Background History of “In the Margins”

The In the Margins’ list brings national attention to self published books by, for and about people of color living in the margins and is under the umbrella of Library Services for Youth in Custody (LYSC).  It is committed to promoting and highlighting diverse books and voices that have been in the margins, which is considered by the committee to be the best books for teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody – or a cycle of all three.

The idea for the committee came out of some of the first meetings for Library Services for Youth in Custody.  The Original Founding Committee members are:

  • Chair: Amy Cheney, Juvenile Justice Center, Alameda County, CA
  • Administrative Assistant: Amy Wander, Lafayette Public Library, LA
  • Katie MacBride, Mill Valley Public Library & Marin County Juvenile Hall, CA
  • Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, Institute for Learning, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Selenia Paz, Helen Hall Library, Galveston County, TX
  • Viola Dyas, Retired, Teen Services Librarian, Berkeley Public Library, CA
  • Dr. Julie Ann Winkelstein, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Tennessee, TN

The committee’s founding member and first committee chair is Amy Cheney, along with librarians serving youth in custody, initiated the YALSA-Lockdown, a list serve specifically for librarians serving youth in custody.  The listserv led to the formation of Library Services for Youth in Custody (LYSC),  a national organization for professionals who service and advocate for youth in detention facilities in the Americas.


Founding members of Library Services for Youth in Custody saw a critical need for developing a highly dependable resource for fiction and nonfiction titles that catch the interests of youth in juvenile facilities, and established the In the Margins Book Awards and Selection Committee in 2012, with their first list announced in 2013.  The committee credits Austin Public Librarian, Kathleen Houlihan, for creating the name In the Margins!




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