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O’Neal Library goes to great lengths to review and evaluate materials for the collection. Three librarians go even further by serving on national committees that choose books to be recognized for prestigious awards.

Matt Layne will serve on the selection committee for the Michael L. Printz Award which recognizes the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. The award was created to highlight literary works of excellence written for a young adult audience. "This is my third review committee to serve on for the Young Adult Library Services Association, and the one I've had my sites on since I was studying for my library master's. So, when I was offered the chance to be a part of the 2022 committee, I couldn't refuse. It's so exciting to take part in choosing such an honor for an author and book," explains Layne, "I love getting to meet other librarians from around the country, especially young adult librarians. This type of committee work requires you to be holed up in a board room for several days as you deliberate over which book will rise to the top. You get to build up strong connections and friendships during that time, and you get insight to the perspectives and experiences of librarians from across the country and occasionally from around the world. I really appreciate the help and support of our wonderful library and board in making my participation on the Printz Committee a reality!" 

Michelle Cheng has been chosen to serve on the selection committee for the William C. Morris Young Adult Debut Award. This award celebrates the achievement of a previously unpublished author, or authors, who has/have made a strong literary debut in writing for young adult readers. The committee will be looking for books which will “illuminate the teen experience and enrich the lives of readers through its excellence, demonstrated by 1) compelling, high-quality writing and/or illustration; 2) its proven or potential appeal to a wide range of teen readers; and 3) the integrity of the work as a whole.” "I have read several Morris Award books from past years, and they truly leave you breathless and in awe," Ms. Cheng explained, "It is a wonderful experience to absorb a book that makes you feel seen, heard, thoughtful, and vulnerable. The process of finding literary treasures in young adult literature fascinates me, and I am honored to finally experience it for myself." About working colleagues from all over the nation, Ms. Cheng added, "I am excited to discuss books with my committee peers. Everyone on the 2022 Morris Award committee has such unique experiences and perspectives. There is so much I can learn from them as the youngest member.  

Gloria Repolesk was contacted by the President of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Kirby McCurtis, to serve as the chair of the Children's Literature Lecture Award Committee. This is not the first time that Gloria has served on a national level committee, as she was also part of the 2020 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee. The Children's Literature Lecture Award Committee invites "an individual of distinction" - an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children's literature - to prepare a paper and deliver a corresponding lecture. The paper will subsequently be published by the ALSC. The purpose of the award is to "celebrate scholarship and critical thinking about literature for children". Gloria looks forward to serving on the committee, "I am excited about celebrating contributions to the field that I care deeply about", she stated. Past recipients of the Children's Literature Lecture Award include Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Neil Gaiman, Dr. Debbie Reese, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Jaqueline Woodson. Repolesk adds, “I feel the job as a member of a selection committee is to try and find distinguished books that children will fall in love with.”