For immediate release | May 25, 2011

Winners in ALA President Roberta Stevens’ Why I Need My Library teen video contest announced

CHICAGO–Of the 157 videos entered into the Why I Need My Library teen video contest, it was two original music videos that rose to the top, netting $3,000 in prize money from ALA for their creators’ libraries.

Danielle Driggers’ video, with original lyrics about the importance of libraries in her life, won grand prize in the category for 13 to 15 year-olds. Driggers chose the library at her elementary school, Timber Creek Elementary School in Flower Mound, Texas, as the beneficiary of the $3,000 prize money. She and her sister Aleah, who co-produced the video, will receive $50 Amazon gift certificates.

A team of southern Connecticut teens took grand prize in the 16 to 18 age category. Their highly styled music video with original music and lyrics shows teens “chillin’ in the high school library.” The $3,000 prize money will go to the library at New Canaan (Conn.) High School. The team was made up of students Katayoun Amir-Aslami, Ashley Feldman, Isabelle Herde, Nick Howard, Nicola Scandiffio, Stewart Taylor, Courtney Wills and Nick Zanca.

“The teens who put together the winning videos demonstrated unique creativity in how they conveyed why they need their library,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens, who launched the contest as a way to engage teens in library advocacy. “I'm happy funds will go to support their libraries because of their efforts, and I hope that they maintain a close relationship with libraries into the future.”

The Why I Need My Library contest asked teens ages 13 to 18 to create original videos on why they think libraries are needed now more than ever. Between January and April, more than 600 teens worked on videos alone or in groups and submitted them to the contest through YouTube. Teens used a variety of techniques in their videos, including live action, stop motion and machinima.

Runners up were also named. Two first runners up were selected in each age group and will receive $2,000 for their libraries. The runners up are:

13-15 age category

Rebecca Gross, Nicholas Ryan, Benjamin Thorstraten

Sudbrook Library

Baltimore, Md.

Watch the video

Samantha Hoelzer, Kendall Lierz, Lewis Lindsey, Lindsey Scott, Ryan Scott

Del Webb Library at Indian Land

Indian Land, S.C.

Watch the video

16-18 age category

Yesenia Aguirre, Fernanda Canales, Julie Gurman, Yoan Morales, Lisandro Vibeo, George Zul

Harris County Public Library - Aldine Branch

Houston, Texas

Watch the video

Paul Anderson, Naoko Braxton, Colleen Cathner, Sandra Hoyer, Peppy O'Neill,Makeda Thomas

Potomac Community Library

Woodbridge, Va.

Watch the video

Three second runners up were selected in each age group and will receive $1,000 for their libraries. The winners are:

13-15 age category

David Gomez, Sirenna Harris, Isabel Madera, Ruben Ochoa, Jocelyn Torres and Amor Velazquez

San Diego Public Library – Logan Heights Branch

San Diego, Calif.

Watch the video

Justin Doll, Cassandra Hurley, Anna Johns, Harrison Sotoloff, Anna Teitt, Lindsay Zatlmeisl

Finksburg Library

Finksburg, Md.

Watch the video

Johnna Astis, Shaquille Charlery, Porsche Hoppin, Kareem Jessemy, Megan Kilgallen, Phillip Stewart

Brooklyn Public Library - Central Youth Wing

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Watch the video

16-18 age category

Alvin Ho, Brian Li, Alistair Twombly

Santa Clara City Library

Santa Clara, Calif.

Watch the video

Matthew Barnes, Coen Clark, Michaiah Clark, Donald Hill, Jr., Aaron Tetter, Patrick Toliver

Kankakee Public Library

Kankakee, Ill.

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Andrew Pruim, Anika Pruim

Grand Rapids Public Library

Grand Rapids, Mich.

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Special mention

Kirana Cunanan and Isoleil Montalvo

Olympian High School Library

Chula Vista, Calif.

Watch the video

Links to the winning videos and the runners up are available through The grand-prize winning videos will be shown at the Opening General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans on June 24 in the auditorium of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Paula Brehm-Heeger of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County and Diane Chen of John F. Kennedy Middle School, Nashville, Tenn., co-chaired the Why I Need My Library taskforce, appointed by Stevens. The taskforce members are Lana Adlawan, Sacramento Public Library; Gretchen Caserotti, Darien (Conn.) Library; Qi Chen, Argosy University Chicago; Michelle E. Chronister, Silver Spring, Md.; Kelly N. Czarnecki, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, ImaginOn: the Joe & Joan Martin Center, Charlotte, N.C.; Roberto Carlos Delgadillo, University of California – Davis; Jason L. Hyatt, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, N.C.; Liana Juliano, Nossaman LLP, El Monte, Calif.; Debra Kay Logan, Mount Gilead (Ohio) High School; Holly Cole Okuhara, Weber County Library System, Ogden, Utah; Ali Schilpp, Sudbrook Magnet Library, Baltimore, Md.; Monique Sendze, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, Colo.

Why I Need My Library is one of three presidential initiatives launched by Stevens. Our Authors, Our Advocates calls on authors to highlight the key roles libraries and library staff play in the economic, social and educational fabric of our nation. More information is available at Frontline Fundraising is a web resource designed to simplify the fundraising process for libraries. Find more information at


Megan McFarlane