Couillard-Smith, Vittek win BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/09/2015


Nichole O’Connor

Program Officer

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

CHICAGO — Chelsea Couillard-Smith and Robyn Vittek were chosen as the recipients of the 2015 BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant, administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Chelsea Couillard-Smith is a Youth Materials Selector at Sacramento (California) Public Library and Robyn Vittek is the Director of St. Clairsville (Ohio) Public Library.

Each will receive a grant of $1,000, donated by BWI, for collection development. The grant recipients are YALSA members who represent a public library and work directly with young adults ages 12–18.

Couillard-Smith’s goal with this grant was to fund the library at the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility. By increasing both her popular materials collection, as well as books focusing on challenges common to juvenile offenders including substance abuse, teen parenting, and legal rights, she believes she will better serve the needs of her unique population.

“The YDF (Youth Detention Facility) library is the only source of educational and leisure reading material for the 180-220 teens in detention in Sacramento County at any given time,” said Couillard-Smith. “These are the high-risk youth in our community, and for many, their detention is the first time they have had the support and discipline they need to affect change in their lives. By providing reading material that meets their specific needs, the YDF library and the staff who support it encourage teen residents to expand their understanding of themselves and their world, and make reading a daily habit.”

Vittek will use the grant to acquire current non-fiction titles, audio books and graphic novels. Supporting the work of the local school district history project, as well as in-house library programs like Lego Robotics and Teen Tabletop Gaming are a priority for her.

“Currently, we are the best kept secret among teens in St. Clairsville,” Vittek said. “It is our intent to ensure that our teens have the information they need for life and school through our non-fiction collection, to serve their multimedia needs through an increased audiobook collection, and to attract visual learners, low-level readers, and regular fans with comic books, graphic novels and manga.”

The 2014 BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant Jury members are: Chair Melanie Lyttle, Madison Public Library, Madison, Ohio; Theresa Darr, Loyola Blakefield Library, Towson, Maryland; Corinda Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library, Mark Twain Branch, Los Angeles; Sara Ray, Bristol, Connecticut; De Anza Williams, Champaign, Illinois.

The application form and information for next year’s BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant are available on the YALSA Awards and Grants website, Applications must be submitted online by Dec. 1, 2015.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and library staff to engage, serve and empower teens.  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: