Let’s Celebrate Teen Literature Day, April 17, 2014 by praising and giving thanks for the wonderful work of The Abraham Lincoln Award and the Read for a Lifetime Reading Program committees. Illinois teen librarians are so fortunate in having two lists that promote reading for high school students. At Niles Public Library, these lists are crafted into colorful brochures each spring. This allows time for recruiting new readers for both programs and also allows time for the high school students to read the four books from each list. Since most titles are also appropriate for seventh and eighth graders the brochures are distributed with Teen Summer Reading logs.

Jeanne Urbanek of the Illinois Secretary of State Office oversees Read for a Lifetime with an excellent website that contains all participation, reporting and annual lists. Here is the “Hot off The Website” 2014-2015 list. Book Selection for the list is done by a 10-12 member Read for a Lifetime Book Club of public and school librarians, teachers, administrators and parents. The first of March each year, the members receive an e-mail requesting their suggestions. Each member sends a list of 25 titles. Jeanne puts all the suggestions together and pulls out the multiple mentions. The multiple mentions comprise the core list. She sends the remaining titles back to the members and they choose 15 titles from that list. This pattern is continued until the final list of 25 titles is attained. The deadline for reading the books is usually in the middle of April. All high school students who read four or more titles from the list receive a certificate from Secretary of State Jesse White. During the first 15 years of the program 17,450 students and 123 adults from more than 500 high schools and public libraries throughout Illinois have read 78,500 books.

The Abraham Lincoln Award committee is under the supervision of the Illinois School Library Media Association Board. The committee also maintains an excellent website with voting and registration information. There is a registration fee to participate in the voting process. All registered librarians and teachers nominate adult, young adult fiction and non-fiction titles in the fall and the nomination committee selects a long list. The reading committee, after reading the nominated books carefully, meets to debate and select the final list of 22 titles. The ABE committee is fortunate to have a high school student reader panel that participates in the selection day process. All titles selected by the students are noted on the yearly list. The deadline for posting votes for the ABE award is March 15th of each year. Here is the 2015 Abraham Lincoln Award List, also hot off the website. In 2014 150 public and school libraries participated in the ABE reading program with a total of 3451 high school voters.

Both lists coordinate well. The Read for a Lifetime list includes more classic and non-fiction titles along with contemporary young adult fiction while the ABE list mostly includes recent popular young adult fiction. There was a rule in the past that all books on the ABE list had to be paperbacks but that has changed in recent years to include hardcover books. The 2014-2015 lists have only two  titles Eleanor & Park and Raven Boys on both lists.

Happy Teen Literature Day to all Illinois Young Adult Librarians!


Join the YASF Award Committee

Illinois Library Association’s Young Adult Service Forum (YASF) is looking for 4 people to serve on the YASF Award Committee. The YASF Award Committee will be responsible for reviewing nominations and selecting the winner of the Young Adult Librarian of the Year. Serving on this committee will provide committee members with an opportunity to participate in an ILA Forum, network with colleagues and get a view of the best services and practices serving Young Adults in the state of Illinois.

The Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award is a brand new award that honors Young Adult Librarians who have made an outstanding local contribution in library services to young adults in his/her community by creating and implementing library programs and services that promote a love of literature and/or instill positive feelings about libraries. A full description of the award is available here:

Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award

Committee members will be responsible for selecting the Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award winner and administering the award. Committee members should be ILA members and familiar with Teen and Young Adult Services. The committee will meet once in mid-February and once in late May. These meetings can be held remotely, so transportation is not an issue.

If you are interested in serving on this committee please contact:

Kelly Durov
Children’s Services Manager
Park Ridge Public Library
20 S. Prospect Ave.
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Learn more about the Young Adult Services Forum

Follow the Young Adult Services Forum on Facebook

And the Winner Is…

I had the distinct pleasure of serving on the 2011 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee and as my involvement ends, I pause to muse over the experience in its entirety and take a quick account of what I have gained. Of course for starters there is the massive shipment of books from publishers (over 600!), the wonderful collection of selected works, the late night soirées after long committee meetings and the responsibility of submitting commendable nominations. However the highlight has been connecting and collaborating with new peers.

Because of this experience, I have an even greater appreciation for award committees and have begun to think of ways to incorporate elements from my experience into future library-related endeavors. For example, one goal is to connect more with others who share similar interests regardless of their occupation. On the Caldecott Committee, I had the opportunity to collaborate with teachers, librarians and even an award winning author. Each unique background lent a richness and depth to the work of our committee. As a result, I am considering forming a “think tank” or “sounding board” group that will consist of librarians and non-librarians.

Paying attention to details but not missing the big picture or broader context is another lesson learned in my experience.  All in all, I cannot fully describe the delight and reward of serving on the award committee, but what I can say is that it was truly enriching and will not be soon forgotten.