Monday, January 30, 2012

Candidate information for the Printz Award, 2014 committee


My name is Sarah Wethern and I am addicted to teen fiction. Reading is my passion but getting books into the hands of readers is what fulfills me every day of the week. I absolutely love teen fiction and feel that right now, teens are the luckiest readers in the universe because there are so many interesting, fascinating, disturbing, fun, and happy books being published for teens right now. Teen fiction runs the gamut from the absolutely fluffy to the absolutely literary with so much in between. I feel privileged to pick up a teen book and be able to read it. When I was a teen, my literary YA landscape was peppered with Sweet Valley, with some Nancy Drew, with some Lurlene McDaniel and with plenty of Judy Blume. These stories are important in the development of modern teen lit but they cannot hold a candle (okay, with the exception of maybe Judy Blume) to some of the well-written, thoughtful, and very provocative books that are being published right now.

I am running for the Printz Committee because I want to continue to challenge myself as a reader and a librarian. I want the chance to leave a mark on the landscape of teen literature and I feel that being part of the Printz Committee will be the greatest opportunity to do so. I want to help pick the next book that will challenge readers, make them look at a situation differently, and leave a literary mark on their own reading experiences. I think the Printz Committee is tasked with one of the most difficult jobs in the world when it comes to the Youth Media Awards. How do you choose just one to stand out amongst all the rest when there is so many wonderful books on the market today?

I still consider myself a new professional. I graduated with my MLIS in 2008 but since then I have taken every opportunity available to me to extend my field of knowledge, to improve my skills as a librarian serving teens, and to participate in the library world as much as possible. I do not want to sit idly by and let my career pass me by. I want to delve in and find as many opportunities as possible to make myself a valuable resource to my community and to YALSA.

Currently, I am the youth librarian at the Douglas County Library in Alexandria, Minnesota. I serve ages 0-18 but one of my main focuses right now is on building teen participation. This library has never held teen programs or teen events prior to my arrival in July 2011. Since then, I have held several different teen programs (some with more success than others but that is always the chance you take when it comes to teens). I am currently in the process of starting a teen book club and working to create programming opportunities for teens at my library this summer. In my previous position, I was the teen librarian for the Pueblo City-County Library District where I oversaw all teen activities for the library district including planning three successful teen summer reading programs, planning an anime/manga fair for my library district, participating in several community organizations that focused on teen sexuality, health, and wellness, amongst other activities. My commitment to teens and to teen literature is strong and makes coming to work each day a wonderful surprise. You never know what to expect, what book you may be able to get into the hands of a teen. I am beyond honored to be on the nomination ballot for the 2014 Printz Committee and I know that if you elect me to the committee I will fulfill the duties of this committee with verve and excitement.

I hope you will consider me when voting for the 2014 Printz Committee and if you have any questions to ask me, please email me at sarah.wethern@gmail.com or you can find me on Twitter and Goodreads. I would love to talk books with you or to provide more discussion as to why I think I am a good fit for the Printz Committee.

A little more background information about me and my career:

Education:
St. Catherine University, MLIS, 2008, 2011.
Winona State University, BA in English and BA History, 2006.

Work Experiences:
Youth Services Manager, Douglas County Library, July 2011--present.
Teen Services Librarian, Pueblo City-County Library District, February 2009-July 2011.
Information Clerk II, South St. Paul Public Library, January 2007-January 2009.

YALSA experience:
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee, 2012-2013
Chair, 2011-2012 YALSA/BWI Collection Development Grant
YALSA Hub Blogger, 2011-present
Readers' Choice Task Force, 2010-2011

Presentations:
YA Lit Symposium, 2012: Pop Culture (presentation still in the works with co-presenter).
YALSA Tabletalk Mashup, Contemporary YA Lit and How to Use It, ALA Annual, 2011.
Colorado Teen Lit Conference, 2011: The Under Dog of the YA World: Contemporary Teen Fiction
CLiC Spring workshop, 2011: Collection Development for Teens
Colorado Teen Lit Conference, 2010: The YA Blogosphere
CLiC Spring Workshop, 2011: What's Hot and What's Not in Teen Fiction

Other committees I have served on:
Cybils 2009 Teen Fiction, round I judge
2011 Maud Hart Lovelace Award, reader

Other information:
2011 winner of the Baker & Taylor/YALSA Conference Grant
Member of the 2010-2011 Colorado Association of Libraries Leadership Institute
Member of the Minnesota Library Association

I am committed to working with teens and providing them with the best of the best in teen literature. I believe by working on the Printz Committee I will be a more valuable asset to YALSA and to the communities I serve in Minnesota. Please consider voting for me for the 2014 Printz Committee.

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