Moniz receives YALSA’s 2019 Innovation Award

For Immediate Release
Thu, 01/10/2019


Anna Lam

Communications Specialist

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has selected Ryan Moniz, Learning and Growth Librarian at the Markham Public Library in Ontario, Canada, for his Essential Skills program as the recipient of its 2019 Innovation Award.

Moniz’s Essential Skills program is a free workshop series designed to support teens of Markham on the Autism Spectrum and those living with intellectual or cognitive impairments. The purpose of the program is to teach digital literacy skills that can help to improve the quality of life for the learners. Through the use of group activities, the program also provides participants with an opportunity to build healthy relationships with peers while enhancing interpersonal skills and reducing social isolation for an at-risk population.

In her letter of support, Karen Penton, Community Support Coordinator at Community Living York South stated, “When Ryan Moniz first approached me and expressed an interest in developing a partnership, I was excited because I’d always felt that the library was the perfect space for our group. As an organization, we’d always wanted to offer computer related programs, but we lacked the expertise, technology, and physical space to do so. Ryan worked closely with our staff to design a curriculum that would benefit our autistic participants and expressed such enthusiasm throughout the entire process.”

As the Innovation Award recipient, Moniz will receive a $500 award, funded by Friends of YALSA, for demonstrating a commitment to creating innovative library services for and with teens in their community. Learn more.

Members of the 2018 Innovation Award Jury are: Chair Dawn McMillan, Teen Librarian, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County (Ohio); Kayla Marie Figard, Teen Librarian, San Mateo County Libraries (California); Janet A. Ingraham Dwyer, Youth Services Consultant, State Library of Ohio (Ohio); Kelsey Dawn McLane, Teen Librarian, Bremen Public Library (Colorado); and Whitney Springer, Teen Services Librarian, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs (Colorado)

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, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: