PAYA, Bringing (More) YA to PA, is an initiative started by book bloggers Harmony and Yan with help from Tenner author and PA librarian, Josh Berk, in response to dramatic Pennsylvania state budget cuts that have reduced library funding by more than 25%. Since I grew up in Pennsylvania, this struck a chord with me. Plus, I think it is absolutely amazing and impressive that Harmony, a just-turned 15 year old, and Yan, a 17 year old student, have taken this kind of initiative and done such an incredible job organizing a website, book drive, and auction, with plans for an annual Philadelphia YA Book Festival beginning summer 2010. Oh, and that's in addition to their regular book blogging and schoolwork.
Here's what Harmony has to say about PAYA...
What inspired you to start PAYA?
PAYA was inspired by my local library and its lack of teen books due to a lack of funds. The more I talked to my librarian and other people about it, I realized it wasn't just my library hurting, but many PA libraries (and I'm sure libraries all across the country). So, I decided I needed to do something about it. Our main goal is to raise money for Pennsylvania’s libraries, with a focus on helping build Young Adult library collections and Young Adult services.
What can readers do to help?
At this point, the most important thing is spreading the word. Also, if they have a book on the wishlist of the month's featured library that they'd be willing to donate, that'd help out a lot. Another thing is to particpate in the auction, either by bidding or by offering an item. As the year progresses, there will be more opportunities for readers to help so just keep watching!
What can writers do to help?
Writers can do many of the same things that readers can. I will say that anything offered by an author in the auctions tends to go higher just because it's being offered by an author and authors are, you know, celebrities to us ;) Also, if you live in the PA/NY/NJ area and would be interested in participating in the 2010 YA Festival, email us to let us know!
Where will the funds raised go?
At this point, some will go towards paying for the 2010 YA Festival. Funds raised at the Festival and afterwards will be given to libraries across the state. So, essentially, all the money is going directly to Pennsylvania's libraries.
What do you have planned in the coming months?
Each month we'll feature a new library for the book drive and more fundraisers will be posted frequently. And our main event will be the big YA Festival for summer 2010 in Philadelphia.
I think what Harmony, Yan, and Josh are doing is truly awesome. If you agree, please help out however you can:
-blog about it
-donate to the book drive
-check out the auction, now through Nov 7: there are books, crafty things, critiques to buy and a need for more donations
Many thanks to Harmony for stopping by!