Sheila Michaels named YALSA’s 2023 MAE Award winner

For Immediate Release
Thu, 05/25/2023


LaMoya Burks

​​​​​​​Interim Executive Director

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has awarded Sheila Michaels, Library Media Specialist at Nixa High School in Nixa Missouri, its’ 2023 Margaret A. Edwards (MAE) Award for Best Literature Program for Teens for her Program BookBag, a community summer outreach initiative. Michaels will receive a $500 award for herself and an additional $500 for her library.

“[The] BookBag program consisted of being at community locations each week to give away books, snacks, hygiene items, prizes, and school supplies. Students were given a bag and allowed to fill it with whatever they chose,” said Michaels. When asked how the impact of the award help serve librarians, Michaels said, “Librarians who are looking for a way to encourage summer reading while connecting with their communities can do so very successfully by implementing a similar program. Though it does require planning and budgeting, this program was popular with families who wanted to keep their kids reading and who were looking for fun, free activities. This type of giveaway is great positive PR for the library and a good opportunity to meet parents and families in a relaxed setting where academic performance is not the focus. We had nothing but positive responses from all of the people that we served.”

The MAE Award honors a YALSA member for developing an outstanding literacy, reading or literature program for and with young adults and is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Recipients receive $500 and an additional $500 for their libraries. The application form for the MAE Award for Best Literature Program is available in the Grants and Awards section of the YALSA website. Applications must be received by Dec. 1, 2023. The 2023 MAE Award Winner was selected in a blind review by the YALSA Board of Directors.


The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. 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:

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit