ALA Midwinter 2016 BFYA Teen Feedback Session

The highlight of my trip to ALA Midwinter was attending the Best Fiction for Young Adults teen feedback session. A diverse group of teens from the Boston area had the opportunity to share their thoughts about titles nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Their uncensored, frank and articulate opinions—both positive and negative—were a delight to hear. Here are the highlights!

You can find the final list of top ten Best Fiction for Young Adults here and the full list here.

Favorite Books

Many teens shared gushing, glowing reviews of these books, which I’d say were informally the most popular picks of the teens present.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“Very realistic, reflects how teens actually think/talk.”

Another reading thought it was “perfectly executed” and loved the mystery of Blue’s identity and the “adorable romance.”

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


The book left one reader “feeling breathless.” She liked the unexpected ending and that the main character had everyday problems in addition to her peculiar medical condition.

“sweet and romantic.”

Another reader thought it had an engaging plot and deep complex character relationships. She loved diagrams and drawings.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“An emotional roller coaster.”

“Sarah J. Maas is a genius. Loved. So many plot twists. Action packed.”

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“Euphoric, divine reading experience. Tragic and beautiful. Think long and hard, inspired to read and wander.”

“Takes the gold medal for sappy romance.”

Other Positive Feedback

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

One teen liked this book because it “focused on what’s important, not fluff.”

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

A young man enjoyed this book. He related to the main character’s struggle after losing a mother figure himself, and as a resident of inner-city Boston, he thought the urban setting was familiar and thought that Reynold’s captured the voice of teens with accurate dialogue.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding

One teen liked this because unlike some of the other favorites, it wasn’t too deep or heart-wrenching. It was “delightful and full of laughs” and didn’t take itself too seriously. Continue reading ALA Midwinter 2016 BFYA Teen Feedback Session

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: New Adults

Sorry this wrap-up is so late, dear Hubbers – conferences always knock me out for at least a week after. Anyways, I was happy to attend the “New Adulthood: Literature & Services for NA Patrons” presented by Meg Hunt Wilson, Teen Librarian & Reference Librarian in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (my home state!) and our own Hub member manager, Molly Wetta, Collection Development Librarian at the Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library. They focused on  four aspects of the NA market – what is new adult, appeal and marketing, booktalks, and library services. I was thoroughly fascinated by their presentation, and without further ado – here’s the highlights of their talk at the 2015 YALSA YA Services Symposium.



So – what is New Adult?

New adult titles are geared towards teens who are just past high school life – 18-25 years of age is the common age range. NA books began as a self-publishing phenomenon, but eventually move on to the “regular” publishing world. The books are mostly set on college campuses, are relationship centric, fast-paced, and emotionally intense. And, oooh! Are they ever steamy! As one of my teens told me when I told her about this panel: “aren’t those the books with a lot of sex in them?” Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: New Adults

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

On the Schedule at a Glance in the Symposium’s program, Saturday’s list of events included a “Book Blitz” from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The only information about this event were a few pages in the program dedicated to Book Blitz Author Bios and a small box that stated: Each attendee will receive 6 tickets to exchange with these authors for free signed books!


Symposium veterans knew what to expect from the Blitz, but newcomers could be heard Friday evening and Saturday afternoon pondering, “What is this Book Blitz all about?”

This tweet from attendee Lauren Regenhardt sums up the experience pretty well:

Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

A Series of Fortunate Events: Library Collaborations that Help LGBTQ Young Adults Transition to College Life

Co-presented by university librarian Amanda Melilli, head of the Curriculum Materials Library at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Las Vegas (Clark County) high school English teacher and department chair for English in Clark County Ashley Nebe, this session focused on their collaborative relationship, designed to support and encourage LGBTQIA teens both in their high school years and during the transition to college. We also heard from authors Ann Bausum, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, and Mariko Tamaki on their thoughts for supporting LGBTQIA youth during the transition from high school to university.



Nebe spoke (inspirationally!) about the incredible growth of the GSA chapter at her high school, and the work that they have done to partner with other LGBTQIA-serving organizations and allies in the community, including Melilli’s library. The high school group now runs a student Talent Showcase in an open-air setting at the high school that has become a large event with strong participation numbers from students (with the larger community invited). They participate in the community-wide Pride Parade each year, which gives them a chance to make personal connections with college-age LGBTQIA students and faculty before arriving on the university campus themselves. Some key take-aways: Continue reading A Series of Fortunate Events: Library Collaborations that Help LGBTQ Young Adults Transition to College Life

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Diverse Teen Fiction


Diverse Teen Fiction: Getting Beyond the Labels

Moderator: Dhonielle Clayton (middle school librarian, VP of Librarian Services of We Need Diverse Books, author of Tiny Pretty Things)

Panelists: Swati Avasthi (author of Chasing Shadows, 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults), I.W. Gregorio (author of None of the Above), Fonda Lee (author of Zeroboxer), Stacey Lee (author of Under a Painted Sky), Anna Marie McLemore (author of The Weight of Feathers), Renee Watson (author of This Side of Home)
  • All children need access to diverse books.
  • We need to change the landscape.
  • Mirror books: books that reflect your experience.
  • Window books: shows you an other experience.

What was your first mirror book?

Avasthi: It was actually Little House on the Prairie, while she was not white, personality-wise she felt akin to Laura. She felt conflicted when reading it though because at the time there was no difference when it came to identifying Native Americans and Indians. Did that mean she was a savage? In her twenties she found Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and she feels that this was really her first mirror book and it taught her that there doesn’t need to be just one experience.

Gregorio: For her it was In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord. The character was the same as her, but the experiences was not hers. The main character was a first generation immigrant, and she was a second generation immigrant who grew up in upstate New York.  When she read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan in college, it was then that she found a book much closer to her experience as second generation immigrant. This shows how much diversity is needed in diverse fiction. There are multiple stories and different experiences.

Fonda Lee: She read lots of sci-fi and fantasy, which was greatly lacking diversity. The Sign of the Chrysanthemum by Katherine Paterson was the first Asian character she read. Years later she drew inspiration from reading Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman, since it was a great example of fantasy drawing from other cultures. Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Diverse Teen Fiction

2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Saturday afternoon I attended the session Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Connecting School and Public Libraries to Enhance Teen Services presented by school and public library representatives from Nashville who have been involved in amazing collaboration since 2009. It was in that year, thanks to then Mayor Karl Dean, that Limitless Libraries was started.

Limitless Libraries

Limitless Libraries (LL) is a program that seeks to bring together school and public libraries in order to provide students with access to the widest range of resources possible. The program not only allows for students at public schools to easily share materials, but also provides access to a much larger materials budget that has allowed school librarians to vastly improve their collections. Continue reading 2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium Preconference: Panels & Pages

YALSA’s 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium included a pre-conference session on using graphic novels to inspire programming, recommended titles, a discussion with comics creators Terry Blas, Faith Erin Hicks, Mariko Tamaki, Gene Luen Yang, Leila del Duca, Joe Keatinge, and a discussion with teachers who use graphic novels in classroom instruction.


Robin Brennar, Teen Librarian and runs No Flying No Tights website, was our moderator.

First, librarians Cara and Emily talked about graphic novel readers advisory and using graphic novels in teen programming:

Who is your Batman?

Comic books always change. Your Batman may be different from your teens’ Batman. Lego Batman may be the Batman that resonates most with your teens! Keep this in mind when you do readers advisory and programming, your ideas and tastes may not match theirs. Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium Preconference: Panels & Pages

2015 YALSA Symposium Session Resources At a Glance

ya_symposium_2015We’ll continue coverage of the YALSA Young Adult Services  Symposium all this week with more detailed session recaps of sessions that focused on collection development and content curation topics relevant to the Hub’s mission, but I also wanted to share links to session slides and other materials all in one place. Find the full program details here.

For a recap in tweets, check out this Storify that highlights some of the takeaways and nuggets of wisdom attendees shared throughout the weekend.
Continue reading 2015 YALSA Symposium Session Resources At a Glance

Take Five: What Was Your Favorite Moment or Takeaway of the 2015 YALSA Symposium?

Hello, Hub readers! I got to spend the weekend learning, networking, and brainstorming with lots of teen librarians and library workers, authors, and other professionals serving youth at the 2015 YALSA Symposium. Fellow Hub bloggers and I will be sharing recaps of sessions the rest of this week, but we wanted to start off with a few of our favorite moments and nuggets of wisdom, advice, or ideas we discovered over coffee breaks and during presentations.

Take Five The Hub

What was your favorite moment or takeaway of the 2015 YALSA Symposium?

I also always leave this conference in particular feeling a renewed sense of gratitude to be able to work with an awesome groups of peers and colleagues and serve teens full time.

My overarching takeaway was the importance of framing our work and values; to stakeholders, decision-makers, patrons, concerned parents, colleagues, etc. Whether you’re framing goals and expectations for your own supervisor, to create a space to experiment (and potentially fail) with new programs and approaches, or explaining the values and research that drive collection purchases to concerned or disgruntled adults intent on censoring access or preserving a (limiting) status quo, good framing can help generate buy-in and understanding from all quarters. — Carly Pansulla Continue reading Take Five: What Was Your Favorite Moment or Takeaway of the 2015 YALSA Symposium?

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium – Supporting Youth Learning Through Building Sustainable Partnerships

A number of The Hub bloggers attended YALSA’s awesome YA Services Symposium in Portland over the weekend. There were so many great sessions and authors there. In case you couldn’t attend the Symposium or missed this pre-conference session, here are some of the highlights compiled by Hub bloggers Carly Pansulla and Sharon Rawlins from Friday morning’s program called “Supporting Youth Learning Through Building Sustainable Partnerships.” All of the presenters were generous and detailed in sharing their experiences of partnering with outside organizations to better serve the young adults in their communities.



For those of us who enjoy a good checklist, Amy Twito, Informal Learning Program Manager from Seattle Public Library, offered us a list comparing establishing good community partners to finding romantic partners. She advised us all that the same guidelines can lead to success in both arenas:

*Know what you want out of a partner – What are the library’s goals for this relationship? What are the partner organization’s goals? Is the library looking for specific resources or expertise? Is the partner organization? Are these goals and expectations compatible?

*Learn from past mistakes 

*partnerships can be uncomfortable, messy and awkward…(ditch the comfort zone)

*communication, communication, communication ALL THE TIME (don’t assume anything)

*1st rule of partnering: be a good partner

*it’s all about the balance (don’t need to continue with partner forever if things go off the rails)

*everything is harder & takes longer than you think it will (trust your intuition)

Especially if it’s an important project & if it’s new

*don’t be a pushover – maintain your own identity

*have fun, learn & grow! (relax  & be ready for everything)

Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium – Supporting Youth Learning Through Building Sustainable Partnerships