CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has named Belfast (Maine) Area High School; Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ; and Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, NY, as recipients of its 2021 Great Books Giveaway.
Each library will receive a share of more than $20,000 worth of books, audiobooks and other materials donated to YALSA from publishers and producers in 2020.
Built in the 1960s, Belfast Area High School serves the city of Belfast and four outlying small towns in Maine. More than half of the school’s 480 students receive free or reduced lunches. Providing a library collection that reflects new technology and student interests has been challenging due to budgetary constraints. Updated materials will help students with research and improve a non-fiction collection with an estimated age in the late 1990s.
“I’m so excited to be selected as one of the recipients of the Great Books Giveaway Award!” said Belfast Area High School Librarian Lindsay Bailey. “This is a huge boost for my high school library during a tough school year. I would like to thank YALSA for this award.”
Located in Central New Jersey, Franklin Township Public Library currently has two locations and is building an opening day collection for a third library facility, to be housed within a new youth community center. Opening in late spring 2021, the new library will serve a section of the community that is largely non-white and faces economic difficulties. The location is densely populated, near two schools, and convenient for teens to access by biking or walking. Library staff are anticipating it will be a popular after-school hangout spot. The library has no additional funds available and, without the Great Book Giveaway, would be otherwise stocked on opening day with a small selection of older materials.
“The Franklin Township Library is grateful to accept this generous award of so many new teen books,” said Karen Bilton, Young Adult/Reference Librarian at Franklin Township Public Library. “With these materials, we will be able to put together a strong and up-to-date opening day collection for our library’s new branch location in the township’s new youth community center. Our community’s teens will be so excited to see such a large selection of new books just for them! We know this will inspire them to become lifelong learners!”
Fifty-one percent of the 1,200 students at Townsend Harris High School (THHS) – a New York City public school – qualify for free or reduced lunch. Although the library is an active learning center serving an average of 500 students per day, its collection is outdated and the average copyright date of the non-fiction section is 1997, despite an extensive weeding effort. The school librarian describes Townsend Harris’ students as “serious scholars” who have a drive and work ethic that ensure the Great Books Giveaway materials will be put to good use for reading and learning.
“This award will help revitalize the library’s collection and give our students the reading and learning experience they deserve,” said Arlene Laverde, Librarian at Townsend Harris High School. “It will ensure that the THHS library will be able to continue to provide new, exciting, and diverse materials for our school community.”
Each year, the YALSA office receives approximately 2,000 newly published books, videos, CDs and audiobooks; materials that have been targeted primarily towards young adults. These materials are submitted from publishers and producers for selection committees to review and nominate. After the ALA Midwinter Meeting (when committees select their annual lists), these materials are then donated to libraries in need via YALSA’s Great Books Giveaway. The application form for the Great Books Giveaway is available in the Grants and Awards section of the YALSA website. Applications must be received by Dec. 1, 2021.
The 2021 YALSA Great Books Giveaway Jury members are: Chair Hattie Garrow, Library Media Specialist, Smithfield High School, Smithfield, VA; Allison Gray, Director, Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries, Goleta, CA; Ellen McTyre, Head of Youth Services, Bronxville Library, Westchester County, NY; Sarah Sullivan, Head of Reader Services, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, MA; and Marney Welmers, Retired Middle School Librarian, Tucson, AZ.
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 www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: [email protected].
Originally published at https://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2021/02/yalsa-s-2021-great-book-giveaway-provides-more-20000-materials-libraries-maine