YALSA Election: An Interview with Nonfiction Award Committee Candidate Amanda L.S. Murphy

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 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Committee, which honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a November 1 – October 31 publishing 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 Amanda L.S. Murphy.

Name and current position: Amanda L. S. Murphy, Youth Services Assistant Manager at Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

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

I’ve enjoyed participating in YALSA & ALSC committees including the Morris committee and Books for Teens jury. My Morris committee experience particularly inspired me to run for another selection committee.

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

A true love of books. Extensive knowledge of previous award winners from participating in a self-imposed challenge to attempt reading all titles on YALSA and ALSC’s book awards. A spreadsheet is involved!

What experience do you have with materials selection and evaluation?

I’ve done materials selection since ’05 and maintain the YA collections at four branch libraries. I find that knowing my communities is the best indicator of what materials will be successful.

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

I read a variety of materials- some for my job, some for pure enjoyment, with frequent overlap! Last year I read over 775 books for a range of ages. I keep track of what I’ve read through my blog.

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

It’s rare that I’m not reading several books at once. I think the reading load wouldn’t change from what I normally read in a year; the biggest difference would be the focus exclusively on teen nonfiction.

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

2013 was stellar for the Nonfiction award! Two of my top books were acknowledged: Titanic and We’ve Got a Job. I also enjoyed The Notorious Benedict Arnold (2012 winner) and Claudette Colvin (2010 finalist).

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

A difficult question to answer. Having previously been on a selection committee, I know there are many factors to be considered. We have to trust the process and the expertise of the committees.

What else do voters need to know about you?

I love talking about books- through my blog, book club, and more importantly, through interaction with library teens. As organizer for a local youth librarian book group, I have a great resource to talk about nonfiction titles.


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

Published by

Allison Tran

Past Member Manager for YALSA's The Hub. Passionate about information literacy, social media, and connecting readers with books they'll love.