Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 24 through May 1, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2015 YALSA Governance and 2017 Selection Committee candidates as well as the ALA President-Elect Candidates.

Today we’ll hear from a candidate for the 2017 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.

Today we have an interview with Betsy Crone.

Name and current position:
Betsy Crone, media specialist, SE Guilford Middle School, Greensboro, NC

Besides reading YA materials, what best qualifies you for being a member of this YALSA selection committee?
• 20 years of library service to children and young adults
• Past experience on ALA selection committees; YALSA’s Audiobook selection committee (2010-2012), Caldecott Committee (2013)
• Morris Seminar participant (2009)
• Guilford County Schools Young Adult Literature review committee

Talk about the experience you’re bringing to the selection committee with selection, evaluation, and working as part of a team.
I have worked on a number of selection committees at both the local and national level. I am aware that the group/team process is essential to success in these situations. I enjoy seeing a set of people from different backgrounds and work settings come to an agreeable consensus.

What role do you think books can play in addressing some of the issues that negatively impact their lives?
Books can be a powerful tool in addressing issues in teen lives. They can give power to the reader and help them realize that they are not alone in a situation. Books can show horrible real life situations turn into growth experiences.

What are some ways the award winning titles can meet the need of teens to have a more expanded view of literacy?
Award winners can create general interest in a title, awards can make a book “sexy”. This can force readers to branch out into reading new genres or formats and build an appreciation for a wider variety of writing styles.

Share a time when you’ve advocated for a library collection to be more influential in the role of a connected learning center and what was the result?
This year, my district has gone one-to-one in our middle schools. Many of the Middle School Media Specialists advocated for more eBooks available on our district eBook collection. We were hoping this format would peek student interest as they were exploring learning in a more personalized electronic environment. The district won a large grant for eBooks and we teacher-librarians have been promoting these titles heavily all year. Interest has been very high and my school has had a very high check out volume of this newly introduced format (1000+/month).

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of this selection committee?
I have a great love, appreciation, and knowledge of children’s and young adult literature. I have experience on selection committees and other group committee work but, never having worked with this particular committee, I can bring a fresh outlook.
Talk about a time when a teen shared with you how a book influenced them.
I talk with teens everyday about what they are reading and how they feel about it. Recently, I had a student comment on how much she hates a main character in the book she was currently reading. She was considering not finishing the book. Not liking or enjoying the protagonist was a new and confusing experience for her. We had a short discussion about working in class with people she may not care for. These groups create good projects and outcomes even though she may not enjoy everyone she had to work with. This was enough of a connection to pique her interest in the rest of the story so finished the book. She even gave it a positive review but really nailed the character for her moodiness.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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