I get excited about things like source notes and good design. I love a book that engages and teaches at the same time; I love one that shines a light on who we are, who we’ve been, and who we may one day be. I love a good read. It is because of these things that I’m running for the selection committee of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. I am extremely honored to be nominated for a selection committee position this early in my career, and I feel that my passion for quality nonfiction, commitment to teen literature and librarianship, and experience as a reviewer and awards committee member will make me a valuable asset to this committee.
In my five-and-a-half years as a public services librarian, I have taken as many opportunities as possible to learn more about the field and to contribute to it. I served three years as a member of the CYBILS awards in the Middle Grade/Young Adult nonfiction category. I have also served on the Maryland Blue Crab committee and have judged other writing competitions for teens and adults, including the Aspen Gold Romance Competition in the YA category of the PASIC Book of Your Heart competition. I review books here on my blog and for School Library Journal. I’m a member of the DCKidlit book club. I studied YA literature in grad school and taken online classes through ALA. I have attended several trainings and conferences on YA lit. I’ve even organized and presented at a few. (Including MLA this May-- if you’re going to be there, please stop by!)
I am lucky enough to have been able to travel to several countries and around the US. I spent a semester studying in Nanjing, China and spent a year living and working in Manchester, England. I grew up in the Midwest and now live on the East Coast. If I had so much money that I’d never have to work again, I’d spend my days sitting in the various cafes of the world, reading and talking about books. My experience with other cultures and places gives me a broader perspective on the world that makes me a more thoughtful reader and a better evaluator, and is extremely beneficial when working with a wide variety of people.
This is an exciting time to be a fan of nonfiction for young adults. In the last few years we’ve seen an explosion of titles coming out-- both original work and young reader editions of adult titles. As with any publishing boom, there exists considerable variation in the quality of titles coming out. I am excited about the opportunity to serve YALSA and help honor the best titles for teens in this field. Long time readers of this blog know that I am a voracious reader, not only in terms of quantity but also genre and age-range. I love reading broadly in a field to help pick out the best titles. I love discussing and debating titles with other people just as passionate about this as I am. I feel my professional, educational, and life experience will make me a valuable asset to this committee.
I hope you’ll consider voting for me. If you have ANY questions for me, please leave them in the comments or email me (kidsilkhaze at yahoo dot com) and I’ll answer them here.
Nitty Gritty details:
Grinnell College, BA, 2002 Major in History and Chinese Studies
CIEE Nanjing University, 2000 (study abroad program) Chinese language and Culture
University of Maryland, iSchool, MLIS, 2008
Library Associate II, Youth Services, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System 2005-present
Other interesting jobs I’ve had:
Sales person and teacher at Knit A Round Yarn Shop (Ann Arbor, MI)
Cataloger for the MathSciNet database (Ann Arbor, MI)
Cashier Manager at the People’s Food Co-op (Ann Arbor, MI)
Marketing Department Assistant, The Bridgewater Hall (Manchester, England)
Costumer Shop Stitcher for the Grinnell College Theater Department (Grinnell, IA)
Awards I’ve Been Involved With:
The Maryland Library Association Blue Crab Young Reader Award, which honors the best in beginning and transition fiction and non-fiction for children, 2008-2010.
The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (CYBILS), judging committee for Middle Grade and Young Adult nonfiction, 2007, 2008; nominating committee for Middle Grade and Young Adult nonfiction, 2009.
Selection Committee for the National Endowment of the Humanities/ALA We the People Bookshelf, 2008.
PASIC Book of Your Heart Competition, Young Adult Field Judge, 2008.
Aspen Gold Romance Competition, Final Round Judge, 2007.
Presentations and Trainings:
The Prince George's County Memorial Library System Notable Teen Books Committee, 2007, 2008. This is an in-system training and discussion on notable teen books that librarians should be aware of. In 2009, this stopped being organized by committee. This spring, I am co-organizing the discussion.
Panel discussion "It's All About the Blog: Approaches for Book Reviewers" at the 2009 Kidlitosphere Conference in Arlington, VA.
Invited to present at the Maryland Library Association Annual Conference in 2009 on the topic, "What's New in Young Adult Literature." (see page 7 for an article about the presentation.) The first half was part of the YALSA roadtrip; the second half looked at popular trends in teen literature. The hour-long presentation introduced the audience to 175 current teen titles. This presentation was very well received by the standing-room only crowd. Based on the positive feedback, I was asked to give the presentation again for in-system training.
Developed and moderated a panel discussion at the Maryland Library Association Annual Conference in 2010, "The Millennials Turn 30." (see page 13 for an article about the discussion)
This year, I was invited again to give a presentation on a Teen Literature topic at the Maryland Library Association Annual Conference. This May, I will be presenting “Windows and Mirrors: Multicultural and International Literature for Teens.”