printz Award Program & Reception will be available on-site. For $35 you will get to hear the winning and honor authors speak, enjoy a dessert reception and receive a free bag of goodies donated by Booklist, Harper Collins, Houghton Mifflin, Penguin and Random House.

5) Be sure to visit our Teen Read Week Partners in the Exhibit Hall: Harcourt (booth #1239), Orca (booth #1140), Scholastic (booth #s 1832 & 2039) and Simon & Schuster (booth #1450).

6) Pick up your free WWE Summer Reading Slam Poster and other great freebies at the YALSA Member Booth in Lobby J of the convention center. Also, new for Teen Read Week 2006 will be the WWE Reading Challenge, a reading incentive program available just to YALSA members and their libraries. To find out more, or to sign up to participate (it’s free) go to

7) ALA is collecting new books for all ages at the conference and will distribute them to hurricane-damaged libraries throughout the Gulf region. Please bring donations to YALSA’s Membership Booth in Lobby J of the convention center between Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon. ALA and YALSA are not accepting donations at the Chicago Headquarters. If you are not attending the conference, but would still like to contribute, please visit or for a list of other ways you can help out.

8) For anyone still wanting to register for the Reading With Your Ears Preconference on audiobooks or purchase a ticket for the Margaret Edwards Award Luncheon, please contact Nichole Gilbert at or 1.800.545.2433 x4387 by no later than Wednesday June 21st. Registration/tickets for these two events will not be available on site.