YALSA Appoints Associate Professor Joni Bodart as Chair of the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee
Dr. Bodart’s Experience in Young Adult Literature Made Her a Top Choice

Dr. Joni Bodart

Dr. Joni Bodart, associate professor at the San José State University School of Information, has been selected to serve as virtual chair of the Margaret A. Edwards 2023 Award Committee. The appointment is set to last one year, starting on February 1, 2022, and ending January 31, 2023.

The Margaret A. Edwards Award was established in 1988 and “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Bodart said on the creation of the award, “I remember how excited I was when the committee was proposed and created to honor a woman who did so much to create first the idea and then the reality of library professionals who worked only or primarily with the teens in their communities.”

The author chosen as a recipient for the Margaret A. Edwards Award will have work that is “helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.” The award-winning author will receive a $2,000 prize from the School Library Journal.

The Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee was established by YALSA. Their mission is to “provide equitable, diverse and inclusive teen services” to those in the library profession. YALSA carries out that mission through outreach and providing resources to teens and library staff alike.

Bodart had previously served on the committee as a group member twice and was invited to chair based on her experience in young adult literature. Bodart has published 21 books on young adult literature with a wide variety of topics ranging from “controversial fiction titles for teens” and “the popularity and use of monsters in young adult literature.” She was also awarded the Scholastic Library Publishing Award in 2010. Some of her other research topics include “disconnected youth” and “adolescent culture.”

Bodart has been an associate professor at the School of Information since 2012. She teaches courses in the iSchool’s fully online Master of Library and Information Science program.

As virtual chair, Bodart will be working with a group of volunteers during the year. The group will form a committee, which will be able to nominate an unlimited number of authors and titles. Some of the criteria for nominees are popularity, literary quality, and if they “help adolescents to become aware of themselves and to answer their questions about their role and importance in relationships, society and in the world.”

Bodart states that the award “requires the author to be aware of the impact of their books, and craft them to help teens become more aware of themselves and their place in the world. This is an author who knows they can change the lives of the teens who read their books, and who writes their books to promote that positive change.”

The chair is a representative and spokesperson of the group. Since the committee is virtual, Bodart will select the best method of communication and delegate responsibility to each group member. Chair appointments will also have to uphold YALSA’s policies and code of ethics, as well as keep their mission in mind. Those appointed to chair also provide coaching and support to group members. Bodart says that she is “honored” to be selected as virtual chair and “eagerly anticipates leading the committee through the exciting and suspenseful process of finding an author.”