This text has been adapted from the announcement of this year’s OYEA winner at the OYAN reception last night at the Oregon Library Association’s Annual Conference.
OYAN’s You’re Excellent Award is given every year to an individual, library, organization, program, or initiative that has made a positive and significant contribution to teens in libraries in the state of Oregon. The award consists of an engraved glass wedge and a monetary donation of up to $100 to the teen services program of the award recipient’s choice.
This year’s winner is a long-time teen librarian and an OYAN queen in her own right: Sonja Sommerville of the Salem Public Library! Read on to hear what her colleagues and teens say about her.
Salem Youth Services Manager Karen Fischer says, “Sonja models the best in teen services. She has made our Teen Scene a destination for Salem area teens from over 13 middle schools and eight high schools by curating a vibrant (and heavily used!) collection; encouraging teen literacy; providing leadership opportunities; partnering with a variety of local businesses and organizations to showcase teen talents; and welcoming and celebrating all teens as an important part of our community.”
Salem Youth Services Library Associate Leslie says, “Her patrons love her and are eager to participate in the creative programs she provides for them.”
14-year-old Brinsley says, “Sonja Somerville is an excellent teen librarian because she caters to teens’ interests. From Stranger Things parties to book clubs to movie days, she works tirelessly to ensure that everyone can find something they’d enjoy. Also, she gives teens leadership opportunities and fun experiences through the Teen Advisory Board.”
16-year-old Samantha says, “Sonja is generous and kind, and goes out of her way to help and be there for others. She is the reason I felt comfortable to come to the library to try new things and meet new people. I began volunteering on the library’s teen advisory board because of her, and I cannot imagine myself without it, or the friends I have made and the skills and experiences I have gained because of it.”
Teenage Sam says, “She has added so much to our library, as she is in charge of the Teen Scene and as such is behind every single thing that is done there. […] The group would never work without her.”
18-year-old Rebecka says, “I, and everyone involved in Sonja’s library social circle will agree she is past overdue for this OYEA award. She is an incredibly crucial member of the Salem Public Library’s staff. This award will finally give Sonja the recognition she has long since deserved.”