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The Zion-Benton Public Library's Dawn Abron Wins 2014 MAE Award

The Young Adult Library Services Association (Y.A.L.S.A.), a division of the American Library Association (A.L.A.), awarded Dawn Abron, Teen Associate at the Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, Illinois, the 2014 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the ALA announced on Friday, February 21, 2014. The MAE Award provides $500 to the recipient and $500 to the recipient’s library.

It is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Ms. Abron created a program called the Book Concert Series, in which a concert/party is held that features a booktalk event with approximately twenty titles from a chosen genre, as well as music, food, a photo booth and a craft.

This is an ongoing event, and a different genre is chosen every two months. Teens earn raffle tickets by bringing friends, tweeting/Facebooking their photo booth pictures, and answering trivia questions.

They use their raffle tickets to win prizes that include the books featured at the event, autographed books, bags, bookmarks and posters. The "concert" portion of the event always features a Skype visit from an author or viewing of a live author event.

The purpose of the Book Concert Series is to show teens that there are a vast amount of books in each genre, and this program introduces them to read-a-likes and encourages continued reading. District teachers have heard about the program and have chosen books from the lists to introduce to their teens. The library sees an influx of visits following these events.

“I believe my program is significant because all libraries do readers’ advisory at the reference desk and booktalks at school but we go the extra mile to make readers’ advisory fun for larger groups,” explained Abron in her winning application. “The value in this is teens do not have an opportunity to stop reading. They are consistently presented with new books, genres, and authors.”

The 2014 YALSA MAE Award Jury members are Laurie Amster-Burton, Chair, Seattle World School (Wash.); Tony Carmack, Placer County Library, Rocklin, Calif.; Elizabeth Hanisian, Lewisville Public Library (Texas); Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County Library System (N.M.); and Marcela Peres, Lewiston Public Library (Maine).

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