readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

10 Year Celebration and a Fond Farewell

Dearest readergirlz,

When we began this nonprofit organization ten years ago, readers in all demographics did not have access to authors. This access was our aim, our mission. The founders of readergirlz were driven to make those connections around the world. And we did.

Beginning in Myspace, traveling to Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter, readers connected directly with young adult authors. One such memory: midnight, October 31, 2008, readers around the world chatted with Stephenie Meyer, and we sat back with glee. Whether a best seller or not, we brought  diverse books to the spotlight, including the quiet and profound, such as No Laughter Here.

Our second passion over the ten years has been to get books into the hands of underserved teens. Readergirlz dropped hundreds of thousands of books to teens in hospitals and on Tribal Lands with the help of amazing partners like YALSA, First Book, and If I Can Read I Can Do Anything. Around the world, readergirlz celebrated Support Teen Lit Day and Teen Read Week by leaving young adult books in public places to be found by other readers. Operation Teen Book Drop and #RocktheDrop brought joy to many.

Our motto has been: Read, Reflect, and Reach Out. We have done that together. At our busiest, there were 30 volunteers from across the industry giving their time to books that featured gutsy girls and to the gutsy readers themselves. Librarians, teachers, booksellers, bloggers, and authors gave generously. Our funding was from our own pockets, libraries and schools who generously donated, and award money we garnered from The James Patterson PageTurner Award and The National Book Foundation's Innovation in Learning Prize. We never sold ad space to remain unbiased in bringing the best literature forward to you.

In ten years, we have seen girls graduate high school, enter the workforce, go to college, pursue master's degrees, marry, and have children. Together, we mourned the passing of one of our dearest. We miss her still.

Readergirlz, you have encouraged one another and motivated authors to keep writing. Some of you have grown to become writers yourselves. And we are so happy for you! You are gutsy women, strong citizens, and it is an honor walk beside you.

In light of the ease and accessibility today to find, follow, and enjoy connections between authors and readers, the co-founders, divas, and support team are returning to their own work fully, ending readergirlz. Many former contributors will continue to write the very best books for the very best readers, young adults. The readergirlz website will be active through the end of 2017. The blog is complete, archiving our past, and it will remain accessible but not active.

As an aside, I, Lorie Ann Grover, will keep the readergirlz facebook page open as I love occasionally sharing what crosses my desk and having a touch point with you in the future.

So, raise a book, to what we created together, rgz. It has been an honor to read together, reflect together, and reach out together. I speak for all who worked in our organization over the 10 years: we love you so, and we will see you soon. In person or on page.

<3 Lorie Ann Grover

with Justina Chen, Janet Lee Carey, Dia Calhoun, Little Willow, Holly Cupala, Martha Brockenbrough, Micol Ostow, Melissa Walker, Mitali Perkins, Liz Gallagher, Elizabeth Scott, Sara Easterly, Jackie Parker-Robinson, Hipwritermama, Miss Erin, ShelfElf, Jen, Kat Ogden, Bethany Hegadus, Crissa Jean Chappell, Stephanie Guerra, Rene Kirkpatrick, Judy Nelson, Sharon Levin, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Professor Nana, Priya, Silence is Golden, Vanessa, Sarah, Enna Isalee, Jacqueline, Olivia, Alex, Marlena, Taylor, Vampire, and Nancy Pearl