Contact: Stephanie Kuenn

YALSA Communications Specialist



For Immediate Release

November 11, 2008

YALSA celebrates at first Young Adult Literature Symposium

CHICAGO —More than 600 librarians, educators and authors came on Nov. 7-9 to the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., to celebrate teen reading at the first Young Adult Literature Symposium, held by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The 2008 theme was “How We Read Now” and encompassed the many ways in which reading has changed. The Young Adult Literature Symposium is funded in part by the William C. Morris Endowment.

“Our attendees were really able to immerse themselves and devote three days to teen reading. Our strong turnout shows that, for librarians, reading is still what matters most, no matter how it’s done,” said YALSA President Sarah Cornish Debraski. “I came back fired up about engaging teens in reading, and I'm sure others are feeling the same way.”

Attendees learned about manga and graphic novels during a symposium preconference, and enjoyed breakout sessions on Saturday and Sunday on topics ranging from nonfiction for young adults to censorship to the evolution of reading from a solitary pursuit to a dynamic activity in many forms. Many attendees came home with piles of free books, with more than 25 popular young adult authors on hand to sign and talk about their work at both the ticketed genre luncheon and at social events open to all attendees. In addition, YALSA raised funds to sponsor a Spectrum Scholar in the next round of the program and conducted a scavenger hunt for students attending the symposium.

On Sunday, keynote speakers Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta discussed their experiences as writers and the importance of young adult literature during the closing session. “It's the literature of change and personal evolution,” Moesta said. “It can change lives.”

Sponsors for the 2008 Young Adult Literature Symposium were: the American Civil Liberties Union; Capstone Publishers; HarperCollins; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Yen Press; Pop Goes the Library; and Scholastic.

YALSA announced that the next Young Adult Literature Symposium would take place Nov. 5-7, 2010 in Albuquerque, N.M.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or by e-mail,