A group of first-time YA authors have banded together to adopt 15 school and public libraries, offering participating sites the chance to receive a set of 15 books, Skype author visits, and virtual Q&As.
Starting on March 18, interested libraries that serve teens can apply to be a part of the project spearheaded by the Freshman Fifteens—a group of YA authors with 2015 debuts—called “Freshman in the Stacks.” Two Grand Prize recipients will be selected, garnering a full Freshman Fifteens library—one copy of each of the 15 authors’ debuts, along with book-related swag. Applications will be accepted until April 24, in time for School Library Month.
In addition to the Grand Prize winners, 13 locations will each receive a “Book Club Prize Pack,” which includes 10 copies of one of the authors’ debut title and a Skype visit or an online interview. The Fifteens include Victoria Aveyard, whose book Red Queen (HarperCollins, Feb.) is already a New York Times best seller, and Dallas school librarian and the initiative’s lead organizer, Jenny Martin, whose Tracked (Dial) publishes in May.
“This community of teen fiction writers is really mission-focused, and we’ve been looking for every opportunity to give back to teens, and the larger YA community. We’ve volunteered for teen writing workshops, school visits, and we’ve also mentored teens as they created a short story anthology,” Martin shares with School Library Journal. But this time, the group wanted a more concrete way to reach libraries and teens.
The Fifteens hope that a range of libraries apply for the free collection development opportunity, school, public, or even specialized programs—any place that teens are being served. “We want to be as inclusive as possible. We don’t want to discount any [type of] library. If there’s special program in a low-income neighborhood or any kind of special circumstances, we want to know about it,” adds Martin.
Applicants are asked to fill out a short Google Form, which requests information about the library, its teen programming, and any special circumstances that the authors should know about while making their decisions. The two Grand Prize winners will be selected by a group consensus, while the individual authors will have more of a say in which libraries they will be adopting. Each Book Club winner will be featured on the “Freshman Fifteen” blog.
Bringing her own experience as a school librarian to the project, Martin says, “I know how taxing grant work is and it’s a barrier for many.” She and the group believe that this project can be a drop in the bucket for libraries and young adults in need. “I’m hoping it will build some lasting connections with teens and the school librarians. It’s a community that nurtured and developed us. We want to do the same for teens.”
This article was featured in our free SLJTeen enewsletter.
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