YALSA names 2010 Great Ideas contest winners

For Immediate Release
Fri, 10/01/2010


Stephanie Kuenn

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, has chosen the winners for its annual Great Ideas contest:

  • Elizabeth Burns, New Jersey State Library Talking Books and Braille Center, Trenton, N.J., won for her idea to host a blog-based YALSA book award/booklist reading challenge, and
  • Kit Ward-Crixell, New Braunfels (Texas) Public Library and Krista McKenzie, Garret College, Accident, Md., shared a prize for their separate proposals to create an online tool to aid young adult librarians in conducting original research.
The Great Ideas contest encouraged YALSA members to suggest ideas to promote the association that addressed the action areas in YALSA’s strategic plan (PDF): advocacy, continuous learning, marketing, member recruitment and engagement and research.
Burns will receive $250, and Ward-Crixell and McKenzie will each receive $125 for their proposals, which will be implemented in some fashion by YALSA.
The YALSA Book Award/Booklist Challenge, as proposed by Burns, will encourage book bloggers to read titles from YALSA’s book awards and booklists during a specified time period. Burns’ suggestion addressed the areas of marketing, member recruitment and engagement and advocacy. She came up with her idea during her hour-long commute.
“I was thinking about how YALSA has great booklists and awards and how we could get the word out about them while I was reading a few reading challenges on book blogs. During that long ride, both these things came together in my head and I thought ‘hey, this may be something YALSA is interested in,’” Burns said. “By holding a YALSA reading challenge, YALSA will promote the wonderful work it does in advancing literacy as well as the benefits of YALSA membership.”
Ward-Crixell proposed creating a Virtual Research Lab aimed at providing members, particularly those who aren’t academics, with tools to aid them in conducting research, including aggregating existing research, downloadable samples and potential contacts. McKenzie’s proposal focused on something similar – creating an online repository in wiki form for members to find recent research and find out how they can conduct their own and publish it. Both proposals directly addressed the strategic action area of research.
“Implementing this project will assist YALSA members in becoming more involved with and aware of young adult research in the field, who is working on what and areas where potential collaboration and development might be,” McKenzie said. “It speaks to YALSA's strategic plan goal of getting people more involved with young adult research, in advocating for its importance and connecting the overall membership with what is out there.”
Ward-Crixell was excited about how a virtual research tool could further cooperation among colleagues and allow them to use data more efficiently.
“There are so many librarians out there who are doing great things that by rights we should have a gigantic body of data about programs and why they work. But too often the only statistic we have when a program is done is the number of kids who showed up,” Ward-Crixell said. “Imagine if instead of just having an attendance number, we could easily demonstrate that a particular program at a particular library increased reading skills. That information would be a huge resource both for the staff at that library and for anyone else who wants to create similar results.”
For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks 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: yalsa@ala.org.