Sorry this will be quick & short & not finely edited.
YALSA's Board is meeting at Annual; do I usually read the Board documents, unless they are highlighted somewhere thru a message to YALSA BK or the YALSA Blog? No. So when Jen Hubert began reading them yesterday, as I was packing, and shared the information that YALSA Board was entertaining a proposal to eliminate BBYA, I thought she was kidding.
Right after this proposal (so apparently linked to it) is a proposal to instead have a "Readers Choice" when anyone can vote on a short list and then all members can use that short list to vote on a top 5 per category, and that is the New BBYA: Reader's Choice.
I had heard & supported the idea that BBYA needed tinkering -- say, remove GNs from BBYA because there is now a GN list. Or open BBYA up to allow virtual attendance by committee members for Midwinter. I had no idea it was to: "implement a phase out of the Best Books for Young Adult Committee and list"
Source: (you need to be a YALSA member to access): Modernizing Selected List Portfolio (and cheers to Jen, who found this despite the title not saying BBYA and BBYA being the only list being "modernized")
Instead, we get a Reader's Choice award, which is not about opening up committee slots for virtual members but about organizing a popular vote with anyone voting to create a short list, then YALSA members voting for a top 5. (I'll let the math/statistics among you realize that smaller, quieter books and small publishers won't have a chance in this type of arrangement).
I say "instead of" because Readers Choice List, while not mentioned in Modernizing, follows that proposal immediately on the agenda.
I plan to rearrange my schedule and other commitments to attend these meetings. Please comment here to let YALSA know what you think, or blog about it, or Tweet it.
Oh, reasons for getting rid of BBYA:
-- there is overlap with other lists, like adult, nonfiction and GN. (my reply: then narrow BBYA to fiction).
-- number of books published for YA has increased (query: how many books does ALSC's Notables read?)
--membership wants greater participation in list selection. (my reply: then open up the list selection to virtual members! don't remove a list, therefore limiting members' options, and replace it with a participation that will mean little is "I voted for Readers Choice" going on a resume?).
-- BBYA is not useful. (my reply: It's useful to me!!! For collection development, creating booktalks, booklists, etc.)
-- workload issues amongst Committee members. (my reply: see above, for narrowing the scope).
As for Readers Choice; I'm packing. Could I support this in addition to BBYA? Yes. But instead of? I don't have enough time to discuss it. Just: NO.
Edited to add: Alex Flinn does a great job of both explaining the importance of BBYA & the flaws in using Readers Choice as a substitute.
Cindy Dobrez & Lynn Rutan at Bookends share their opinion.
I WILL HAVE LIMITED ABILITY TO EDIT THIS DURING ANNUAL. So PLEASE if you post something about this, include your link in the comments because I will not be able to edit this post for much longer.
© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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