YALSA names winners of 2010 Great Books Giveaway

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn

Communications Specialist




For Immediate Release

January 26, 2010

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), named Benjamin Banneker High School in Atlanta, Ga., the winner of its annual Great Books Giveaway. Its library will receive more than $20,000 in books, audiobooks and other materials from items publishers and producers donated to YALSA in 2009. Due to the volume of donations, YALSA was able to name two runners-up. Conley-Caraballo High School in the New Haven Unified School District in Hayward, Calif.. took second place, and the Farmington (N.M.) High School Library. came in third. The estimated value of the entire collection is more than $35,000.

Banneker serves a community where more than 80 percent of the students live at or below the poverty line. The age of its nonfiction collection is, on average, 21 years old. Banneker particularly lacks science books for its students to use in the school’s annual science fair — only two of its science books were published in the 21st century.

“There are not words to describe how excited I was and still am! I ran around the library giving high fives to all the students and staff,” said Julia Lundstrem, Banneker’s media specialist. “I plan to host an open house VIP day for the staff with refreshments to showcase all of the materials and make sure that every teacher and support staff knows about our treasure trove of new materials.”

At Conley-Caraballo, the surrounding community has seen an increase in violence and crime. The public library is not easily accessible to CCHS students, of which roughly 75 percent qualify for reduced or free school lunch. Due to budget cuts, the library has been without a budget for three consecutive years; given that the library is only five years old, this means the library has a limited collection.

“My school, colleagues and I have reacted with happiness and gratitude,” said Martha Utley, library assistant III at CCHS. “Many of our students come from homes in which books are not available to them and the idea of higher education is often seen as unattainable. This grant will have an impact on our small starter library, our historically underserved teen student population, and have far-reaching influence and impact in the broader community.”

Farmington’s school district depends on state funding and experienced a significant shortfall due to the economic downturn, meaning Farmington was unable to buy books. Forty-eight percent of its students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The average of its fiction collection is nearly 20 years old and its nonfiction collection is approximately 16 years old.

“Everyone — including students — is thrilled at the idea of new books arriving soon,” said Kyla Johnson, librarian at FHS. “We haven’t been able to order current YA literature this year and the students are desperate for it. We feel so lucky and it means a lot.”

The application form and information for next year’s Great Books Giveaway are available on the YALSA Web site,
Applications must be received in the YALSA office by Dec. 1, 2010. For more information contact the YALSA office, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail:

The YALSA Great Books Giveaway Jury is Krista McKenzie, chair, Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County, Oakland, Md.; Molly M. Collins, Malden (Mass.) Public Library; Jamison Hedin, Ludlow (Mass.) High School Library, Whitney Winn, University of California Los Angeles Graduate School of Library and Information Science; and Season Ariel Hughes, Issaquah, Wash.

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: