The Hub Reading Challenge – How to Get Started

There are several ways to approach the 2021 Reading Challenge here at The Hub, though there’s no easy way to five in a row! One way to get started is to look at the 2021 ALA YMA winners and honorees, many of which can fill more than one spot on the Bingo board.

2021 Hub Reading Challenge Bingo

Let’s begin with those top corners. The Odyssey Award is given each year to excellent audiobooks produced for children or young adults. The 2021 winner was Kent State by Deborah Wiles, which is also a full-cast audiobook, so it would work for either corner. Another award-winning title with a full cast audiobook is Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, a 2021 Printz honor book.

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The 2021 Hub Challenge Has Arrived!

Here it is: The Hub Reading Challenge for 2021!

This year, we encourage readers to get involved at whatever level they prefer. You can aim for traditional BINGO with five in a row, or you can take on one of the bigger goals! From reading with a tissue box to laughing out loud, this year’s challenge covers a lot of ground, and it gives you the chance to read along with our Selected Lists team members. As you read new YA this year, we hope you are discovering titles that would make a great fit on the Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, or Quick Picks nomination lists. When you do, we want to hear about it, so grab the field nomination form (available at the bottom of each week’s posts) and make a suggestion! When you do, you’ll be sharing the love AND earning a spot on this year’s BINGO board!

Most of the spots are self-explanatory, but we’ll make sure to highlight a few each time we check in, and if you have questions, there’s a spot for those in the sign-up form.

Click the download button below to get a PDF of the bingo board. Our first check-in will be next month, so get started!

Introducing Your 2022 Amazing Audiobooks Team

Hi! I’m Cathy Outten, and I’m the coordinator of the 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults blogging team.  I’ve served on several YALSA committees in the past. I’m the Children’s and Young Adult Literature librarian at California State University, Long Beach where I reside over our Children’s Collection.  I live in sunny Southern California with my husband, three teenagers, a dog, and two cats.

The 2022 Amazing Audiobooks blogging team is working towards creating a list of excellent audiobooks that appeal to teens and reflect the diversity of teen readers.  We are listening to fiction, nonfiction, single narrator, and cast recordings in search of books that meet our criteria of effective narration where the audio recording elevates a great story or nonfiction text. 

Eligible titles for this year’s list must have US publication dates between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. You can suggest titles for the committee to review by filling out this form. (Please note: publishers and authors cannot suggest their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation by emailing You can see all the past Amazing Audiobook lists and nominations on The Hub.  

Amazing Audiobooks on the 2021 list

The Amazing Audiobooks team works together via online discussions and meetings to review 100-200 audiobooks per year.  Once two team members agree, an audiobook becomes an official nomination and will be announced on The Hub. Team members write blog posts and annotations, and attend virtual meetings, but mostly there is lots of listening! The whole team listens to our nominations and votes for final inclusion on the full list and for the top ten at the end of the year.

The #AA2022 team is made up of YALSA member volunteers from different places and different types of libraries.  This year’s team includes myself and:

  • Rachel Adams – Seattle, WA
  • Candace Fox – Parma, OH
  • Annie Jansen – Philadelphia, PA
  • Jodeana Kruse – Ridgefield, WA
  • Abigail Lance – Salem, MA
  • Christine Pyles – Euclid, OH
  • Lorrie Roussin – San Antonio, TX
  • Caitlyn Seale – Mississauga, ON
  • Josie Snow – Pagosa Springs, CO

Our committee is already listening hard and ready to start building a fantastic list of titles for the next Amazing Audiobooks list.

-Cathy Outten (she/her)
2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Coordinator

Introducing Your 2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Team

Hello! My name is Molly Dettmann, and I am currently serving as the Coordinator for the 2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team. I’ve served on several YALSA committees in the past. During the day, I work as a high school librarian at Norman North High School in Norman, OK (Follow us on IG and FB @normannorthlibrary). I live in Norman with my husband, who teaches at the rival high school in town, and our dog Coco.

The 2022 Quick Picks team has a goal to curate a worthy list of titles that will reignite reluctant readers, young adults (ages 12-18) that, for whatever reasons, do not like to read. We read young adult fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels, looking for works that meet criteria such as having a high interest hook, catchy titles and covers, clear writing, and sufficient plot to sustain interest.

Anyone can nominate titles for committee review by filling out this form. To be eligible, titles must be published from September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021.(Please note: publishers and authors cannot nominate their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation).

To become an officially nominated Quick Pick title, two QP blogging team members have to read and vote yes for its inclusion. In our work to produce the final list, team members read and nominate titles, read field nominations, create blog posts, and attend monthly virtual meetings to discuss titles. In December, the team will meet to vote on the final list. To make the list, a title must be read and approved by a majority of team members. We also compile a top ten list. Quick Picks typically considers upwards of 100-150 titles a year with about 50-75% making the final list.

Book talking a 2021 QP Top Ten

The #QP2022 team  is made up of 12 YALSA members from different types of library settings and backgrounds all over the country. They are:

  • Megan Baird, AZ
  • Diana Ford, MD
  • Laura Indick, NY
  • Jayna Ramsey, CO
  • Ness Shortley, NC
  • Sarah Sullivan, NH
  • Jennifer Sutton, IL
  • Carolyn Vidmar, MD
  • Emily Williams, OK
  • Molly Moore, Admin Assistant, GA

We are excited to get started in our work and again, we welcome field nominations from all! If you have a title you think would make a great fit for this list, please fill out this form.

-Molly Dettmann (she/her)

2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team

New Year, New Look for The Hub

Welcome to 2021, YALSA members and friends!

Like many of you, here at The Hub we are looking forward to a new year full of expanding our community, expert advice, and excellent new books. Over the last few months, we’ve made some changes to The Hub behind the scenes, and now, with the turn of the calendar, we are excited to launch a new look for the site. With more contrast and less visual clutter, The Hub hopes to be a favorite source for all your collection development, acquisitions, and readers advisory needs!

Our Selected Lists teams will continue their excellent work with the 2021 Top Ten lists coming soon and nominations for 2022 titles opening later this month. Based on your feedback in our reader’s survey, we are making a few changes to how we roll out those nominations, so look for a new, more usable format in March!

Like you, we are looking forward to the 2021 ALA Youth Media Awards and are planning some pieces in connection to YALSA award winners, past, present, and future. We are excited about expanding our content to bring you more readalikes, themed posts, and book-related ideas for your daily life in Youth Services. If you have an idea for a book display, a themed list, or any other content for The Hub, please send us an email. We might want to feature your great ideas or even have you write for The Hub!

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The Hub Member Manager Sought for 2020-2021 Term

We’d like to thank the Hub’s current member manager, Stephen Ashley for the tremendous work and dedication he’s put into the Hub the past few years.

YALSA seeks a new member manager for a one-year term starting August 17, 2020, with an option to renew based on performance. Main responsibilities include leading an advisory board to provide oversight in creating, soliciting, and managing content for the blog, as well as recruiting bloggers. Additionally, the member manager will help manage the selected lists blogging teams and the dissemination of the selected lists, as well as the promotion and technical maintenance of the blog.

The member manager will receive an honorarium for their one-year term, as well as a small stipend to attend YALSA/ALA conferences. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity. YALSA membership is required.

Interested individuals should send a cover letter and resume that includes management, writing, and web publishing experience. Familiarity with PHP, WordPress, HTML, and social media preferred, but not required. Send cover letters and resumes to Anna Lam at by July 20.

See the list of qualifications and responsibilities below.  

List of Qualifications:

  1. Strong project management and organizational skills
  2. Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  3. Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  4. Excellent verbal and written communications skills, in order to develop content and communicate with potential content providers
  5. Experience in web publishing with responsibilities including but not limited to: utilizing video clips, audio, and social media, maintaining a high standard of writing, and ensuring compliance with policies created for the maintenance of the site
  6. Knowledge of HTML and WordPress, which YALSA uses for administration of blog sites; as well as knowledge of plugins, tagging, categories, and other WordPress tools
  7. PHP knowledge a plus
  8. Ability to set and meet deadlines
  9. Knowledge of best practices and current trends in collection development for and with teens in libraries
  10.  Ability to work well in a team environment
  11. Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Zoom, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  12.  Personal membership in YALSA
  13. A commitment to advancing the recommendations YALSA outlined in its report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action and Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.
  14. A commitment to advancing and supporting YALSA’s mission and EDI Plan.
  15. High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Oversight & Coordination

  • Communicate with the Advisory Board, Selected List Blogging Team Leaders, and YALSA’s Communications Specialist on a regular basis to generate ideas for content, assign tasks, discuss marketing strategies, and discuss site management
  • Work with the YALS and JRLYA editors and YALSAblog and Teen Programming HQ managers as appropriate to coordinate dissemination of information to members and the library community.
  • Maintain communication with YALSA member groups whose work relates to collection development and content curation
  • Oversee and help manage the posting and promotion of the selected lists
  • Follow all established and relevant ALA and YALSA policies and guidelines, enforce them as necessary and periodically conduct a review of them to ensure relevancy and currency
  • Direct questions about sponsorships, advertising, etc. to YALSA’s Executive Director
  • Develop a calendar for content, based on YALSA events and activities as well as those going on in the larger community related to collecting and curating library materials for and with teens
  • Write reports prior to the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting for submission to the YALSA Board of Directors

Seek Out & Manage Content & Contributors

  • With the Advisory Board, review and edit content submitted to the site to make sure the quality is acceptable, that it is aligned with YALSA principles, and that it includes YALSA branding prior to posting, when appropriate
  • With the Advisory Board, manage postings regularly to guarantee quality of content and appropriate tagging and category identification
  • With the Advisory Board, recruit a diverse group of contributors on a regular basis, which may include but is not limited to: YALSA members, authors and teens
  • Communicate regularly with bloggers to solicit content, share news, motivate bloggers, develop a blogging schedule, etc.
  • Interact with and provide any necessary training to contributors as needed at ALA’s Annual Conference, Midwinter Meeting, or YALSA’s Symposium and via virtual means
  • Effectively motivate, support and manage a large and fluctuating group of contributors and volunteers
  • Work with the Advisory Board to manage comments and spam daily to guarantee that the blog content is appropriate


  • Attend ALA and YALSA events to recruit contributors and inform member groups about the site
  • Answer questions and inquiries about the site in a timely fashion
  • Work with YALSAblog Member Manager to cross-promote the blogs and collaborate on projects that advance YALSA’s Organizational Plan
  • Utilize social media to increase awareness of the Hub and its content

Technical Maintenance

  • Work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist as appropriate to update and manage blog software
  • Monitor new technologies as they impact the site: add-ons and plug-ins to blog software, widgets or applications for hand-held devices, etc.

Selected Lists and Bloggers

  • Select bloggers and team leads for YALSA’s book lists: Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, Best Fiction, and Great Graphic Novels for the Hub from volunteer applications with support from YALSA staff
  • Review applications for Selected List Teams and build a balanced roster for each team in terms of:
    • A balanced geographic distribution of members on the team
    • Representation of all library types (school, public, academic)
    • Inclusion of both younger and older adolescent focus of committee members
    • Representation of a variety of experience levels of team members
    • Diversity of team members in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, etc. 
  • With Coordinators, facilitate the work of these blogging teams on The Hub by communicating with bloggers about editing and scheduling of reviews
  • Support the dissemination and promotion of final lists
  • Work with the Advisory and the Award and Selected List Oversight Committee to oversee training for Selected List Teams and leverage existing YALSA resources to do so, and develop new as needed
  • Provide a template and sample posts for the blogging teams, and other resources as called for.
  • Communicate regularly with Selected List Team Leads
  • Work with the Advisory Board to update and/or create guidelines for the Hub, including public comment guidelines, so that they accommodate selected list efforts
  • Sit in on virtual meetings of Selected List Teams, as needed
  • Offer guidance, support, and expertise for Team Leads throughout term as needed
  • Communicates with YALSA Board and staff regarding the possible need to expand into a co-manager format, and/or increase the size or change the make-up of the Advisory Board
  • Communicates with YALSA staff regarding any possible back-end improvements needed to the site to accommodate the selected list effort

The 2020 Hub Reading Challenge Begins Today!

What’s the Hub Reading Challenge?

The goal of the Hub Reading Challenge is to read 25 books over the next four months from a list of the most recent award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists titles. This challenge encourages participants to discover new titles and explore genres outside of your comfort zone. And for library staff, you’ll hopefully get to build your readers’ advisory skills and totally impress your coworkers and patrons.

Continue reading The 2020 Hub Reading Challenge Begins Today!