YALSA’s 2017 Great Books Giveaway provides more than $40,000 in materials to libraries in Texas, Illinois and Oklahoma

For Immediate Release
Tue, 02/14/2017


Nichole O'Connor

Program Officer

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)


CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), named Tyler (Texas) Public Library; East Peoria (Illinois) Community High School; and Shawnee (Oklahoma) High School as the recipients of its annual Great Books Giveaway.

Each library will receive a share of more than $40,000 in books, audiobooks and other materials donated to YALSA from publishers and producers in 2016.

The Tyler Public Library serves a population of over 100,000 with a small young adult collection for students in grades 6 through 12 making it almost impossible to engage in outreach with the Tyler Independent School District (ISD)'s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) and Tyler ISD’s Early College. The DAEP,  a program for students who suffer from behavioral issues and are frequently reading below their grade level and the Tyler ISD’s Early College, a dual credit program that allows students to earn an Associate's degree along with their high school diploma, are in great need of materials for pleasure reading, yet neither location has a school library.

“We are so excited to have been named a recipient of YALSA’s 2017 Great Books Giveaway Award; this award will enlarge our young adult collection and allow us to fill the gaps for these students with materials to lend to each campus for an extended time while boosting our own small collection,” said Linda Gray. “An upturn in circulation will provide a strong case to increase our budget for young adults, in addition to helping these school programs build their own library.”

East Peoria High School serves over 1,000 secondary students and is a stand-alone district. The student body is comprised of a very socio-economically diverse group of students with a majority falling under the poverty level. East Peoria Community High School's mission is to provide an education that nurtures students and challenges them to be lifelong learners who are responsible, contributing citizens.

“East Peoria Community High School is incredibly excited to accept YALSA's 2017 Great Books Giveaway Award. Receiving this award will facilitate the continuation of our Million Pages of Books project, which has been exceptionally successful in our school,” said Library Media Specialist Brooke Nelson. “The impact of these materials will be to increase circulation, use of the library, information literacy, and student enjoyment of reading. The goal of this program is to support the habit of reading so as to send thoughtful and informed students into higher education or the workforce with the intrinsic desire to read and continue seeking knowledge. This grant will make much more of that possible and our school is insanely grateful.”

Shawnee High School serves a population of approximately 1,300 students. Despite a city-wide poverty rate of close to 25%, the citizens of Shawnee recently passed a bond issue to build Shawnee High School a new, larger library.

“We are beyond excited to accept this award from YALSA. Our students will be able to not only enjoy a new library soon, but they will also be able to enjoy new books that reflect our students’ diversity. I cannot wait to share this new collection with our students,” said Library Media Specialist Cherity Pennington.

The application form and information for next year’s Great Books Giveaway is available in the Grants and Awards for Members section of the YALSA website. Applications must be received in the YALSA office by Dec. 1, 2017.

The YALSA Great Books Giveaway Jury members are: Chair Kate Denier, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH; Rachel Adams, King County Library System, King County, WA; Gregory Lum, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR; Kelsey McLane, Arapahoe Library District, Arapahoe County, CO; Vera Wexler, Oak Park, MI.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.