YALSA names winners of Best Teen Read Week™ Celebration Contest

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn

YALSA Communications Specialist

(312) 280-5041



For Immediate Release

February 3, 2009

CHICAGO —Jennifer Velasquez, a young adult librarian at the San Antonio (Texas) Public Library, and Kim Dillon, teacher-librarian at Washougal (Wash.) High School won the 2009 Best Teen Read Week Celebration, announced the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

“The opportunities for creative youth participation fostered by TTW and TRW truly help the library reach out to teens in the community.,” Velasquez said. “It is possible for librarians serving teens to experience feelings of isolation in their organizations – and YALSA serves to unite us professionally. These activities give us the opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of the public library to the teens of the community and get them to give us a second look.”

Dillon was thrilled to receive the recognition. “I am amazed that our library program in a small Washington school district located in the Columbia River Gorge could be selected for acknowledgement by YALSA at the national level,” she said. “To my knowledge, Teen Read Week had never been formally acknowledged at WHS by the library prior to the Books with Bite campaign, so introducing it to the staff and getting buy-in to this new concept in literacy promotion was integral.”

Teen Read Week Corporate Sponsor Mirrorstone Books, a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., AdLit.org and YALSA, cosponsored the contest. Velasquez, along with teacher Loretta Medellin, won an author visit at her library from Kimberly Pauley, author of “Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confession of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire. (Maybe.)” Dillon and fellow teacher Barbara Samojedny’s library will host a visit with author Geno Salvatore, who will run a Dungeons & Dragons game for students. In addition to the two major prize winners, five librarian-teacher collaborations won honorable mention and will receive a prize pack from YALSA and AdLit.org. More information on the contest winners is available at

“Because AdLit.org was created to help teachers, librarians, parents and mentors find good books for young readers and inspire in them a love of reading, we're so pleased to partner with YALSA on this Teen Read Week contest that connects teachers with school librarians and the reading resources these librarians can offer to students,” said Susannah Harris, senior manager for AdLit.org .

Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative aimed at teens, their parents, librarians, educators, booksellers and other concerned adults. The purpose of the event is to increase the number of teens who are regular readers and library users. It began in 1998 and is celebrated the third week in October. The 2009 theme is “Read Beyond Reality @ your library,” which encourages teens to read just for the fun of it. Teen Read Week 2009 will take place Oct. 18–24.

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
www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,