Get Out The Vote for the ALA Elections!

Are you a member of ALA?  Have you voted yet in our annual election?  It really couldn’t be simpler, they’ve already emailed us links to our ballots twice.  You can also just visit https://www.alavote.org/2011/ where you’ll find more info on how to vote.

The polls close this Friday and getting out the vote is just as hard for ALA as it is in the USA in general so I am guessing that some of you haven’t yet voted.  Luckily, that means this post can still be topical, because this is the post where I tell you who you should vote for!

ALA Council

  • Vote for Wendy Steadman Stephens.  I’ve worked with Wendy through YALSA before and she is one of the most committed and intelligent librarians I have ever met.  She’s interested in teen literature, her students, and all aspects of libraries and technology.  She is currently a school librarian in Alabama working on her PhD in Information.  This is just one example of her  amazing ability to think across disciplines and look at the BIG picture, something I think is vital to being a successful, effective member of Council.
  • Vote for Ed Garcia, JP Porcaro, and Jennifer Wann Walker.  Ed, JP, and Jenn were all ALA Emerging Leaders and Library Journal Movers and Shakers.  That’s the party line and it’s important to know! But I think you should vote for them because I know Jenn personally and I have seen, first-hand, the unbelievable work she has done for Mississippi libraries and librarians.   The Librarianship 101 and 201 institutes for paraprofessionals that she has spearheaded, programmed, and ran at the Mississippi Library Commission are innovative, empowering programs that give paraprofessionals the tools to be more effective librarians.  EVERY state, especially those with many rural libraries, should have a similar program in place.  When I speak with Librarianship 101 and 201 graduates, they practically glow when talking about everything they learned in the program and how much it’s helped them.  I don’t know as much about Ed and JP, though I have read pieces about and by them, but I know that if Jenn’s running with them, they must have the same kind of dedication and commitment to innovation that Jenn has.  I DO know that Jenn is inspiration, especially to anyone working in a state that struggles to make sure all its librarians are well-trained and confident in their professional abilities.  If she can do for the ALA Council what she does for Mississippi librarians and libraries, we’ll ALL be better off.

Are you ALSO a member of YALSA?  For YALSA offices, one of the big factors for me is a commitment to YALSA.  I honestly think you should “work your way up” as the saying goes.  So, for me, I look for people I know are committed to YALSA and have done a variety of work with/for them.

Nonfiction Award Committee

  • Vote for Adela Peskorz and Angela Frederick.  I worked with Adela on the Morris and she’s just brilliant – one of the most incisive and critical readers I’ve ever worked with.  Sometimes I would read one of her emails and just sit back and say “Wow.”  I haven’t met Angela in person, but I follow her on Twitter and we’ve had some great conversations, I think she has a really sharp perspective on the field of YA lit and culture in general, so I think she’d be a good fit for this committee.
  • ALSO  … I’d really like it if you’d vote for ME! Yes, I’m running for the Non-Fiction committee this year and I’d love your vote.  You can read my “official” bio at the voting site (another cool thing ALA does that gives you no reason not to vote and be informed – you can read up on all the candidates right there on the site!) but I will say here that I would love to be on the Non-Fiction committee.  Having just completed a term on the Morris, I feel like I’m prepared to be a rigorous, attentive committee member and I’m currently in love with and utterly excited by what’s being published in NF for young adults, so having a year to discuss and analyze it would be sheer heaven for me.

Printz Committee

  • Vote for Sarah Bean Thompson! Sarah is one of the most dedicated and talented  bloggers I know/read.  She has a great grasp of the nuances and breadth of YAlit and she can stick to a schedule like no one I know!  In other words: she’s an ideal Printz candidate!  She generously agreed to answer some of my questions about YA lit, why she wanted to be on the Printz, and her involvement with YALSA.
1. The Printz Award has only been around since 2000.  What pre-2000 book would you award the Printz and why? 

This is the hardest question! One, because I was a teen during the pre-2000 years and honestly as a teen, I didn’t read much YA because all my library had was Sweet Valley High, Fear Street, and Nancy Drew Files, none of which would win the Printz!  So I’ll answer this one from my teen self perspective. My teen self would answer The Ruby in the Smoke by Phillip Pullman because it was one of the few YA books I read and was completely captured by. I loved Sally Lockhart and the mystery was so fantastic and I was sucked in from the start. I don’t know that my adult librarian self really agrees, but my teen self is telling me that’s my pick!:)

2. Can you share a story with us about an experience you’ve had using/sharing a Printz winner or Printz honor book with your teens? (though booktalking, programming, or in some other way)
There are so many great books that are picked by the Printz commitee and I think often we’re afraid to booktalk them because many times we roll our eyes and wonder if teens really will enjoy the books.  I love the moments when a teen has read a Printz book and comes in to tell me about it-most of the time they don’t even realize it’s a Printz book, it just looked good. I’ve had teens tell me about how they laughed over Going Bovine and Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging (which many people forget is a Printz Honor book!)  I’ve booktalked A Northern Light to many teens who have come back and said how much they loved it.
I guess the biggest thing that I’ve dealt with is the recent banning of Speak in a local community close to my library.  Speak won a Printz Honor and it was so great to hear from patrons, teens, teachers, bloggers and librarians who spoke out for this book when the banning happened.  To me that reflected the importance of the book and shows exactly why it was chosen to be a Printz book.
3. What would serving on the Printz Committee mean to you as a librarian?
It would be a librarian dream come true! To be part of the committee who will decide what books best reflect and represent young adult for that year? How cool is that?  I really think it’s important to pick a book that librarians can pick up and say “this is why I read YA, this is why I do what I do and why I serve teens.” Sure, not everyone will agree with all the picks, but at least you can be proud of the books because they will spark discussion.
4. Can you tell us a little about your history with YALSA and/or any other work you’ve done on selection committees?
I’ve been involved with YALSA for four years now. I pretty much jumped right in and got involved right away. I’m currently serve on the Fabulous Films for Young Adults Committee, I’ve blogged on the YALSA blog, and I attend YALSA events at ALA. As for other committees, I’m also  serving on the Gateway Readers Award committee which is the state book award list for high school readers for Missouri.
There you have it, some of my recommendations for who you should vote for.  But OF COURSE the most important part is: if you’re an ALA member – vote! We can TOTALLY do better than 25% turnout – and if you think it’s important enough to you to actually pay to be a member of this organization (I respect not everyone does/can) you should also think its important enough for you to do a little bit of reading/research and vote for the future of the organization.
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