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YALSA Election: An Interview with Printz Award Committee Candidate Kelly Jensen

2014 March 13
by Allison Tran
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yalsa logoGet 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.

This week we are focusing on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee, which honors the best book and up to four honor books written for teens, based entirely on literary merit, each year.

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 Kelly Jensen.

Name and current position: Kelly Jensen, Teen & Adult Services Librarian, Beloit Public Library

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

After serving on other YALSA selection committees, I felt ready to take on Printz. It’s an honor to volunteer time and energy for my professional organization.

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

I’m passionate about discussing and debating the merits of YA books. I’m excited by the opportunity to spend a year talking about what makes a book stand out as the most excellent with fellow passionate readers.

What experience do you have with materials selection and evaluation?

Selected YA materials since my first librarian job in 2009; served on the CYBILS YA judging panel for 3 years & Outstanding Books for the College Bound. I write critical, in-depth book reviews at STACKED.

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

I’m a fair, objective, and critical evaluator of books across genres. My skills for reading deeply and eagerness to discuss the qualities which make a book “best” or “not best” are a strong fit.

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

Serving on the CYBILs required reading 60-100 books in a 3-month period. I’ve also served on Outstanding Books for the College Bound & I’ve developed a method for reading lots of books in a short period of time.

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

My favorite Printz winners are John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back and John Green’s Looking for Alaska but I’ve loved a number of titles that have earned Printz honors, too.

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

Each committee makes their choices based on what they read and discussed at length. I think one thing that the Printz does- and does well- is constantly surprise.

What else do voters need to know about you?

I’m really good at keeping spreadsheets, a skill that is far more handy in committee work than most people realize.

 

**All award committee candidate interviews are crossposted to both the YALSAblog and The Hub.

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