YASF Meeting Minutes: October 20, 2022

Kylie Peters (Geneva), Manager; Krista Hutley (Wilmette), Incoming Manager

Sonya Hill (ELA Area), Social Media; Martha Buehler-Sullivan, YA Library Professional of the Year (Brookfield); Jennie Stephens (Thomas Ford), Tournament of Books

Maisie Iven, 2025 iRead Chair (Naperville); Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect); Emily Meszaro (Frankfort); Elizabeth Towns-Law (Chillicothe); Niki Covello (Hillside); Nicole Lippoldt (LaGrange); Alice Dayton (Highwood); Elizabeth (Highwood); Aimee Paschkov (East Moline); Susan Garlisch (DeKalb)


Approval of Minutes 
September 8, 2022 approved

What is YASF?
Kylie summarized the Young Adult Services Forum’s purpose and main goals and activities, including holding frequent meetings to discuss topics relevant to teen library services, offering professional development and networking opportunities, running the annual Tournament of Books, and awarding the Young Adult Library Professional of the Year award. 

Board Updates

YA Library Professional of the Year Award – Martha

  • Winner for 2022 was Allison Riggs, Schaumburg Township
  • Nominations for the 2023 award will be open soon

Social Media – Sonya

  • Twitter has seen an increase in engagement.
  • Sonya is working on more fun posts on Facebook, which do well.

Tournament of Books – Jennie

  • Submit 2022 titles for the 2023 awards: https://forms.gle/N5hTPXs5kjFKfkML8
  • Nominees must be fiction and/or graphic novels published in 2022, no nonfiction or series books, including prequels and companion novels. 
  • At the January 2023 meeting, we will pick the 32 books from nominations that will compete in the Tournament 
  • A call will go out soon for reviewers. We usually need around 24 people.

Member at Large – Nicole

  • No updates

Liaison Updates

iREAD – Maisie

IYSI committee – Lisa (via email)

YASF Business

Leadership changes

  • Board changes take effect October 31!
  • Managers
    • Welcome Andrea Johnson as our new Incoming Manager!
    • Thank you Iza for three years of service in YASF managerial roles!
    • Starting at the November meeting, Kylie will be Outgoing Manager and Krista will be Manager
  • Board Positions
    • Heather Colby will be the committee leader for the YA Library Professional of the Year award
    • Erin Faxel will be the Board Member At-Large

Meeting dates for 2022-2023 with links to register can be found on our blog’s Upcoming Meetings page

ILA Annual

  • Booth Activities
    • Button making has been a hit
    • Lots of votes in our One Book to Rule Them All tournament
    • Check our blog in early November to learn the winner of the One Book to Rule Them All 
  • Missed a session? Check the blog in early November for write-ups on teen-related sessions
  • Unconference Feedback
    • Two fewer options per timeslot would have ensured tables were more full
    • One session shorter so folks could talk longer at their tables
    • Timeslot at 8am was rough and could have contributed to turnout numbers

February Professional Development Ideas

  • Media literacy for teens that is appropriate but not boring
    • The CRAP method (Currency, Reliability, Accuracy, Point of View) is not effective with teens
    • Public librarians need media literacy tools developed specifically for them and not a school library/classroom setting
    • Recommendation for Common Sense Media’s program: https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship
  • Teen Reading/Literacy
    • Younger teens are struggling with reading after the pandemic shut-down
    • Ways to promote reading that’s not embarrassing for teens struggling to catch up from the pandemic
    • Recommendation for Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant programs – https://www.dgliteracy.org/
  • Post-Covid Public and School Library Partnerships
    • Schools are harder to reach in this time of catch-up and troubleshooting
    • Increase in children’s and teen’s behavior problems
    • Teachers are struggling to protect their jobs and want to avoid standing out
    • The public librarian’s goal is to make teachers’ jobs easier, not make the teachers work harder
    • Recommendation from a library that mails a one-page “menu of services” to all teachers in the first week of school that can be mailed back with requests
    • Recommendation from a library that used to do a school librarian breakfast (for multiple schools) hosted at the public library to bring everyone together

Future Professional Development

YASF Meeting Minutes September 8, 2022

Izabel Gronski (Chicago), Outgoing Manager; Kylie Peters (Geneva), Manager; Krista Hutley (Wilmette), Incoming Manager

Jennie Stephens (Thomas Ford), Tournament of Books

Maisie Iven, iRead Chair (Naperville); Katie Parfitt, iRead (Naperville); Erin Faxel (Orland Park); Hannah Sloan (Poplar Creek); Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect); Caitlin Atkinson (Helen Plum); Abigail Weaver (Park Ridge); Amanda Klenk (Downers Grove); April Kohute (C.E Brehm); Charessa Sistek (Centralia)

Kristin Pekoll (Staff Liaison)


Approval of Minutes 
August 11, 2022 approved

Board Updates

YA Library Professional of the Year Award – Martha
–No updates

Social Media – Sonya
–No updates

Tournament of Books – Jennie
–Please nominate for the 2023 Tournament!
–Submit titles: https://forms.gle/N5hTPXs5kjFKfkML8

Member at Large – Nicole
–No updates

Liaison Updates

iREAD – Maisie & Katie
–iRead is recruiting people to help with the YA taskforce
–The taskforce submits different ideas for the iRead theme: displays, programs, etc. In order to be on the taskforce, you have to submit at least five ideas, but you can submit ideas without being on the committee. Even if you have one idea, submit it!
–Contact Katie for more info: kparfitt @ naperville-lib. org

IYSI committee – Lisa / Kristin Pekoll
–IYSI submissions for the March 2023 conference are open through November 4.
–The theme is Your Next Chapter
–Celia Perez will be the Institute’s main speaker. 
–Kristin will double check on whether YASF should consider having a booth there

YASF Business

Recruiting a new Incoming Manager and two Board positions
Manager: We are going to engage in the ancient YASF tradition of arm-twisting
Board members: Thank you to those who expressed interest. We will be in touch soon!

Meeting dates for 2022-2023
Dates will be chosen by the October ILA meeting
November, January, February (PD), April, May (RA), August, September, October
Andrea suggested having a special event in-person meeting to see newly renovated libraries

ILA Annual

YASF Meeting Thurs. 10/20, 12-1:30 p.m., location TBD
–Bring a lunch from the exhibit hall or elsewhere
–12-12:30 p.m. social time, 12:30-1:30 p.m. meeting time
–The Exhibit Hall lunches will be boxed lunches this year
–Kristin will set us up with a room

Youth and Young Adult Unconference – Thurs. 10/20, 8-10 a.m.
–What topics should we discuss?
–YA Smackdown – ask Evan for more details, questions
–Teen programming, DEI, passive programming, gaming, teen program presenter recommendations, advisory boards, mental health
–Outreach in post-covid time, rebuilding year, getting teens back into the building
–Teen mental health and behavior challenges
–Collection development, book challenges, irate patrons
–Vent session
–Historically we’ve had some set topics but left two up to a poll, either email 

Who is interested in being a table leader?
–From feedback last year, we needed to have a ringer at each table who is prepared to talk on the topic
–Could have subtopics prepped for each table’s topic. 
–Twenty minutes at each table with three times participants can switch tables.
–Volunteers: Krista, Andrea can do Outreach, Maisie, Yvette, Jennie

YASF Exhibit Hall booth
–Sign up to help plan or staff the booth — email Iza at igronski @ chipublib. org
–The group discussed finding button makers to have at the booth and how to get access to our Link Tree
–Krista is working on button templates. Krista and Jennie are working on the One Book to Rule Them All mini-Tournament of Books.
–Jennie is working on the bookmark with a note-taking section on the back for the Unconference.

Panel Blog Recaps
–We need volunteers to write a couple paragraphs recapping sessions related to teen services. We will post them on our blog.
–Maisie will do both iRead ones
–Sign up to help. Email Iza. igronski @ chipublib .org
–Potential sessions to recap: DEI in Action, Pandemic Programming, Building Identity and Agency in Children 


Hannah: If anyone has a good presenter for life skills on negotiating (buying a car, salary negotiating, etc), please let me know. My TAB has asked for this. Email: Hsloan @ pclib. org/
–Iza used to do a “How to Adult” series. One was a librarian who hired HS kids in the library, one was from university student life housing. 
–Look into a local business association, chamber of commerce, or local law firm
–Life coach
–Next Door or local Facebook group
–DECA Club sponsor for Streamwood HS

If anyone is willing to share how they structure their teen volunteer programs (how they sign up, what they do, etc) with me I would greatly appreciate it. My email is catkinson @ helenplum. org.
–Recommendation for Becca Boland’s book Making the Most of Teen Library Volunteers. “We found it was super helpful for figuring out how to let the teens guide us through building it!”

Resource sharing document for teen library programmers/presenters.
–Check with YSF on their document – does it include teen program presenters?
–Should we create a Google form for a database or list on the blog for recommended presenters
–EDIT-YS is making a list of DEI presenters

Downers Grove and Drag Queen Bingo
–We discussed the situation in Downers Grove with local groups pushing back against the program with a misinformation campaign, and the local media coverage of protests and supporters. 
–The program is not being canceled and is full but staff is working to make it safe for all
–Update: The program ended up being canceled after all due to violent threats.
–To help, you can e-mail the library director and board as a library professional to support the program and explain why it’s needed. 
–Mention of groups like Parasol Patrol Fox Valley 

Tiny Art Show bandwagon
–Abby and Andrea shared their tiny art show successes
–Take-home kits were 3 inch square canvases, a flat and round brush, and prefilled paint pots, as well as little nameplates to hang with the pictures and a handout on how to mix your own colors
–Very popular program, brought in new patrons to the library for the first time.

Maisie – TAG ran an art contest to design a bookmark for Library Card Sign Up Month, they got a ton of entries, and the teens took the contest really seriously

Caitlin – TAB meeting in September has the highest number so far. They are seeing teen come back to the building.

Hannah – recommend their teen podcast

Iza is doing kids D&D, ages 8-13. Modifying the rules a little to simplify.
–TTRPGs for kids are popular
–Coloring sheet D&D game
–Volunteer DMs are gold – local parents, teens, gaming store people etc

Meeting ended at 11:40

Future Professional Development

Upcoming Meetings

  • Open Meeting at ILA Annual Conference | Thursday, 10/20, 12-1:30 p.m.

YASF Meeting Minutes August 11, 2022

Kylie Peters (Geneva), Manager; Krista Hutley (Wilmette), Incoming Manager; Izabel Gronski (Chicago Public), Outgoing Manager

Sonya Hill (ELA Area), Social Media; Martha Buehler-Sullivan, YA Library Professional of the Year (Brookfield);

Maisie Iven, iRead (Naperville); Lisa Barefield, IYSI (Wheaton); Erin Faxel (Orland Park); Hannah Sloan (Poplar Creek); Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect); Caitlin Atkinson (Helen Plum); Abigail Weaver (Park Ridge); Dawn Abron (Zion-Benton); Amanda Klenk (Downers Grove); Emily Fardoux (Park Ridge); Kara Thorstenson (Chicago Public Schools); Shira Cohen (Glencoe)

Cyndi Robinson (former Staff Liaison; incoming ILA executive director); Kristin Pekoll (new Staff Liaison) 


Approval of Minutes
May 12, 2022 approved

Board Updates

  • YA Library Professional of the Year Award – Martha
    • Winner is Allison Riggs, Schaumburg Township
    • Really strong slate of nominees, including some non-MLIS nominations
    • Contacted all nominators to thank them and ask them to resubmit next year
    • Apply to be the Chair! Email Martha for more info: msullivan @ brookfieldlibrary. info
    • Committee Details: A good way to get committee experience without a huge time commitment. January-May is promoting the award and collecting nominations. The most time is spent once nominations are collected: there are 7-10 days to review nominations then meetings to choose the winner. Emails and press releases once the winner is chosen. 
  • Social Media – Sonya
    • Facebook: Guess the book cover increased engagement. Working on more activities like that. 96 reactions on FB posts in July, the most we ever had.
    • Twitter: Engagement on Twitter is complicated. We lost a follower.
  • Tournament of Books – Jennie (absent)
    • Submit nominations for the 2023 tournament for fiction and graphic novels published in 2022, no nonfiction or series books. 
  • Member at Large – Nicole (absent)
    • YASF is working on the Unconference with YSF at ILA
    • YSF is meeting next Friday

Liaison Updates

  • iREAD – Maisie
    • Email Maisie to get in touch to be on the Summer 2023 iRead committee: miven @ naperville-lib.org
    • Submit ideas for taglines for 2025. Theme will be puzzles and games.
    • Maisie’s replacement will be Katie Parfitt

YASF Business

  • YALSA ALA needs volunteers!
    • Can contact Iza, igronski @ chipublib.org, or Krista, khutley @ wilmettelibrary.info, or Kylie, klpeters305 @ gmail.com if you want to hear more about a variety of YALSA committees
  • Interest forms for Incoming Manager and two Board positions
    • Deadline is around August 30. Decision has to be in place before the conference.
  • YASF Manager Interest Form 2022
    • 3-year term: one as Incoming Manager, one as Manager, and one as Outgoing Manager. Should be able to attend ILA each year and most of the YASF meetings. 
  • YASF Board Interest Form 2022
    • YA Library Professional of the Year Award Board Member: heads a committee that promotes and selects the winner for the award.
    • Board Member at Large: currently attends YSF meetings and passes on minutes, but we’re revising this to be more flexible. The Board Member at Large will work with the rest of the Board to take on duties as needed.
    • Both of these are two year commitments. 
  • ILA Annual: https://pheedloop.com/EVEFAEBANAHPW/site/schedule/
    • Youth and Young Adult Unconference – Thurs. 10/20, 8-10 a.m.
    • YASF Meeting at ILA – Virtual or hybrid meeting, or strictly in person? 
      • We discussed our options and ultimately concluded to have an in-person meeting. 
      • Hybrid alternative for future meetings: Give people the opportunity to submit questions or comments ahead of time and livestream the meeting.
      • We will still meet virtually in September and November
    • YASF Exhibit Hall Booth
      • Will be Booth 734, back to back with YSF and close to iRead. 
      • The booth doesn’t have to be staffed the entire time. We should prioritize break times and no-conflict times.
      • E-mail Iza if you want to be on the Exhibit Booth committee: igronski @ chipublib.org 
      • Exhibit Booth committee so far: Maisie, Andrea, Sonya
      • Potential Booth activities:
        • Tabletop spinning wheel, Plinko machine, or capsule machine. 
        • YASF budget can be used for giveaways as well as professional development speakers. 
        • Swag ideas: funny buttons, chocolate, Evan’s “we love nerds” buttons with various fandoms; badge ribbons; pen and notepads; vinyl stickers (for water bottles or more); book cover buttons or recycled comics/magazines buttons
        • Mock Tournament of Books, with mini bracket for the weekend
    • Conference Coverage
      • What should we do to cover the conference for those who can’t come?  Live tweet? Wrap-up blog posts with attached handouts and guides?
      • Make a conference-specific YASF hashtag
      • Sonya – Social media poll to decide what folks want us to live tweet or blog post among the YA-tagged panels
      • Not all the YA-tagged panels have to be covered, looking for group consensus
  • Social events at ILA
    • Cyndi: The pub stroll has been discontinued. This year any social events will be low-key while we figure out how to do conferences again. 
    • Dinner with Colleagues – ILA can set that up a dinner for YASF. 
      • Rosemont is so close people may not stay for dinner. Lisa said the 2019 one in Tinley Park wasn’t well attended.
      • Discussion about the best date and time ensued. Whatever is decided, the dinner or social event could be promoted at the YASF booth. Thursday is last day and sessions end early so maybe Wednesday.
      • Outdoors or not crowded for covid concerns
      • Sonya – Poll on social media. 
    • Next year will be in Springfield and will do some evening events.


YALSA Symposium

This year it is in Baltimore. A few folks are going. Sometimes it can be a little “YA 101”, not as relevant for long-time YA librarians looking for professional development. Sonya said Reno in 2021 was good for social justice and current events programs. Her main issue was Reno felt unsafe. Sonya will work on making her notes “presentable” and sharing them.

Fall/Winter Programs

Maisie – introducing a capsule machine with mystery book recommendations in it. Sample capsule machine 

Maisie – partnering with our Business Services Librarians to offer job searching classes and entrepreneur classes for teens! I’m really excited to be doing more “life after high school” classes that aren’t just college

Abby -Tiny Art show for teens/adults

Emily – Weird & wacky soda tasting

Kylie – International snack tasting

Caitlin – Ceme-terrariums which are spooky terrariums

Sonya – starting a tabletop game night

Five Below has really cute mini erasers for capsule machines.

Fun Take & Makes

Friendship bracelets
Origami stars
S’mores charms with polymer clay

How to stop people from taking the kits who aren’t teens in the Teen Room area?

Emily – You have to ask for the kits at the service desk, and if it’s not a person that is presenting as a teen, we’ll tend to ask what grade the person is in

Martha – when they had no teen space, left the kits with a big label on teen and put by YA books, information about them was published under Teen Events

Andrea – redirect kids to youth kits more appropriate for them

Iza – make it embarrassing for them with a sign, like “Are you a kid or adult? This isn’t for you!” etc

Past programs that were popular

Andrea: Our middle schoolers loved Abby’s Snack Science series this summer. We made solar oven s’mores in one session and ziplock-bag ice cream in the other.

Maisie – TAG is taking over the library’s book club

Meeting ended at 11:45am

Future Professional Development

Upcoming Meetings – Register here for all

  • Open Meeting | Thursday, September 8, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
  • Open Meeting at ILA Annual Conference | Date and Time TBD

YASF Meeting & Professional Development – Minutes 5/12/22

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; Martha Buehler-Sullivan, YA Library Professional of the Year (Brookfield); Nicole Mills, Member at Large (Glenview); 

Maisie Iven, iRead (Naperville); Lisa Barefield, IYSI (Wheaton); Quinn Stitt (Berwyn); Erin Faxel (Orland Park); Jessica Tarnowski (Naperville);

Cyndi Robinson (Staff Liaison)


Approval of Minutes
April 14, 2022 approved

Board Updates

  • YA Library Professional of the Year Award – Martha
    • Nominations were May 15.
    • Updated July 2022 to add: the winner of the award is Allison Riggs, from Schaumburg Township District Library. Congratulations Allison!
  • Social Media – Sonya
    • 1,395 interactions across platforms
    • 1 new member in Facebook, and 1 new member in Twitter
  • Member at Large – Nicole
    • Next meeting will be August 12

Liaison Updates

  • iREAD – Maisie
    • Please hold off on Take & Make offers for ILA Annual
    • the iRead Facebook group is open and a good source for display ideas for the summer theme
    • iRead newsletter wants your cool stories about what you’re doing with the summer theme – email them here: iread@ala.org
  • IYSI committee – Lisa
    • Logo has been chosen
    • Meeting at the end of May

Tournament of Books Winners – Jennie

  • Thanks to everyone who participated and voted
  • The people’s choice bracket and reviewer bracket were totally different
  • People’s Choice winner was: Himawari House
  • Reviewer Bracket winner was: White Smoke
  • Submission for 2023 ToB is open!
    • Books that came out in 2022
    • Don’t forget about the books that come out really early and really late in 2022

Discussion & Hot Takes

Book discussions

  • Loveless
  • Heartstopper
  • Gender Queer was challenged in Downers Grove, but superintendent announced it will stay in the collection. Lots of students worked to make this happen.
  • Gender Queer has been challenged in Wheaton schools

Summer Reading Programs

  • Jennie – Going big for the first time in two years. S’mores kit as sign up prize or colorful journals and National Park stickers. Also having some animals come to the library.
  • Rachael – a new volunteer opportunity at Skokie is The Newcomers Club, a “social group for young people age 12-18 at the library that will meet weekly this summer. It will focus on creating an inclusive and welcoming space for young people who are new to Skokie, including kids who may have moved from Chicago as well as immigrants and refugees, alongside folks who have been here for a while. Teen volunteers have expressed an interest in opportunities to share cultural knowledge through playing games and (hopefully) sharing food. We also want to host a few programs that are led by youth in a language other than English (that all would be welcome to attend). Everyone will get service hours for attending” 
  • Animal Program Recommendations:
  • Kylie – What to do about flaky teens
    • Lisa – it works best when the teen comes to you with the idea to start a program and run it
    • Maisie – Same, worked for their D&D club, teens are good at following through when they suggest the idea
    • Martha – their maker area and programs are almost entirely run by teen volunteers excited about doing programs for all ages. They also help run youth video game programming.
  • Caitlin – Needs advice for video game systems for the new building, aside from the Switch, and how to monitor/maintain them
    • Maisie – PS4 – frequent updating was a problem, make sure to plan ahead for updates or schedule them
    • Izabel – made a library account that was always logged in so the kids didn’t download their own games. Had some trouble getting connected to the internet because of the IT guys, so it was on a staff wifi network that changes passwords monthly
    • Krista – see what people are checking out at the library and see if they favor one system over another
    • Patti – Switch is locked in a drawer. They also got an extra lime green HDMI code so that they can hook up their own switch to the TV without the kids unplugging stuff.
    • Erin – We have all 3 systems, Switch and PS4 are great! The X-Box might as well be a brick. It doesn’t work well at all.
    • Maisie – Made a dummy card to check out the controllers with 
    • Kylie – Got pro controllers with the Switch and got racks to charge them on

Fall Programs

Sonya – Needs advice for fall programs during library construction with minimal supplies. Ideas from the group included:

  • Drop-in stuff for teen space, journal prompts
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Partner with schools to use a space

Working With Teens

Lisa – Kylie had done a presentation with staff on how to work with teens and planned to use what Kylie had, but also wants more advice for staff

  • Iza did one for Oak Lawn and also an ILA presentation, called “How to Interact with Teens When You’re Not a Teen Librarian” .
  • Kylie – Elizabeth Lynch (Addison) and Laurel Johnson Dooley (2020s librarian of the year) did an ILA presentation on restorative justice in the past. Update from Cyndi: this presentation was at the 2017 ILA annual conference, and it was called “Keeping the Peace with Teens”. Yesenia Nunez (Addison) was also a speaker. Notes are no longer available on the ILA site.

Reader’s Advisory Professional Development

What Should I Know About Book Bans in the US and Illinois Right Now? By Kelly Jensen

Future Professional Development

Upcoming Meetings – Register here for all

  • 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

2022 Tournament of Books Results

And the winner is…

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson has been crowned the winner for the 2022 Tournament of Books by both reviewers and a final vote.

A huge thank you to all of our many reviewers and those who voted! The Tournament will return for 2023, but in the meantime, don’t forget to nominate your favorite books published in 2022 to be in the running! Just fill out this form here!

People’s Choice Winner

As in years’ past, the People’s Choice bracket vote for Tournament of Books runs based on votes from people like you. It starts out with the same brackets and titles as the traditional tournament, but books only advances to the next round if it receives more votes than it’s match-up. This year’s winner People’s Choice Winner is Himawari House by Harmony Becker.

Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Tournament of Books 2022 Final Round

Tournament of Books 2022

Final Round Voting

The reviewers have spoken, now it is your turn to crown the victor for the Tournament of Books 2022. Will White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson or She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen take home the crown? Vote here by May 12 at 10am.

People’s Choice Bracket

Don’t forget to have your voice heard for the people’s choice winner as well! Each bracket winner was decided by readers just like you. Vote here by May 12 at 10am.

Round IV Bracket II: Himawari House vs She Drives Me Crazy

Himawari House by Harmony Becker

When Nao returns to Tokyo to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, she books a yearlong stay at the Himawari sharehouse. There she meets Hyejung and Tina, two other girls who came to Japan to freely forge their own paths. The trio live together, share meals, and even attend the same Japanese-language school, which results in them becoming fast friends. But will they be able to hold one another up as life tests them with new loves, old heart breaks, and the everyday challenges of being fish out of water?

Himawari House may seem like a heavy book; regarding page numbers, however, the graphic novel/manga layout of it makes it an easier read. The flow and language of the book can get a bit confusing if you’re not softly reading aloud when it comes to the “translated” portions, but it gives it a more “realistic” feel in the way of those learning a second language; mispronouncing and hearing words in an ‘incorrect’ way. Obviously this isn’t done in a malicious way, and it is clearly not written in that manner, but rather in a gentle way.

The characters are fairly well-written and they carry their problems well. It’s not forced down anyone’s throat in a last minute ‘need to solve this dilemma’, and it’s not paved over in a ‘there was a problem, but it’s magically fixed’. You understand that each person has their baggage and once you learn more about said person, you learn more about their feelings, their thoughts, their mindsets on different situations. How they feel when they react, and what they’re thinking (occasionally).

This book is a great read for those who feel like “a fish out of water” and those worrying about being accepted; regardless of the reason. Each one of our three main characters have their own struggles; each one dealing with trying to be accepted whether by family, friends, a new culture, or just their peers.

If you’re looking for a book that’s light on the romance, but heavy on the realism, Himawari House is a great option.

If you like tales about finding acceptance, then read ‘Himawari House’ by Harmony Becker.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

After an embarrassing loss to her ex-girlfriend in their first basketball game of the season, seventeen-year-old Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with her nemesis, Irene Abraham, head cheerleader for the Fighting Reindeer. When the accident sends Irene’s car to the shop for repairs, the girls are forced to carpool, and their rocky start only gets worse. In trying to get back at her toxic ex, Scottie bribes Irene into a fake-dating scheme that threatens to reveal some very real feelings.

Scottie seems to be written with some issues with rage/anger management and an inability to look past revenge/longing for her ex; throwing the basketball at the Candlehawk players at their first game, blowing up at Irene (several times), using manipulation and money to get Irene to agree to fake dating her. It’s understandable that Scottie is trying to deal with her girlfriend (Tally) leaving Scottie for Tally’s own ‘betterment’, but Scottie seems to act more abusive than just frustrated in response. Thankfully, as the story progresses, Scottie tones down the toxicity of her actions and she and Irene are able to progress further into accepting one another.

Irene, on the other hand, is written fairly well and in an understandable manner. You can comprehend how her life is, why she feels like she needs to fight for what she wants. Most people stereotype cheerleaders; they’re not meant to be smart, they’re meant to be pretty and flexible and charismatic. While Irene wants to shove that stereotype out the window; she’s pretty, smart, and wants to prove that even though she’s the head cheerleader, she (and the sport entirely) deserves more than just the bubble-headed concept they’re blanketed with.

Unfortunately, the romance between the two (Irene and Scottie) can feel forced at times; Honey-Belle claiming the two radiated ‘sexual tension’ when it seemed more like blatant aggression/annoyance, and once the pair kiss for the first time at the Emporium making everything go ‘Oh hey, I do actually have feelings for this person’. However, even with the romance feeling more staged at times, Quindlen did a pretty decent job at making sure that each character had a personality, a back-story, and more emotions than a Hollywood brick wall.

As campy as it was, Quindlen made it feel like that was the intention she was going for. This book is great for teens looking for a LGBTQ friendly romance, and anyone who enjoys a good rom-com, even if they haven’t seen all of the classic ones mentioned in this novel.

If you enjoy campy 90’s teen movies and the theme of ‘Enemies to Friends/Lovers’, then read ‘She Drives Me Crazy’.

Winner: She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

I personally feel that while Himawari House was a great read and I truly enjoyed it, the winner between the two should be She Drives Me Crazy. This decision was mainly due to two reasons; one: format, and two: tone of the writing. 

As much as I, myself, enjoy reading Manga and Graphic Novels, I’m aware that a decent amount of teens do not, or choose not to. If Himawari House was written as a regular fiction novel (or movie), I feel like it would receive a lot more popularity than just what it’s been receiving. I feel like I could suggest Himawari House until I’m blue in the face, but more teens would avoid the read mainly due to the manga format.

Secondly, I feel like the tones between the two novels were also a deciding factor. While She Drives Me Crazy carries a generic ‘campy’ vibe to it, I’ve seen more teens choose ‘campy fiction’ over ‘heavy realistic fiction’; which makes sense as most people would rather read an up-beat ‘feel-good’ story over an uncomfortable realistic one.

Both novels were great contenders, and deserve all the praise they’ve received over the year! 

Britta (she/her), in all her nerd glory, is the Teen Services Coordinator at Wheaton Public Library, leading the Dungeons & Dragons club, Anime Club, and graphic novel/manga collection development. When she isn’t working, she can generally be found at home playing D&D, horror games, or dyeing her hair unnatural colors for the umpteenth time.

YASF Meeting & Professional Development – Minutes 4/14/22

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; Martha Buehler-Sullivan, YA Library Professional of the Year (Brookfield); Nicole Mills, Member at Large (Glenview); 

Maisie Iven, iRead (Naperville); Lisa Barefield, IYSI (Wheaton); Quinn Stitt (Berwyn); Erin Faxel (Orland Park); Abigail Weaver (Mount Prospect); Andrea Johnson (Mount Prospect); Jessica Tarnowski (Naperville); Yolanda Prado (ELA Area)

Cyndi Robinson (Staff Liaison)


Approval of Minutes
February 10, 2022 approved

Board Updates

  • YA Library Professional of the Year Award – Martha
    • Nominations due May 15
    • Martha touched base with all interested people for the committee
    • Last year there no were nominations until deadline closed, then they came all at once
  • Social Media – Sonya
    • Interactions – February had 1,799 across all social media platforms; March had 1,304
    • New members in February to Facebook and Twitter was 2; March was 3
  • Tournament of Books – Jennie 
    • Round 3 reviews are all up!
    • Jennie mentioned that the People’s Choice category for Round 3 is at a tie, so please vote before April 18 
    • Popular choice very different from reviewer choice this year
    • Maisie shared that they are doing the same thing at their library with March Madness. The eventual winner was Last Night at the Telegraph Club
    • Jennie encouraged everyone to start thinking about what books you want to nominate for next year. 
  • Member at Large – Nicole

YASF Updates

  • iREAD – Maisie
    • The 2023 iRead Resource Guide is now closed for submissions 
    • The iRead Committee will be chosen soon for 2024
    • If interested in joining this fun committee, contact Maisie who will put you in touch with right people: miven@naperville-lib.org
  • IYSI committee – Lisa
    • The IYSI conference theme will be Your Next Chapter
    • Cyndi – They discussed who the keynote speakers would be and will have some logos to show the committee soon
  • May RA Meeting – Iza
    • Kelly Jensen, Book Riot editor and former librarian, will talk on book censorship
    • Practical advice: overview of censorship tactics, Illinois groups to know about, how to prepare for challenges before they happen, ways to get patrons to advocate for your library.
    • The YASF meeting will start with our regular meeting, including the Tournament of Book winner, and Kelly will present after, tentatively 11am
    • Kelly’s portion will be recorded.
  • Unconference Update
    • YSF submitted the proposal and included us
    • Waiting on approval; details forthcoming
  • ILA Proposals
    • Discussion of YASF-sponsored conference proposals – aside from the Unconference and “Just Pay the Damn Teens”, submitted by Joe M., there may not be many 
    • Cyndi will get back to YASF to see if anyone submitted anything teen-focused who isn’t in the meeting
    • Is this a good year to do one of those “Ask the Teen Librarian” program?

Other Business

We discussed when to get ready to send out the call for a new incoming YASF manager. The new terms start at the October ILA meeting, as always. Other positions up, having completed their two-year term: YA Library Professional of the Year Award and Member at Large. Martha is not applying again to the YA Library Professional of the Year Award committee and she encourages people to go for it because it’s a great committee to dip your toe into being more involved in YASF/ILA/being on a committee.


  • What are libraries doing in terms of masking?
    • General consensus seems to be that most libraries are now mask optional, but that most staff continue to wear them
    • We discussed our patrons’ masking habits, including a rash of upside down face shields
    • Cyndi updated us on how the Reaching Forward Conference went, where masks were required. The staff and attendees had different colored lanyards for people depending on their comfort level with close contact, no masks, etc. No attendees complained and many were happy. Only people walking around without masks were presenters. No one is sure yet what ILA in October will be like. 
  • Summer Reading / Pride Month Programs:
    • Sonya – Everything is turned in and done. They used the iRead theme with Beanstack. They planned some nature walks and DIY Field Notebooks program. They also have a campfire ghost stories program with a bonfire on teen patio. Focusing on socializing. 
    • Jennie – They used a “Read S’more” theme. Everyone gets a s’more kit when they sign up. They are also doing a ghost story bonfire, with a ghost story writing contest for adults and teens, with the local writing group as judges. Also someone is coming with animals.
    • Maisie – They are working with the Cornell Ornithology urban bird project – teens can go birdwatching and submit birds for volunteer hours.
    • Iza – They are having volunteers paint their windows. They are using a generic Beanstack theme that has plants. 
    • Andrea – They are doing their first Pride program, low-key friendship bracelets.
    • Kylie – They are doing Pride crafting program with the button maker. They have three sessions of DEI book club and one is themed with LGBTQ experiences, called the Belonging book club. There is also an adult one. 
    • Sonya – They will be doing mental health first aid educator training, through Lake County: https://mentalhealth.today/. They are looking for more training opportunities on serving LGBTQ+ youth.
      • Lizzy Appleby presented on serving LGBTQ+ teens in 2019. She does a lot of trainings for libraries. Also her parent organization, YSGN, does general mental health youth training as well.
      • RAILS has a grant for events. We could try applying for a grant for Lizzy again. 

Tournament of Books Hot Takes:
Himawari House should win. Last Chance at the Telegraph Club got knocked out too early. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a sleeper hit. 

Map of Wanderers locations by Sonya:
Wanderers link (novel by Chuck Wendig)

Abe Lincoln Nominees:
List of Abe Lincoln nominees was great this year. The Teen Choice was Gender Queer which is amazing. 

Challenges to Gender Queer:
Wheaton has seen a bunch of challenges to this title
Maisie (Naperville) has gotten complaints but no formal challenges

Teen Book & Reading Clubs:
Andrea – They have a Teen Book Cafe, which meets every month and gives away ARCs or paperbacks. At the program, they book talk about 15 books and talk about new stuff in the collection. The teens talk about something they’re reading. It was popular when they held it at Starbucks but kept a regular group anyway. Everyone gets a free book

Kylie – Belonging Book Club – they do activities related to the book. There will be three sessions, and the teens can choose between a graphic novel, YA book, or middle grade book, then discuss the theme instead of necessarily the specific books. 

Sonya – They’re doing Readathons. Teens can hang out and read for two hours, eat snacks, and get book recommendations. “Get your summer reading done.”

DIY Volunteering Projects
Sonya – They have three events coming up: Liberation Library book marks, Operation Gratitude paracord bracelets, Project Linus no-sew blankets. 

Kylie – recommends doing the Anti-Cruelty Society homemade pet toys – https://anticruelty.org/diy

Nicole Mills – Their June service project will be fleece blankets for seniors, which are popular at a nearby nursing facility.

Yolanda – They will be partnering with Together We Rise to make kits for a bunch of organizations. They’re doing duffle bags in the summer, with a team of 4-5 teens each to decorate and pack it for foster care kids. 

Future Professional Development

Upcoming Meetings – Register here for all

  • 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

Round IV Bracket I: A Snake Falls to Earth vs White Smoke

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

Told from alternating perspectives of a human girl, Nina, and a shapeshifting-snake, Oli, this story builds two very different worlds in one. There is the world we are familiar with, and the Reflecting World that intersects with our own. The ways they are intertwined, and their similarities and differences, is built so beautifully and imbued with Lipan storytelling that Little Badger does so wonderfully.

Nina, her father and grandmother, Oli, his coyote pals and his dear friend Ami, and other side characters are brought to life throughout the story, but they are also all just so good and wholesome; there’s really no flaws or depth to any of their characters. This makes for quite a wholesome story founded on friendship, family, the preservation of culture and ancestor customs, and a hint of magic. However, this might not appeal as much to teens as it would other age groups. The unique method of storytelling is intriguing to me as an adult, but it feels very drawn out and might not capture a teen’s attention enough to finish the book (and then the ending packs a punch that’s a little too hectic). And the style and voice reads a bit young, more on the tween side than teen. However, the right teen is going to adore this and make the commitment to stick it out. 

I would recommend this to teens who really enjoyed Little Badger’s Elatsoe, because while very different, the voices read similarly young. Both stories are also unique in their asexual/aromantic representation. Teens who are fans of magical realism or folklore will really enjoy this.

If you like the Myths and Legends podcast or Spirited Away, read A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger.

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right? As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.

A mix of horror and mystery, White Smoke follows Marigold (Mari) and her family in their new home and town. Slow to start, Jackson builds up the creepy atmosphere of the story by having more and more strange things happen in the city and Mari’s new home. The city of Cedarville is brought to life by descriptions of burnt-down and dilapidated houses and the secret gentrification projects the Sterling foundation is planning. Mari, her brother Sam, and her new friend Yusef are empathetic characters that you root for and scream at to get out of harm’s way. Even more minor characters like Piper and Erika are intriguing, but are not fully formed.

Jackson’s writing gives the characters a young voice, adding in modern slang, but sometimes it feels a little forced and teens might pick up on outdated lingo. Overall, the story feels like a little too slow of a burn, with everything exploding at the end and very little actually resolved. The very real issue of drug use to cope with anxiety is a huge plot point, but it’s never fully addressed in a way that explains how to properly cope. Side characters don’t get the resolution or attention they deserve, which left me hoping that this was the first book in a series.

I would recommend this book to a teen who wants some mystery with light horror but nothing overly gory or terrifying. Someone who enjoys Rory Power or Karen McManus novels would dig this one, especially if they’re looking for a fast read and more diversity in the characters. A teen who isn’t big on romance might also enjoy this; it’s only mentioned and danced around, not a major plot point.

If you liked The Haunting of Hill House or Paranormal Activity, then read White Smoke by Tiffany Jackson.

Winner: White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke wins for its greater teen appeal and more relatable voice. A Snake Falls to Earth simply reads too young, and I don’t feel many teens are going to give it the chance it rightfully deserves to make it to the ending. Both books struggled with the same main issues that will deter teen readers: slow pacing and loose ends.

However, the pacing lends itself a bit more to Jackson’s story in that it’s a mystery and a horror novel which means building suspense and slow starts are expected. A Snake Falls to Earth is a much lighter read that takes a lot of patience to get used to its beautiful style of storytelling and that just doesn’t have the same size readership that faster paced novels do.

Jessica Brown is a Teen Librarian at the Chicago Public Library. When she’s not reading YA novels, she can be found cuddling with her dog, crocheting, or falling down the YouTube rabbit hole.

Round III Bracket IV: Me (Moth) vs She Drives Me Crazy

Me (Moth) by Amber

Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted.

Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. If he knows more about where he comes from, maybe he’ll be able to understand his ongoing depression. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones.

Moth and Sani take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors. The way each moves forward is surprising, powerful, and unforgettable.

Here is an exquisite and uplifting novel about identity, first love, and the ways that our memories and our roots steer us through the universe. 

This novel in verse by Amber McBride is an emotional journey through grief and understanding. It follows the narrator, Moth, as she struggles to accept the death of her family in a tragic car accident. Being the only survivor of that crash leaves her so wracked with guilt that she gives up a dancing career that could’ve taken her all the way to Julliard. 

What drew me into this book was originally the novel in verse format. While the pages only contain so many words, the implications and emotions they evoke move the reader quickly through the storyline. I’m pretty sure it took me only 2 hours to finish this one. 

I really enjoyed the wisdom and Hoodoo traditions that her grandfather passed down to Moth, and the relationship she establishes with the new kid in town, Sani. The diversity of the characters is just a part of the story, and never seems to be shoehorned in just to prove it is diverse. The metaphors and visual representations of the various stages of a creature’s life (i.e. caterpillar, cocoon etc.) ground the reader and give the book slightly more structure. The sense of belonging, or at the very least acceptance between Moth and Sani, is a comfort many teens struggle to find in their friends, especially when they have experienced so much. 

The prose is both moving and bittersweet, but even reading this as an adult I struggled with some of the references that went way over my head. I did not see the twist coming toward the end of the novel, but a large portion of the plot did feel familiar. Like Me (Moth), the movie, Save the Last Dance follows a young woman with promise to dance at Julliard, halting her dreams as she deals with the death of family and finding a friend who breaks them out of their shell (or cocoon). In addition, there were some questions left unanswered, like why Sani was constantly taking pills. 

Overall, this book was a haunting depiction of a teenager muddling through grief, but left a bit to be desired in the wrap-up of the book, and the ease of understanding the author’s allusions and metaphors. I think readers who enjoy a darker subject matter and a lyrical writing style would appreciate this book, but it is definitely not a light read. 

Adaptation: I think Me (Moth) would make a wonderful album if each chapter was set to a music piece. It would be like consuming the book via audio, but with an added level of rhythm and emotion.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

After an embarrassing loss to her ex-girlfriend in their first basketball game of the season, seventeen-year-old Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with her nemesis, Irene Abraham, head cheerleader for the Fighting Reindeer. When the accident sends Irene’s car to the shop for repairs, the girls are forced to carpool, and their rocky start only gets worse. In trying to get back at her toxic ex, Scottie bribes Irene into a fake-dating scheme that threatens to reveal some very real feelings.

Before I start reviewing this book, I will preface it by saying that I have never seen the 1987 film, Can’t Buy Me Love, in which, like this book, someone pays the popular girl in their school $1000 dollars to date them. Even if you have seen the movie, this is a modern, lesbian take on a classic rom-com trope (fake-dating) is both illuminating and lighthearted. 

As the premise and trope state, the main character, Scottie, ends up paying the popular girl, Irene, to fake date her. Scottie is still reeling from the break-up with her ex, Tally, so when she and Irene get into a fender bender, and the head cheerleader needs money to repair her car, it seems like the perfect solution. While popularity is not Scottie’s motivation, the additional attention the girl’s basketball team draws from the school is definitely a bonus. 

Almost as important as the romantic journey, is the personal journey Scottie makes as the story progresses. She eventually realizes she needs to be not only content but happy with herself first and foremost before expecting a romantic relationship to make her feel whole. The large cast of characters, including friends, family and other classmates are well developed and represent a diverse group of people. 

Although the main characters are both gay, neither of their plotlines is driven by the fear of coming out, but rather the struggles of who they want to be, whether that is in college or postbreakup. Both Irene and Scottie are out to their families and friends, and have not only acceptance but support from those around them. Scottie is even lovingly called “gay Ginny Weasley” for her firey red hair. One thing that really stood out to me was that even with references to many different “classic” rom-coms, there is acknowledgement by the characters that these beloved movies have their flaws and inappropriate moments. 

While this trope has been done again and again, Quindlen brought a fresh, modern perspective to this story, and filled it choc full of 80s film and music references that will leave teens nostalgic for a time they’ve never lived. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a rom-com, appreciates sports or just wants to read an engaging realistic novel. 

Adaptation: She Drives Me Crazy would either make a great rom-com movie or a great short (i.e. 1 season) TV series to really draw out the drama.

Winner: She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

These later rounds are always hard to review because the match-ups are often from completely different genres with completely different stories. That being said, I am choosing She Drives Me Crazy as the winner of this round because it has wider teen appeal and a more comprehensive story. Me (Moth) was a beautiful read, but deals with such heavy topics and outside references that I worry younger readers won’t truly understand or appreciate the story. 

Jennie Stevens is a librarian in the Adult & Teen Services Department of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Western Springs, which if you’ve never heard of it is a small Chicago suburb by Hinsdale and LaGrange. When not librarianing she is either reading, volunteering or hanging out with her fat cat, Bert.