DML Postdoc Receives YALSA Writing Award

Crystle Martin

Crystle Martin

Crystle Martin, a Digital Media and Learning Research Hub postdoctoral researcher, has been selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), as a winner of its YALSA Writing Award.

YALSA chose her article in the Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults — “Connected Learning, Librarians, and Connecting Youth Interest” Vol. 6 (March 2015) — as the best in the last year. Her article’s abstract:

The purpose of this ethnographic study is to understand connected learning of youth in online communities and how these findings can influence the practice of librarians to support youth learning. Drawing from a two-and-a-half-year ethnography, I present data that was coded using the connected learning framework. This study provides insights into the role that librarians can play in the larger learning ecologies of youth. Finally, this paper gives practical implications for librarians based on the actions of youth, using a holistic approach to youth learning. It identifies librarians as ideal mentors to help youth connect their learning from interest spaces to academic and career spaces, allowing them to receive value and recognition for their skills and abilities.

Martin, of Long Beach, will be recognized at YALSA’s membership meeting at the ALA annual conference in Orlando in June. Her award includes $500 and a plaque. The YALSA Writing Award recognizes the contribution of YALSA members who have written an article or blog post for the association’s journals or blogs that is timely, original, relevant to YALSA members and well-written. Selected articles are based on the following criteria: applicability to a variety of library settings, originality of ideas, timeliness, relevance to young adult librarianship, persuasiveness of arguments, quality of writing, clarity of presentation and contribution to the YALSA membership.

For more information about YALSA, visit; call 800-545-2433, Ext. 4390; or e-mail:

Martin works as a researcher with the Connected Learning Research Network at the DML Hub at UC Irvine. Her research focuses on equity in youth learning and information practices in interest-driven environments, with particular focus on supporting underserved youth and youth connecting informal learning to academic and future opportunities. She has explored the online communities of World of Warcraft and Skyrim, and professional wrestling fan communities. She presently is studying the pathways of youth from underserved communities into Scratch, a free, online, visual coding language.

Martin holds a Ph.D. in  digital media from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, an M.L.I.S. from Wayne State University and two bachelor’s degrees — in Latin and in English — from Michigan State University.

Media Contact:
Mimi Ko Cruz
DML Research Hub