January 2024 Member of the Month: Ann-Marie Aymer


"I attended my second YALSA Symposium this past weekend in St. Louis. I did not realize that Deb JJ Lee, one of my former library teens, was going to be at the symposium signing books.

Deb and I were doing the math at the symposium, and I’ve known them since they was nine years old; their family moved to the town where I work the same year I started as my library’s Teen Librarian. Since then, I have tried to help put the right books in both their hands and their brother’s hands.

Once they got to middle school, they and their friends were almost daily attendees of our daily after-school drop-in program called CATSS (it stands for Cool Awesome Teen Students of Summit), which has been around since 2001, and I was in charge of it then. As a result, I remember some of the struggles portrayed in their memoir In Limbo. As they got older, they would visit the library occasionally and update me on life events, especially their artwork. They told me they were going to art school and eventually received a book deal with a major graphic novel publisher.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I was volunteering to help with the Book Blitz on Saturday afternoon, and ended up helping at John Schu’s table because I remember meeting him at the NJASL conference in 2019. The volunteers and the authors waited for the authors from the memoir panel to come into the room and settle before we opened the doors to let everyone in, and then Deb walked through the door. We did not expect to see each other at the symposium over 900 miles from home. We caught up, and they signed a copy of their memoir for me."