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Gene Luen Yang Lends Support to Highlight the Transformation of Libraries as 2016 National Library Week Honorary Chair

CHICAGO  Libraries of all types consistently transform lives through free access to technology, digital literacy, career development, and opportunities for community engagement and lifelong learning.  In celebration of the invaluable contributions of librarians, library workers and the nation’s libraries, thousands will celebrate National Library Week, April 10 – 16.

The 2016 National Library Week theme is Libraries Transform, and Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2016 – 2017), will lend his support to highlight the value of libraries of all types as National Library Week Honorary Chair. Those celebrating National Library Week will have free access to publicity tools featuring Yang. Downloadable items will include social media artwork, print and audio PSAs, as well as a special video message. All items will be available for download at ala.org/nlw

“We are so pleased to have Yang as the honorary chair of the 2016 National Library Week,” said American Library Association President Sari Feldman. “His highly acclaimed work is an example of the ways libraries can embrace diversity of thought, interests and readership.  This level of community engagement is the transformation that we celebrate in our libraries during National Library Week. Just as libraries are dynamic places, Yang’s graphic novels contribute to the changing landscape of excellent titles available for our nation’s readers.”   

Gene Luen Yang is an award-winning graphic novelist. For more than 15 years, his work has enticed readers to explore stories with dynamic illustrations and thought provoking plots. Yang transformed the traditional form of books and reading with his 2006 graphic novel American Born Chinese (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/First Second Books). The novel received the coveted Michael Printz award; an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album; and was the first graphic novel recognized as a finalist for a National Book Award.

Other notable successes include the popular comics adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the New York Times bestselling graphic novel diptych Boxers & Saints– also a National Book Award Finalist, and the first ever graphic novel to win the LA Times Book Prize for Young Readers. His latest series, Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), features kids and computers, plus a mystery. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be Honorary Chair of National Library Week,” said Yang. “Libraries were such an important part of my childhood, and they’re an important part of my life today.  I visit my local library to research, to read, to write, and to be inspired. I’m deeply grateful for our nation’s libraries and librarians.”

Yang will travel nationwide over the course of his term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature to promote his platform, “Reading Without Walls,” showing kids and teens that reading is a vital part of their lives, and speaking to parents, teachers, librarians—everyone invested in young people’s literacy—about how better to connect with kids and teens and help them love reading.

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program is administered by Every Child a Reader in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Financial support for the National Ambassador program in 2016 is provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Penguin Young Readers Group, Random House Children’s Books, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is an annual observance by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. National Library Week celebrations include the release of the ALA’s 2016 “State of America’s Libraries Report,” April 11; National Library Workers Day, April 12; National Bookmobile Day, on April 13; and the celebration of School Library Month throughout April.

For more information on National Library Week please visit ILoveLibraries.org, or follow hashtag #nlw16.  

About ALA
Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide leadership in the transformation and the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services as well as the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About Every Child a Reader (ECAR)
Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. ECAR administers programs including Children’s Book Week, the annual celebration of books and reading, and the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country; the Children’s Choice Book Awards, the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by kids and teens of all ages; and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program. Please visit cbcbooks.org/about/every-child-a-reader/ for more information.

Macey Morales
Deputy Director, Public Awareness Office

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