CHICAGO -The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), named Seth Cassel the winner of the 2008 YALSA/Sagebrush Award for a Young Adult Reading or Literature Program.
The YALSA/Sagebrush Award provides $1,000 to support the recipient's attendance at the ALA Annual Conference. Each year the corporation offers this award to allow the winner to promote reading or literature to teens in a significant, replicable program. Cassell will present at the 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif., alongside the winners from the fifth round of Excellence In Library Services to Young Adults.
Cassel, a teen webmaster from McDonogh High School in Owings Mills, Md., won for his Web site, Flamingnet (www.flamingnet.com), an innovative site in which teenagers from all over the United States review young adult books.
Cassel noted in his winning application, “These young adults have appreciated the opportunity to review new and advance YA books and to be able to share their opinions with others. Plus, student reviewers improve their ability to express themselves through writing.”
In 2002, Cassel, then in fifth grade, created Flamingnet with his father. A voracious reader, Cassel combined his love for reading with his father's interest in computer programming. Gradually he wrote and posted reviews on the books that he read. National publishers and authors of young adult literature began requesting that Cassel review their books. As he began receiving more and more books, he opened his reviews to young adults across the nation. These reviewers now form an online community of readers ranging from fifth grade to college age.
In addition, the site offers opportunities for its visitors to buy reviewed books; users who purchase books through Flamingnet give the site points to be used toward the purchase of young adult materials for needy libraries and other facilities. Flamingnet also supports young adult reading programs through monetary contributions generated through the Web site. In addition, Flamingnet donated hundreds of books to victims of Hurricane Katrina, as well as public schools and charitable organizations.
“The entries this year represent innovative programs and services,” said Lisa Youngblood, chair of the YALSA/Sagebrush Award Jury. “I am pleased to hear such incredible things are being done for and by teens.”
The 2008 YALSA/Sagebrush Award Jury members are Lisa Youngblood, chair, Library Director for the Harker Heights (Texas) Public Library; Jacquelyn A. Caverly, Eden Prairie (Minn.) Resource Library; Kate Sellers, Seattle (Wash.) Public Library; Lisa Marie Williams, Oshawa (Ont.) Public Library; Angela J. Antzak, Plattekill Public Library, Modena, N.Y.
For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.