Young Adult Services Forum Meeting Minutes November 11, 2021



Kylie Peters (Geneva), Manager
Krista Hutley (Wilmette), Incoming Manager
Izabel Gronski (Oak Lawn), Outgoing Manager


Sonya Hill (ELA Area). Social Media
Jennie Stevens (Thomas Ford), Tournament of Books


Lisa Barefield (Wheaton)
Donna Block (Niles-Maine)
Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect)
Evan Mather (Arlington Heights)
Nicole Mills (Glenview)
Patti Palmer (Elmhurst)
Quinn Stitt (Berwyn)
Kara Thorstenson (Chicago Public Schools; ILA Board)
Abigail Weaver (Mount Prospect)


Cyndi Robinson (Staff Liaison)


Approval of Minutes 

Board Updates 

Tournament of Books – Jennie Stevens

  • Reviewer interest form is live here
  • Keep suggesting books for the 2022 Tournament until December 31! Submit here! 
  • Book and reviewer selection will happen at the January 2022 YASF meeting
  • Quinn recommended looking for lesser-known titles to include instead of just huge titles.
  • Suggested sites for finding new upcoming books:; Rachel Strolle’s tumblr database:

YA Librarian of the Year – Jennie Stevens was the winner. Update from Martha Sullivan via email: The two names we proposed to ILA were Young Adult Library Worker of the Year or Young Adult Library Professional of the Year. These were passed on to the Chair of the ILA Awards committee but we have not heard back.

Social Media – Sonya Hill

  • Sonya has made updates to the YASF Facebook group to handle Facebook’s changes to the parameters for public groups. Posts will continue to be moderated for new members.
  • Facebook had one new member. Google groups had two new members. 
  • Sonya is starting a Google spreadsheet to track engagement.
  • Sonya will start Mindfulness Mondays on Facebook in addition to What You’re Reading Wednesdays. Chat suggested pet pics, which led to the creation of Fuzzy Fridays. 

Member at Large – Nicole Mills. Nicole passed on the minutes for the last YSF meeting.

YASF Updates 

iREAD – Maisie Iven

  • iRead is looking for submissions for the 2023 Resource Guide for the theme of Find Your Voice. Submissions are due February 28, 2022. You can submit here
  • The 2024 theme will be Conservation.

ILA Annual Conference

How did it go?
Unconference feedback
Topics we’d like to see covered

  • Debriefing The Unconference
    • Izabel felt it went well but as a moderator, it was more chaotic in the second half. Others reported that their groups were too quiet or that the moderator didn’t always know enough about the topic. 
    • Kara suggested that people need more guidance about what an unconference is and how to interact at one.
    • Ideas for improving the virtual Unconference were: scrapping the poll to better prepare rooms with knowledgeable moderators ahead of time; list potential topics ahead of time and ask people to volunteer to lead the discussion or participate in that room (i.e., ringers); pick questions that will engage everyone in a theoretical discussion about YA librarianship that doesn’t need practical experience.
    • Cyndi says the YSF folks had the same discussion about their Unconference
  • Other Conferences
    • YALSA Symposium in Reno: Sonya said it was fantastic, very small and all about creating safe spaces. Favorite presentation gave sample scripts for how to handle teens unloading on you (non-emergency), like “thanks for sharing” and “your feelings are valid”. 
    • Next year’s YALSA symposium is in Baltimore.

Managers and Board Document

  • Lists everyone who is currently on the Board in a manager/leadership position
  • Gives credit to those who have served in the past
  • Looking for lore! Anyone can contribute by adding names of the people who were in leadership positions in the past.
  • Cyndi will add what ILA has in their records. 
  • Current ones are always listed on ILA Forum page and our web site

February Professional Development

  • Our YASF speaker budget for fiscal year 21-22 is $150
  • Topics of interest: 
    • censorship and book challenges; how to write and use collection development policies effectively
    • supporting youth activist groups in a library “non-political” space
    • helping teens find unbiased information and construct good arguments 
  • Kara is willing to share information from the CPS schools on collection development and EDI policy language that their lawyers put together:
  • Iza suggested holding the collection development and censorship idea until May when we do our RA-focused professional development
  • Oak Park is adding News Guard to their public computers:
  • Mention of the RAILS Harm & Healing presentation
    • Per Julie Jurgens, the webinar recording and slides can be shared with folks who work for a RAILS library
    • Krista and Iza have copies of the slides and link to the recording. Krista:

Open Discussion 

Program Success Stories

  • Sonya: Haunted Lake County program with a genealogy librarian (who shared spooky lore from the area) that was a hit with teens. The program involved teens coming up with their own scary stories based on images from the genealogy librarian.
  • Donna: Partnered with a Cook County forest preserve for outdoor programs, which has been a big success. Had a bonfire in a picnic area close to the library, with spooky stories and s’mores. They’re planning one on outdoor survival next.
  • Jennie: Also planning a bonfire since the 2022 SRP is all about camping.
  • Lisa: Two teen volunteers started a successful writing program; two sessions have had 8-9 teens. Over the summer, she did a live action Among Us program in the park
  • Quinn: a virtual Fantasy Feud with Tor authors had 59 people. Partnered with Tor and Oak Park. You can see it here:
  • Nicole: They partnered with a nearby animal shelter in Morton Grove to do service projects like no-sew dog blankets. They also were able to include the HS group Cause for Paws. Nicole gets fleece at JoAnn’s with sales. A sample project:
  • Sonya: They’ve had a few phone call complaints about their Trans 101 program with Nikk Selik and wrote some scripts to handle misbehavior. They’ve had 41 teens signed up, sent to GSA at high school. In February, there is a Love is Love knitting program, to knit colored flags. Sonya would like to do an intergenerational LGBTQ book program to discuss changes over time. Find Nikk here:

Teen Volunteer Projects

  • ILA had a presentation on teen volunteer projects. 
  • Sonya has a resource page:
  • Sonya also recruits book reviews from teens with a book river on their web site and book displays. Jennie also gives volunteer hours for book reviews. 
  • Have teens make up their own take & make kits with instructions and assemble them
  • Jennie partners with a nursing home to have teens make ornaments to be donated. (Ask nursing homes first if they are willing). Also has supplies for making cards to deliver to kids in the hospital. 
  • Abigail works with their homebound coordinator to have teens make bookmarks to include in the deliveries to them, with a little note. 
  • Lisa has teens putting together the youth services Take & Make kits and has done virtual book buddies with youth services, pairing up teens with kids practicing their reading. 

Instagram Live Tips for Evan (and anyone else)

  • Donna recommends doing a run-through beforehand. 
  • Iza suggests everyone either has headphones or no headphones – all the same.
  • Quinn recommends reaching out to Becca Boland who does it with her book clubs. 

Meeting ended at 11:30.

Future Professional Development

Upcoming Meetings Register here for all

  • Open Meeting | Thursday, January 13, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual 
  • Professional Development Meeting | Thursday, February 10, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, April 14, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • RA Meeting | Thursday, May 12, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual 
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, August 11, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual 
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, September 8, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Open Meeting at ILA Annual Conference | Date and Time TBD

Young Adult Services Forum Meeting Minutes October 12, 2021


Izabel Gronski (Oak Lawn) – Manager
Joe Marcantonio (Schaumburg) – Outgoing Manager
Kylie Peters (Geneva) – Incoming Manager

Quinn Stitt (Berwyn) – Tournament of Books Wizard

Andrea Johnson (Mt. Prospect)
Becky Long (O’Fallon)
Bonnie Hulke (Poplar Creek)
Brittany Adams
Danotra Brown (Champaign)
Donna Forbis (Illinois Prairie District Public Library)
Emily (Washington)
Emma Ryan (U of Illinois MLIS student)
Erica Pyle (New Athens)
Erin Faxel Teen Librarian
Evan Mather (Arlington Heights)
Gennifer King (Eureka)
George Kotsinis (Warren-Newport)
Holly Eberle (Algonquin)
John Driscoll (Galesburg)
Kara Thorstenson (ILA Board and Chicago Public Schools)
Katelynn Clark (Fossil Ridge Public Library)
Kathy Dejnowski (Thornton Public Library)
Linda Bargiel
Maisie Iven (Naperville, iRead Liaison)
Melissa Leggero (New Lennox)
Patricia Salch
Rachael Bild (Skokie)
Sheree Kozel-La Ha (Homer Township Library)
Tiffany Dvorak (SIUE)
Tracey Vittorio (Plainfield)
Tracey Price (SIUE)


Approval of Minutes

Tournament of Books – Quinn Stitt

  • Keep nominating books for the 2022 tournament. Submit here!
  • Must be YA published in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Cannot be a sequel or companion.
  • Cannot be nonfiction.
  • Graphic novels are accepted.
  • Special consideration is given to debut authors and #OwnVoices authors.
  • Applications to be a reviewer will open soon.

iRead – Maisie Iven

  • “Find Your Voice” theme is about self-care and conservation.
  • Resource Guide Taskforce members are needed. This involves submitting 5 ideas to the guide and editing YA submissions.  If interested in helping, contact Maisie at

ILA Conference This Week

Outgoing Leadership

  • Joe Marcantonio – Outgoing Manager
  • Quinn Stitt – Outgoing Tournament of Books Wizard
  • Heather Colby – Outgoing Social Media Manager

Thank you for all your hard work for YASF and Illinois teens!

Incoming Leadership

  • Krista Hutley – Incoming Manager
  • Sonya Hill – Social Media
  • Jennie Stevens – Tournament of Books
  • Izabel Gronski is now Outgoing Manager
  • Kylie Peters is now Manager

Naming Teen Spaces

  • Attendees offered differing experiences on what works best for them
    • One idea: Call it what it is (such as “Teen Room”?)
    • Another idea: Have a cool name like “The Hub”?
  • Putting the word “teen” in the name of the space
    • May cue to other age groups that the space is not for them.
    • However, may make teens not use the space.
    • If the room says “teen” and is not for 13 and up, that can cause confusion.
  • Ways to signify the age of the teen space other than making it apparent in the name
    • Signs
    • Put teen-ish stuff in there (like the furniture, and anime pictures)

Conference Tips and Etiquette

  • Network!
    • It could get you a job someday.
    • If you’re shy, be aware that lots of people in our field feel that way, so you’re not alone.
  • It’s okay to leave a session if it’s not giving you what you need.
  • Reach out to presenters to give feedback and ask questions.
  • Everything is recorded! Go back to watch ting to missed or to re-watch.
  • At the end of the conference, you can download the handouts from all the sessions.

Conference Tech Tips

  • You should have received login information via e-mail. Check your spam folder.
  • If there is no registration link in a session, click “Add to Calendar” and the Zoom link will be in your calendar

Find YASF Online
ILA page:
Google Group:

Upcoming YASF Meetings and Events – Register here for all
Open Meeting | Thursday, November 11, 2021, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Open Meeting | Thursday, January 13, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Professional Development Meeting | Thursday, February 10, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Open Meeting | Thursday, April 14, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
RA Meeting | Thursday, May 12, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Open Meeting | Thursday, August 11, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Open Meeting | Thursday, September 8, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Open Meeting at ILA Annual Conference | Date and Time TBD

Young Adult Services Forum

Meeting Minutes September 9, 2021


Managers: Izabel Gronski (Oak Lawn) – Manager, Joe Marcantonio (Schaumburg) – Outgoing Manager, Kylie Peters (Geneva) – Incoming Manager

Board: Quinn Stitt (Berwyn) – Tournament of Books Wizard

Members: Donna Block (Niles-Maine), Erin Faxel (Orland Park), Evan Mather (Arlington Heights), Holly Eberle (Algonquin), Kathy Dejnowski, Krista Hutley (Wilmette) – Incoming Incoming Manager, Lisa Barefield (Wheaton), Maisie Iven (Naperville) – Incoming iRead YA Liaison, Patti Palmer (Elmhurst), Rachel Strolle (Glenside), Sonya Hill (Ela) – Incoming Social Media Manager

ILA: Cyndi Robinson (Staff Liaison)


Approval of Minutes


Board Updates

Tournament of Books

  • Submit books here!
  • Parameters
    • Published in 2021
    • Not sequels companions, prequels, etc
    • Not nonfiction
    • Graphic novels are acceptable
    • Extra prioritity for debut authors and BIPOC, queer, disabed, etc. authors
    • Books with more nominations get higher priority
  • Questions?  Contact Quinn at
  • Hot titles right now include Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, Firekeeper’s Daughter, and The Gilded Ones
  • Quinn will talk to Heather about promoting ToB titles.

Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award

  • No updates

Social Media

  • Facebook: 256 members
  • Twitter:164 followers.
  • Heather will be in touch with Sonya to discuss transferring duties

Member at Large

  • No updates from YSF

YASF Updates


  • Meeting next week.
  • If interested in being involved with the Find Your Voice Resource Guide, contact Maisie at

ILA Annual Conference


Open Discussion

Author Visits

  • Wilmette Library is hosting Darcie Little Badger. Wednesday, November 10, 7-8 p.m. Sign up to attend!
  • Dazzling Debuts Author Panel hosted by Berwyn, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Mount Prospect, and Evergreen Park, September 30 at 7-8 p.m., featuring Crystal Maldonado (Fat Chance, Charlie Vega), Jonny Garza Villa (Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun), and Olivia Abtahi (Perfectly Parvin) in conversation.
  • Reach out to authors to ask them if you want them!  Especially debut authors. Many are affordable virtually if you reach out directly.
  • Sonya started a Google sheet for potential author visits. Feel free to add to it!



  • Meteorologist or storm chaser – they’re hard to find, especially a female one.  Maybe try
  • How are you holding your programs? Lots of variety.
    • Some members are just starting in-person programs inside.  
    • Some are doing in-person outside only. 
    • Some are being asked to pivot back to virtual or hybrid (such as, a craft that includes a pick-up kit option). 
    • Some have been in-person for a while and are still in-person.
  • College presenters
    • My College Planning Team will do virtual or in person.
      • Some thoughts about them:
        • They are not as useful to low-income folks.  More about how to move your money around.
        • They repeat a lot of content across their presentations.
        • Recommended to use your own Zoom for virtual
    • ISAC has been a good presenter for many members.  
      • Go here to find your ISAC rep. 
      • They are currently offering virtual programs.  We aren’t sure about in-person.
      • Joe recommends their scholarship program
    • Quest College Consulting offers good and reasonably priced college and scholarship presentations.
  • SAT and ACT tests
    • Several members have in-person practice SAT and ACT tests coming up.
    • College Board offers printable SAT practice tests that you can scan using an iPad app for results.
    • Can hold your own practice tests using, if you subscribe.
    • Brainfuse also has practice tests, but you may not be able to print them off like you can with
  • and Brainfuse
    • may be a cheaper option for your library than Brainfuse and has the same tutoring hours.  No opinions among members for which service is currently better.
    • Brainfuse has job search tools, but you can supplement with other tools.


Upcoming Professional Development

  • ILA Annual Conference – October 12-14 (virtual)
  • YALSA Symposium – November 5-7 in Reno, NV.  Currently hybrid.
  • C2E2 – In-person December 10-12 at McCormick Place
    • If you have experience in building a graphic novel collection and are interested in presenting, contact Iza at
  • Reaching Forward Friday, May 6, 2022
    • A call for proposal submissions just went out.
    • Currently scheduled in-person.  There will be a decision over whether to make it virtual by the end of January.
  • PLA – March 23-25, 2022, Portland, OR
  • IYSI – March 16-17, 2023, Normal, IL
  • ILA Noon Network – ongoing


Scheduling Upcoming Meetings

  • Held on the 2nd Thursday unless there’s a conflict.  Then it might be a different Thursday.
  • Meetings are typically held in November, January, February, April, May, August, September, and October (at ILA)
  • February is usually a professional development opportunity and May is the Tournament of Books discussion and RA.
  • In the past, August has been a social event instead of a meeting.
  • Members prefer to stick to virtual meetings for now.
  • No one has any suggestions for changes to this system.
  • Kylie has scheduled meeting dates for 2021-2022 – See “Upcoming YASF Meetings and Events” below


Find YASF Online


Upcoming YASF Meetings and Events

  • Open Meeting | Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 9-9:45 a.m. | Virtual – Register here
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, November 11, 2021, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, January 13, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Professional Development Meeting | Thursday, February 10, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, April 14, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • RA Meeting | Thursday, May 12, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, August 11, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Location TBD
  • Open Meeting | Thursday, September 8, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Location TBD
  • Open Meeting at ILA Annual Conference | Date and Time TBD

August 12, 2021 Meeting

Young Adult Services Forum

Meeting Minutes August 12, 2021


Managers: Izabel Gronski (Oak Lawn) – Manager, Joe Marcantonio (Schaumburg) – Outgoing Manager, Kylie Peters (Geneva) – Incoming Manager

Board: Martha Buehler-Sullivan (Brookfield) – YA Librarian of the Year Award Manager, Quinn Stitt (Berwyn) – Tournament of Books Wizard

Members: Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect), Evan Mather (Arlington Heights), Jennie Stevens (Thomas Ford), Lisa Barefield (Wheaton), Haley Frailey (Oswego), Maisie Iven (Naperville), Melissa Leggero (New Lennox), Rachael Bild (Skokie), Sonya Hill (Ela).

Staff Liaison: Cyndi Robinson

Approval of Minutes

Tournament of Books

  • Keep nominating books for the 2022 tournament. Submit here!

Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award

  • Jennie Stevens was YA Librarian of the Year this year. Congrats!
  • Thank you to Martha and the YA Librarian of the Year Committee for your hard work.

Social Media

  • Facebook: 250 members
  • Twitter: 163 followers.

Incoming Board Members

  • Thank you to everyone who applied.  If you weren’t selected, we still want you to be involved!  Please volunteer to help on committees and other projects in the coming year and apply again next year.
  • Incoming Manager: Krista Hutley
  • Social Media Manager: Sonya Hill
  • Tournament of Books: Jennie Stevens

EDI Statement


  • Maisie Iven will be taking over at the YA Liaison to the iRead Committee. Thanks to Heather Colby for all your hard work!
  • iRead will begin looking for Resource Guide Taskforce members for the theme “Find Your Voice” in the next couple months.  This involves submitting 5 ideas to the guide and editing YA submissions.
  • If interested in helping, contact Maisie at

#WeWereHere Project

  • Teens have submitted 152 experiences documenting 2020 and 2021.
  • 44 public libraries and 6 schools are partners.
  • The website will be read only as of September 1st.

ILA Annual Conference

  • We are hosting an Unconference with YSF on Thursday, October 14, 9-11 a.m.  Please submit topics here.
  • We will hold a YASF meeting at the Conference, 9-9:45 on Tuesday before the Opening Session at 10. Register here.
  • We’ll set dates for upcoming meetings in September.

Programming Discussion

  • What are we doing for TeenTober? Not many members have big plans.  It’s a broad event, so you can make lots of different programs work.
  • Berwyn has an author visit coming up and is looking for collaborators, especially if you have a webinar license.  E-mail if interested.
    • September 30 at 7 p.m.
    • Featuring Crystal Maldonado (Fat Chance, Charlie Vega), Jonny Garza Villa (Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun), and Olivia Abtahi (Perfectly Parvin) in conversation.
  • Virtual versus In-person Programs
    • Most members’ libraries are doing in-person programs for now.
    • It’s convenient if a program easily converts to virtual, in case the format needs to be changed.
    • Some managers are asking for “hybrid” programming, but folks are unsure how to do this.
    • Some members’ libraries are only doing programs outside.
  • Are masks being required?
    • Some libraries, no.  Some, yes.
    • Some just for in-person programming.
    • Some just in youth and teen programming and/or spaces.
    • Discussion of the challenges of dealing with differing public opinions on mask mandates, and frontline staff having to deal with angry patrons.
  • Verbal game recommended by Evan: “What’s the Thing”
    • One person thinks of a thing.  Everyone else makes a guess of what the thing is, with no clues.
    • The person reveals what the thing is.  Everyone argues why their guess is closest to the thing.
    • The person who thought of the original thing chooses the winner.  The winner chooses the next thing.
  • What to do when community members complain about an LGBTQIA+ display
    • Document all positive interactions regarding that display.
    • Ask supportive community members and organizations to share why it was important to them with the Board and Director.
  • Working with local LGBTQIA+ groups
  • Conferences
    • YALSA Symposium is in Reno November 5-7.
    • C2E2 is set to happen in-person December 10-12, but a lot of comic cons have been getting cancelled.
    • PLA in Portland next year.
    • IYSI in 2023 in Normal.
    • ILA is virtual and accepting submissions for poster sessions here.
    • There are several ILA Noon Network webinars coming up.
    • The call for programs for Reaching Forward will be going out soon. Hopefully that will be in person next year in Rosemont on May 6th.

Find YASF Online

Upcoming YASF Meetings and Events

  • Open Board Meeting | Thursday, September 9, 2021, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Virtual – Register here
  • Open Meeting | Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 9-9:45 a.m. | Virtual – Register here

Join the YASF team!

There are some upcoming openings in YASF! If you are interested in becoming the incoming manager for the YASF please fill out the google form linked here. We are looking for candidates that regularly attend meetings and participate in the forum. The position begins after the ILA 2021 Annual Conference.

We also have two spots opening on the YASF board. The Social Media Manager and Tournament of Books Manager positions are available. Please fill out this form to indicate your interest in the position of your choice. Ideal candidates will have attended YASF meetings in the past year and participate in the forum.

The preferred deadline for applications is June 30th. If you have any questions about what being a manager or board member is like, please reach out to us

May 13, 2021 Meeting

Young Adult Services Forum

Meeting Minutes 05.13.2021


Managers: Izabel Gronski (Oak Lawn) – Manager, Joe Marcantonio (Schaumburg) – Outgoing Manager, Kylie Peters (Geneva) – Incoming Manager

Board: Heather Colby (Homer Township) – iREAD YA Liaison and Social Media Manager, Nicole Mills (Glenview) – Board Member at Large, Quinn Stitt (Berwyn) – Tournament of Books Wizard, Martha Buehler-Sullivan (Brookfield) – YA Librarian of the Year Award

Members: Lisa Barefield (Wheaton), Rachael Bild (Skokie) Donna Block (Niles-Maine), Erin Faxel (Orland Park), Mariel Fechik (soon to be Deerfield), Hailey Frailey (Oswego), Yvette Garcia (Chicago), Claire Griebler (Park Ridge), Sonya Hill (Ela), Krista Hutley (Wilmette), Maisie Iven (Naperville), Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect), Patti Palmer (Elmhurst), Allison Riggs (Schaumburg), Rachel Strolle (Glenside), Abigail Weaver (Mount Prospect)

Tournament of Books


  • Reviewer’s Bracket Winner: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  • People’s Choice Winner: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  • First time it’s been the same winner!
  • Message from Aiden Thomas for us!

Honorary awards

  • Most wished made it past first round for People’s Choice bracket: Go With the Flow by Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams
  • Most wished made it past first round for Reviewer’s bracket: Flamer by Mike Curato
  • Book we wish won the Reviewer’s bracket (after Cemetery Boys): Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Thank you, reviewers!

Submit for 2021 Tournament of Books:

  • No nonfiction
  • Must be published 2021
  • No sequels or companion books
  • Graphic novels and fiction are welcome
  • Extra consideration goes to debut novels, #OwnVoices, etc.
  • Extra consideration goes to titles that get the most submissions, so still submit it even if you think it’s a shoe-in!

Diversity Audits

YASF Diversity Audit Recommended Resources:

Yvette Garcia – Chicago Public Library

Taking an LJ class:

  • You need to spend time with the books.  Get your hands on each book.
  • Do your homework.  Research. Especially necessary for harder-to-spot types of diversity.
  • Start out with a small subset, such as adult mysteries.
  • There are lots of forms out there you can use.
  • Aim to have the collection match the demographics of your community, but sometimes you can’t because the books just aren’t being published.
  • Set goals.  Pick and choose your priorities.
  • “The danger of a single story,” a TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
  • Your staff may need you to move forward in small steps.

Alea Perez – Elmhurst Public Library

  • Started an audit of picture books on February 1st. Anticipate it will take at least the rest of the year.
  • They use a Google form since so many people are working on it.  The results go into a spreadsheet.
  • They are just looking at what currently exists to inform future collection management.  Not weeding based on this.
  • Elmhurst is mainly white, so they want to do better than community representation.
  • What they look for
    • Author’s race, gender, sexuality
    • Neurotypical and neurodivergent authors
    • Physically abled and disabled authors
    • Main characters, then secondary characters: includes races and non-human
    • Main characters, then secondary characters’, sexuality
    • Body representation, positive and negative
    • Main characters, then secondary characters’, physical and mental disability
    • Main characters, then secondary characters’, citizenship status
    • Main characters, then secondary characters’, religions
      • For Jewish, note Holocaust and non-Holocaust
    • Socioeconomics, family dynamics, addiction, setting, #OwnVoices (joyful or traumatic)
  • Offered a glossary to help with race terms
  • Include an “other” option where necessary
  • Space for notes if staff are unsure of something or who notice something that isn’t reflected in the form questions
  • Afterward, use the info to inform policy and procedure changes

Allison Riggs – Schaumburg Township District Library

Quinn Stitt – Berwyn Public Library

  • Theirs is based off Oak Park’s audit
  • Using Category 4 tags in SWAN
  • They are looking at the main character and creator
  • They look for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ identities, and disability (including mental illness)
  • Get into the mindset where you do the research when purchasing
  • Helps with booklists!
  • A diversity audit is not one size fits all.  Come up with a method that works for you.

Rachael Bild shared a document, “Diverse Graphic Novel Creators.”

12 stereotypes/red flags:


  • Weeding and Promoting
    • Give books with diversity a second look if they come up for weeding
    • If it’s the only one of a certain voice, keep it
    • Put diverse books on displays, especially on one that are not displays about diversity.
  • Unspecified characters
    • Often assumed white and cishet
    • If they have no defining race or sexuality characteristics, then they read as white and cishet.

Approval of Minutes

Board Updates

  • YA Librarian of the Year (Martha Sullivan)
    • Nominations due May 15.
  • Social Media (Heather Colby)
    • Facebook 249, Twitter 158
    • Quinn made social media for ToB so organized!
    • Contact Heather with social media matters:

YASF Updates

  • iRead (Heather)
    • Donna Block is chair of the theme for summer 2023  “Find Your Voice”
    • Thank you to those who submitted to the Resource Guide for 2022, “Read Beyond the Beaten Path.”
  • Unconference – Accepted for ILA!
    • Volunteers needed
      • Lisa, Joe, Kylie
  • Self-Care for Library Staff – Patti Palmer
    • Will be an upcoming ILA Noon Webinar on Wed., June 9. More info from ILA should be coming soon.
    • Presented by the Elmhurst Public Library social worker.
    • Will not be at ILA.

Open Discussion

  • Discord – Any proactive privacy things you are doing?
    • Can Discord (and other social media) be FOIA’d?
    • Rachael tried an auto-delete bot. Teens complained that their recent messages had been deleted.  But you can set it to keep posts for longer.
  • Rachel Strolle’s database of YA books:
  • We will have forms out in the summer for a new Incoming Manager and board members.

Future Professional Development

  • ALA Annual  – June 24-29 Virtual
  • C2E2 – December 10-12
  • IYSI March 16-17, 2023 in Normal, IL
  • ILA Noon Network – ongoing

Upcoming Meetings

  • August 12, 2021
  • September 9, 2021

And the winner is…

For the first time ever since we’ve instituted People’s Choice, the same book has won both our Reviewers’ Choice and our People’s Choice brackets!

And that book is…

CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas!

Congrats Aiden for dominating this year’s tournament with a memorable and well-loved debut!

A hearty congrats also goes to the runner-ups for the tournament: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez (Reviewers’ Bracket) and Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (People’s Choice Bracket!

And now on to the remaining honor books! The book people wished had made it past the first round of People’s Choice voting was…Go With the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann!

The book people wished had made it past the first round of of the reviewer’s bracket was…Flamer by Mike Curato!

The book with that people wished had won of all 32 titles this year (besides Cemetery Boys) was…Legendborn by Tracy Deonn!

Thank you to all our judges this year (*pauses for a round of applause*) and to everyone following along!

We will see you for next year’s 2022 Tournament of Books!

April 8, 2021 Meeting

Young Adult Services Forum

Meeting Minutes 04.08.2021


Managers: Izabel Gronski (Oak Lawn) – Manager, Joe Marcantonio (Schaumburg) – Outgoing Manager, Kylie Peters (Geneva) – Incoming Manager

Board: Heather Colby (Homer Township) – iREAD YA Liaison and Social Media Manager, Nicole Mills (Glenview) – Board Member at Large, Quinn Stitt (Berwyn) – Tournament of Books Wizard, Martha Buehler-Sullivan (Brookfield) – YA Librarian of the Year Award

Members: Sonya Hill (Ela), Lisa Barefield (Wheaton), Hailey Frailey (Oswego), Krista Hutley (Wilmette), Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect), Patti Palmer (Elmhurst), Lisa Boles, Jennie Stevens

ILA: Cyndi Robinson (Deputy Director of ILA and Staff Liaison), Mary Jo Matousek (Board Rep for School Libraries)

Approval of Minutes

Board Updates

  • YA Librarian of the Year (Martha Sullivan)
    • Committee met to do the awards audit and sent their suggestions for changes to ILA.
    • Currently accepting nominations for the award. Due May 15. Nominate yourself or someone else here.
  • Social Media (Heather Colby)
    • Facebook 246, Twitter 157
    • Heather updated the “What is the YASF?” section on the blog.
    • Heather will update the phone number attached to the YASF Twitter.
    • Contact Heather with social media matters:
  • Member at Large (Nicole Mills)

YASF Updates

  • iRead (Heather)
    • The guide for 2022 “Read Beyond the Beaten Path” is just about done.
    • In several months, they will be looking for submissions for the 2023 theme “Find Your Voice.”
  • Other Professional Development
    • What else are we interested in?
      • Teen brain development, author visits, collection development, diversity audits, inclusive collections…
    • May meeting could be professional development or an author visit.
      • Usually it is RA-focused.
      • Visit from the Tournament of Books winner?
        • Could be difficult to get them
        • Could we get them to speak at ILA Conference?
    • Vote for the People’s Choice Winner!
      • It’s okay if you haven’t read the books. Still vote.
      • All match-ups were made required on the voting form because in the past, match-ups at the top of the list for more votes than those at the end.
    • We do not have any more budget this year as YASF.
    • Could we have a diversity audit panel with speakers from libraries who are doing it?
      • Oak Park, Schaumburg, Berwyn are doing it.
      • There is a RAILS webinar on the subject.
    • FINAL DECISION: Our May program will be about inclusive collections and diversity audits. E-mail Iza at if you are interested in getting involved.
  • Unconference – We are submitting this  as an ILA proposal
    • ILA conference will now be hosted via Feedloop, which uses Zoom. You can do webinars with breakout groups.
    • Iza will contact YSF and submit the proposal.
  • ILA proposals
    • Elmhurst’s social worker is on board with Patti to present on librarian self-care.  No one else has joined yet.

Open Discussion

  • Summer Reading
    • Most libraries are doing mostly or all virtual programming.
    • Outdoor in-person programs
      • Renting a tent with pop-up programs (Nicole)
      • Using plaza and park nearby (Lisa)
      • Tie-dye, park cleanup, adopting a garden, nature walks
  • Reopening plans
    • Several libraries are returning to full hours or implementing expanded hours, or lengthening time patrons can stay in the building.
    • Some have study rooms and teen rooms reopening or furniture being brought back.
    • Many staff are doing little or no work from home at this point.
    • Some libraries are moving toward having the option to work from home a bit after COVID-19.
  • Staffing challenges
    • Several libraries have lost a lot of staff and are in hiring freezes.
  • What do you do when you have a bad board member?
    • There’s not much staff can do except vote them out.
    • Staff can attend Board meetings.  It’s enlightening.
    • ILA trains the trustee board on issues of trustee bullying, people trying to do other people’s jobs, etc.  It is a common issue.

Future Professional Development

  • Reaching Forward and Reaching Forward South (combined) – May 7 Virtual
  • ALA Annual  – June 24-29 Virtual
  • C2E2 – December 10-12
  • IYSI March 16-17, 2023 in Normal, IL
  • ILA Noon Network – ongoing

Upcoming Meetings

  • May 13, 2021 – Reader’s Advisory meeting on inclusive collections and diversity audits
  • August 12, 2021
  • September 9, 2021

Round IV, Bracket II: Cemetery Boys vs. Grown

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Trigger Warning: Cemetery Boys includes descriptions of transphobia and violence.

Cemetery Boys is LGBTQ+ fiction, paranormal fiction, fantasy, and romance all wrapped up in a mystery with a focus on identity, culture, and acceptance. The characters are relatable and empathetic, and become more dynamic as the story progresses. World-building is interspersed throughout the story without being obtrusive, making Cemetery Boys a pick for teens who are more comfortable with realistic fiction but are interested in a light fantasy read. A looming deadline brings a sense of urgency to the story, so reluctant readers may be well served by the quick hook and fast pace. Thomas incorporates humor throughout the characters’ interactions, and this paired with the charming slow burn romance makes for an endearing and engaging read – great for teens looking for a light-hearted romance.

This book would be great for teens looking for LGBTQ+ fiction, especially within the context of family and cultural relationships and traditions. The book also presents a mystery throughout and has its share of twists and turns. While more savvy readers may spot these coming and may be left a little underwhelmed, those looking for charm and humor will not be disappointed. 

Non-Book Readalikes: If you like the TV show Julie & the Phantoms or the video game Flipping Death, you might like Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas.

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Korey Fields is dead. 

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields? 

All signs point to Enchanted. 

Trigger Warning: Grown includes descriptions of abuse, sexual assault, and a toxic relationship.

Grown is a relevant and poignant story inspired by real events, including those surrounding musician R. Kelly. This novel delves into social commentary on topics including abuse, rape culture, and the neglect in cases involving black girls and women. Jackson’s captivating story follows a young woman with the courage and strength to escape her abuser. She also details both positive and negative family and community relationships surrounding the protagonist. The story tackles all this while presenting empathetic characters and a story propelled by an unfolding mystery.

Grown’s first person narration and steady pacing provides readers with a sense of urgency that makes this book an appealing pick for reluctant readers who will be quickly drawn into the plot. Teens who are looking for a mystery and thriller that tackles tough topics will be well served by Grown. Readers who tend to feel disoriented by shifting timelines may do best to steer clear of this novel; however, readers who stick with the novel and the merging storylines will find this style lends itself to building suspense as the book progresses.

Non-Book Readalikes: If you are interested in the documentary Surviving R. Kelly, explorations into the #MeToo movement, or 13 Reasons Why, you might like Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Winner: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Both of these books are great picks for teen (and adult!) readers, and Grown is a very relevant read. Overall, however, I feel the book that would appeal to a wider array of teens is Cemetery Boys. This book is difficult to fit into one genre (mystery, romance, LGBTQ+, paranormal, humorous), and because of that it has a wide potential audience. The fast-pace and endearing characters are also a sure bet for many readers.

Noelle Spicher is an Adult & Teen Focus Librarian at Lisle Library District.

Round IV, Bracket I: Furia vs. You Should See Me in a Crown

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

Trigger Warning: Furia includes descriptions of abuse, misogyny, and violence.

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez starts with a powerful proverb, “Lies have short legs.” It sets the tone for most of the book. Camila “La Furia” Hassan lies to her family in order to play the game she loves, soccer. I loved her dedication to the sport and what opportunities it would open up for her; La Furia is ready to help her team win at all costs. I loved that Camila fought for her dream and did not throw away her chance at playing soccer for love: she was smart enough to know she could have soccer and love. 

Mendez does a fantastic job of dropping the reader into Argentina. Her descriptions of the neighborhoods, the dynamic in the Hassan household, and the depiction of the soccer games is what draws the reader in. Even if you do not like soccer, you find yourself rooting for La Furia because of the energy Mendez writes with.

Non-Book Readalikes: If you enjoy soccer and the movie Bend it Like Beckham, Furia is for you!

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her ​small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down… until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams—or make them come true?

Trigger Warning: You Should See Me in a Crown includes descriptions of racism, homophobia, and a public outing of a character.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson is a heartwarming story set in a town that cares about only one thing: Prom. Liz Lighty is a reluctant heroine; she decides to run for Prom Queen to earn the scholarship to pursue her dream of music. The only obstacles she needs to overcome are her fellow running mates and her belief in herself.

I loved the relationship Liz had with her grandparents who are raising her and her brother. The worst part of this book was the public outing of a character. I understand why it happened, but people should be able to choose when and if they are ready to come out. The best part of this book for me was Liz gaining confidence in who she was as a person. The qualities were always there, she just needed the chance to bloom. 

Johnson does a great job of dropping you back into senior year of high school. It made me nostalgic for Prom again. I am sure there are plenty of high school students who would love it if this high school were real and had a competition like this. 

Non-Book Readalikes: If you liked the movies Mean Girls or Another Cinderella Story, You Should See Me in a Crown would be for you!

Winner: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

I enjoyed both books, but ultimately felt that Furia is the winner. You Should See Me in a Crown has a lot of positive notes about being yourself and overcoming obstacles, but I felt a more emotional connection in Furia. Leah Johnson’s book is a fun romp through a fantasy high school, while Yamile Saied Méndez takes you through a more realistic experience in Argentina. 

Melissa Cardone is a full time middle school math teacher and part time librarian at Shorewood Troy Library. She spends her free team reading books and coaching volleyball.