The Association for Library Service to Children has awarded the 2018 Penguin Random House Young Readers Group Award to Amanda Chuong, Princeton Public Library (New Jersey); Patricia Moran, Multnomah County Library (Oregon); Julie Phoenix, St. Louis County Library (Missouri); and Sarah Walker, Ferguson Library, Stamford (Connecticut).
The $600 stipend, made possible by an annual gift from Penguin Young Readers Group and Random House Children's Books, enables up to four children’s librarians to attend their first American Library Association’s Annual Conference. Applicants must demonstrate an involvement in ALSC as well as other professional and educational associations. New programming or innovations initiated by the applicants is highly valued. Fewer than 10 years of experience of working directly with children in elementary, middle schools or public libraries is required.
Through a mix of traditional and innovative programming tailored to the needs of her community, Chuong offers technology education initiatives for youth of all ages. In the past year, she planned coding programs and camps for elementary school students, helped bring New Jersey Makers Day to her library, supervised teens in organizing a toddler STEAM event for Summer Reading, and started an after-school coding club for 4th through 8th graders and a coding club for middle school girls. She is currently serving on APALA’s Young Adult Literature Award Committee.
Bringing bilingual and bicultural experience, international engagement with the profession, and a dedication to underserved communities, Moran’s endeavors are marked by extensive innovation and a focus on outreach. She mentors those newer to the profession, offers early literacy workshops with parents, presents storytimes in both English and Spanish, and works with community leaders and educators to extend library services beyond the library. Moran is an active participant in CILELIJ (Iberoamerican Congress of Language and Children's Literature), FILIJ (International Bookfair for Children and Youth), and REFORMA, and she frequently presents to internal and external groups on diverse Spanish language materials for children and youth.
Whether with teens from low-income families or any of the many students in the local LGBTQ+ community, Phoenix can be found going above and beyond to make young people feel welcome at the library. In addition to creating inclusive displays and thoughtful programming and offering traditional programming like storytimes and a Teen Volunteer Corps, she helped advocate for inclusion and diversity training for all staff across a 20-branch system—all while completing her graduate coursework. Julie will be curating a LGBTQ+ children's and YA section at the Pride CenterSt. Louis library.
With leadership and creative programming, Walker brings energy and enthusiasm to her efforts to engage families, promote early literacy, and prevent “summer slide.” Her work to secure a regional grant funded a series of sustainability programs, and more recently, she created “Literacy Night” programming and graphic novel-making workshops. She currently serves as library representative to her local Stamford Cradle to Career initiative, supporting early grade reading skills in the community. She was also recently appointed chair of the Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award Committee, which works to “highlight and promote distinguished titles published in the field of storytelling.”
“The committee was thrilled to learn about the wide range of diverse, innovative, and creative programming occurring in libraries across the country,” said Hanna Lee, grant administration chair. “We are not only confident that the awardees will benefit from the experience of attending an ALA conference, but equally confident that ALSC will benefit from investing in these future library leaders.”
"Penguin Random House children's divisions' partnership with ALSC is a long tradition, one that we value very much. We are always looking for new ways to support youth librarianship and innovation in the field," says Carmela Iaria, executive director of school and library marketing, Penguin Young Readers. "We know that attending the ALA Annual Conference is not always possible due to budgets, so it is our pleasure to make it possible for four hardworking, dedicated librarians who want to learn, network, and celebrate their profession. We look forward to meeting and hosting all of the winners at the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet in Chicago," adds Adrienne Waintraub, executive director of school and library marketing, Random House Children's Books.
ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s website at www.ala.org/alsc.