For immediate release | July 25, 2016

YA authors and editors to keynote opening session for YALSA’s 2016 Young Adult Services Symposium

CHICAGO — Young adult authors Leigh Bardugo, Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Cordova, and Jonathan Friesen will join editors T.S. Ferguson and Julie Matysik on a panel moderated by Amalie Howard at the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) 2016 YA Services Symposium general opening session on Friday, November 4, 2016.

The panel, titled, Inside the Diversity Prism: Understanding Hierarchy and Erasure, will discuss the innate hierarchy that currently exists in diverse fiction, as well as the subsequent erasure that may occur; making some marginalized groups feel even more marginalized.

“All too often people hear the word diversity and immediately think color or race,” said panel moderator Amalie Howard. “Diversity is dependent on many factors – race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and seeing such representation reflected in teen fiction and not coming from a place of shame or one ridden in stereotypes is a huge measure of empowerment.”

“Howard’s exposure to more than two dozen countries, and over 150 cities has instilled in her a greater sense of diversity,” said YALSA’s YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Taskforce Chair, Heather Sparks. “Her experiences will surely lend to the panel discussion and she will surely guide the discussion in a respectful and thought-provoking way. This general opening session on diversity will help set the tone for library professionals to further explore ways to empower teens throughout the Symposium.”

The Young Adult Services Symposium will be held November 4-6, at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh with a theme of “Empowering Teens to Increase your Library’s Impact.” The symposium is funded in part by the William C. Morris Endowment.

Early Bird registration is available online through September 15 at Early Bird registration costs $199 for YALSA members and members of the Pennsylvania Library Association and Pennsylvania school Library association members, $249 for ALA members, $310 for nonmembers, and $59 for students enrolled in an ALA-accredited library and information science program.

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:


Nichole O'Connor

Program Officer

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)