LaVistamuralLindsey Tomsu, of the La Vista Public Library in Nebraska, is the unofficial queen of the life-sized board games. ‘ She and her TAB already cooked up a life-size Candy Land board game, as well as an enormous version of their personal favorite, Arkham Horror. ‘ Lindsey and her TAB received the Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant for her Teen Read Week programming, another colossal board game: a life-sized Life! ‘ Here’s a bit more about her and her program:

Where did you get such a great idea?

Back in the summer of 2011, my TAB ended up doing a Life-Size Candy Land game for the kids at the library. It was a bunch of fun making the game props and such. We did the old school version pre-candy characters. So in the summer of 2012 we decided to apply for the TRW grant and do a life-size version of our favorite board game, Arkham Horror, which compared to Candy Land was way more work and more detail. Over the course of the two and a half months leading up to TRW my teens volunteered nearly 353 hours to make that program a reality. More information about this program can be seen in our article in School Library Journal. Read More →

Dawn Abron - Zion-Benton Public Library, Teen Associate

Dawn Abron – Zion-Benton Public Library, Teen Associate

Meet Dawn Abron. She WOWED the Teen Read Week Committee with her Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant application this year. We’d like to thank Dawn for taking some time out of her busy week to tell us about what she did with the SEEK THE UNKNOWN theme.

1. Describe your TRW YALSA/Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant.

Teens in our district enjoy writing short stories so we decided to showcase their passion of writing with an annual competition.’  We used the grant to fund our First Annual ZB Inked Short Story Competition.’  We had two categories: high school and middle school.’  First, second, and third place winners were rewarded with a Kindle Fire, a Kindle Paperwhite, and a $50 movie theater gift card.

We began our TRW with a short story boot camp.’  We invited a local author and creative writing teacher, Kathi Baron, to give teens tips for writing great short stories.

2. Tell us a little about your teens’ stories.

Teens used this year’s theme, Seek The Unknown, as the theme for their short stories.’  Our teens really ran with the theme and entered fantasy stories about a girl who was given the gift of radiance through fireflies; men trapped in the Amazon with giant, deadly spiders; and a girl from Mars with an interesting past.’  Read More →

JennyJennifer Schureman, head of Youth Services/YA Librarian from the Gloucester County Library System in New Jersey is one of the Teen Read Week 2013 Dollar General Literacy Foundation recipients. Her programming caught the eye the Teen Read Week Committee for its innovation, and incorporation of the Teen Read Week theme on such a large scale.

Here’s more about her Teen Read Week 2013 program:


Your Teen Read Week 2013 program is “Seeking the Secrets of NJ” can you briefly explain this and tell us what was your inspiration, and who was involved in planning this amazing adventure?
The inspiration for our program “Seeking the Secrets of NJ” came about because 2014 is the 350th Birthday of the State of New Jersey.’  It was the first time that I could incorporate such a commemorative event into the theme of Teen Read Week “Seek the Unknown @ your library”.’  The entire Youth Services Department of the Gloucester County Library System got together to share their amazing ideas about how to make this program fun and exciting for our teens.’  The program that emerged from this meeting will be both fun and informative for the teens.’  A “statewide scavenger hunt” is the basis of the program.’  Teens will perform activities including geocaching, internet searches, and code breaking along with traditional scavenger hunt clues, to uncover little known facts about the State of New Jersey. Read More →

In honor of Teen Read Week and all the creative ideas librarians are busy planning and implementing this time of year, the Teen Read Week committee decided that we would post interviews with some of the winners of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Teen Read Week grant. Ten librarians won $1,000 to implement their idea for Teen Read Week within their communities, but why only list their names in the official press release? We know you want to know what their grant-winning idea was, so this week and next week, be sure to check the YALSA blog as we pepper you with the interviews where we give you all the details.

The lovely Cathy Andronik

The lovely Cathy Andronik

First up, is Cathy Andronik from Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, CT. The two high schools in this urban area about an hour north of New York City each serve around 1700 students and the librarians frequently share good ideas, including their lunchtime book clubs. This could very well be because they used to work in the same school, as Cathy explains. “Until about three years ago, there were two librarians at each high school; then budget cuts forced a staff reduction to one per high school.’  Seniority enters the picture, and my wonderful colleague ended up at our crosstown rival.’  She and I had run a lunchtime book club together for several years already, sometimes through a YALSA grant, other times scrounging money wherever we could find it.’  We worked so well together, we promised each other that somehow we would find a way to combine our two clubs.”

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by Marie Harris

At ALA Annual, Kelly Czarnecki and Jimmeka Anderson’ will accept YALSA’s Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults 2012 Program Award for the Teen Fashion Apprentice program at ImaginOn.

This unique program, first developed in 2012 by Jimmeka Anderson and Kelly Czarnecki, has expanded and grown to now include workshops at five library branches, with apprenticeships awarded at three locations in 2013. “The program gives them [the teens] the chance to get more hands-on experience… and see if it’s something they want to do in the future,” says Jimmeka.

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in darkness nick lake printz seal

All Friends of YALSA are cordially invited to a reception honoring Michael L. Printz winner, Nick Lake. Join us at this wonderful cocktail hour, hosted by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, before the Michael L. Printz Program and Reception during ALA’s Annual Conference on July 1st from 5:30-7:30pm in the Columbus AB room of the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Unable to attend yourself? Gift your invitation to someone else so they can meet this amazing author and learn more about YALSA. Help introduce someone to an award-winning author, and a fabulous organization at the same time.

YALSA’s 56th birthday is quickly approaching. Help support YALSA and YALSA members by becoming a Friend of YALSA. Beyond this amazing reception, Friends of YALSA will also  enjoy reserved seating at the Printz and Edwards Receptions at ALA’s Annual Conference. Friends members in the Gold and Platinum circles will also be invited to small, intimate reception with Margaret A. Edwards winner Tamora Pierce.
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by Guest Blogger Sharon Grover

in darkness nick lake printz sealWhen Hedberg Public Library teen librarian Laurie Bartz and I learned we would both be part of the 2013 Michael L. Printz Award committee, we hoped this might be our chance to get our teens reading and discussing books from a critical perspective. We had tried before to form teen clubs around critical book discussion without success. Kids were happy to come talk about books, but all we ever got out of them (no matter what strategies we employed) was so much plot that no one else in the room needed to read the books.

So when we invited some teens to read 2012 books we thought were “important,” we said we expected them to talk about the books the same way the real Printz committee was going to discuss their books. Our high school faculty partners asked us to create a rubric from the criteria and, armed with that rubric [doc] and Book Discussion Guidelines [docx] from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, we began our exciting, year-long adventure.
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I had a chance to speak with Michelle Luhtala, department chair of New Canaan (CT) High School Library, late last year about her students winning the American Library Association’s teen video Contest, “Why I NEED My Library!” in 2011.’ After learning that the American Library Association was sponsoring the teen video contest, “Why I NEED My Library!” , Michelle Luhtala, school librarian at New Canaan High School (CT) sent the information to a group of students interested in videography.’  She let the students ponder the idea of the contest and they did the rest… ultimately winning the top prize of $3,000.00 cash.’  The focus of the video was the library and the services offered.’  Michele said the $3,000.00 cash prize was a huge incentive for the students.

Even thought they did not get to keep the money for themselves, the students did get to decide how to spend the money for the benefit of the school library, a way to leave their legacy.’  Ultimately, 5 iPads were purchased for the school.’  Each iPad is individually engraved with the student’s name and has its own cover which represents each of the award winning students.’  Since receiving the iPads, Michelle said that many students come to the desk requesting to check out “The TIM” or “The Nick” iPad.

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Each Midwinter, I listen to and watch the immediate responses as YALSA’s media awards are announced, fascinated by how many interpretations audience members make of what doesn’t “win” and what the winning titles “say” about those who selected them. book with post it notes francisca goldsmithOver the years, I’ve served on three YALSA awards committees (Margaret A. Edwards, Odyssey, and Printz), a couple of YALSA list selection committees (former versions of these are now swept into what we call Amazing Audiobooks), and both award and selection list committees for other organizations (the Eisners, the Audies, and the California Young Reader Medal among them). For way longer, I’ve been reviewing books and media for an array of professional journals (Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, VOYA, Public Libraries, Busted) and a couple of “general reader” publications; my typical annual review production numbers somewhere between 100 to 150 titles, mostly assigned to me by editors.

As a fairly long-term readers’ advisory practitioner and instructor, I read widely beyond what I review and what I judge for lists and awards. What I hope to provide here is some focus on how all these different book and media considerations differ in both purpose and approach.

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