Thursday, January 21, 2010

Using YALSA Awards and Lists

If you read the YALSA Board Documents concerning the changes to YALSA's lists and awards (aka The BBYA Changes), you see that the documents state that "There is concern among member leaders that the portfolio of YALSA’s lists, as they are now, are not useful to many members or the library community."

I'm a list type of gal. Give me a list like BBYA, and the first thing I'm doing is counting up how many I read and wonder if I can fit in reading the ones I didn't. Of course, YALSA and BBYA doesn't exist to give guidance to Liz on What To Read Next.

So, for those of you who think "the list isn't useful to me!" here are the ways I have used the YALSA lists. Please add any other ideas in the comments.

Collection Development. Does my library own this book?

Booktalks. When looking for new books to booktalk (either one on one or to groups), I go to the YALSA lists for new titles.

Displays. Displays can be themed to the list (a BBYA display) or just useful for other displays (non-fiction, fantasy, etc.)

Other Booklist Nerds. I'm not unique in using lists like this to guide reading; I'm sure that the list as a booklist (either whole or in part -- 90 titles is a lot to fit on a bookmark!) will be appreciated by many teens.

Book Discussions. Whether its traditional (finding the one book to read) or open ended (reading any book), the lists are great for book discussion ideas. This is also true for ongoing nominated lists; many librarians like to use the nominated titles instead of waiting for the selected lists or awards.

So, how else do you use the lists and awards, either personally, professionally, or with teens?

If you're a non-librarian, do you use these lists? Do you want to know more about them?

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Paige Y. said...

I would say "all the above" about lists. I especially use the lists for collection development.

Is it my imagination, or is the BBYA list for this year "extra-large?" I do think a list of perhaps 40 - 50 titles would be more appropriate.

I am also happy to see national awards for so many categories, not just the Newbery and Caldecott -- it gives me so much more to discuss with my students.

Angie said...

All of the above! And, to elaborate, I use them in education and training for other librarians.

In a small, impoverished state where many libraries have small staff, sometimes without any children's librarian, much less teen librarians, I often do trainings for librarians, at state conferences, workshops, and with the state library. Having YALSA's lists available as educational tools is amazingly helpful, not just for me as a trainer, but for paraprofessionals who need and appreciate the guidance, insight, and hard work of teen specialists. They can then use the YALSA lists to not only help them decide WHAT to buy but to provide a budget justification for WHY.

I've observed this first hand in both New Mexico and Mississippi, and I am sure it's true in other states as well. I know it's easy to forget if you live in a huge metropolitan area, but I cannot stress enough these lists are SO useful in a THOUSAND ways to librarians and paraprofessionals in poorer areas. I feel lucky to be able to share them and so proud to be part of the organziation that selects them.

Believe me, I could go on about this aspect for days. (and I just might!)

Anne said...

All of the above, AND I have used BBYA lists countless times to reassure parents that the books I'm recommended are officially quality books. The endorsement of being on the BBYA list can make a book "okay" to a concerned parent (my community happens to have a lot of parents who think their teens should only be reading books that are edifying, and BBYA is helpful for getting books the teens want to read into their hands).

Sarah Stevenson said...

As a non-librarian, I fall more into the "booklist nerd" category. Exploring that in a little more detail, though, it's only partly because of my love of lists and of reading and discovering great new titles that have been vetted by a knowledgeable set of people. As a writer, it's also critical to me to be aware of what's out there in my genre that's getting attention by librarians. I personally think that it's a valuable service, and could be even more valuable to the individual consumer, the homeschooler, even the YA reader, if they knew where to look.

Hopefully we bloggers are helping to bring the lists to the attention of interested readers who might not otherwise know about them.

Jennie said...

All of the above! (Except collection development, because I don't do anything with that. But, if I did do collection development, I would use these lists.)

Every year my system has a notable books discussion (one for kids, one for teens) where librarians have to read certain books and then we get together and discuss them. These lists are used extensively when deciding which books are put on the reading list for that meeting.

Professionally, I also take a much closer look at the books that appear on multiple lists. Those are the books I make sure I know about, if I can't actually read them.

Tasha said...

I too use the lists for everything you have mentioned. When we get a parent or community member questioning a title in our collection, BBYA really helps. Because the lists are large, inclusive and really have titles that the kids love and therefore titles that push the limits too, we often find books we have complaints about in the lists.

And what that does is allows us to have a conversation with the person about why this is a good book for teens, why it is in our library, and they don't have to just take our word for it.

I love the size, variety and scope of all of the BBYA lists and look forward to them every year.

Liz B said...

Paige, I think I have to double check the policies for BBYA but I think the list no. is more about how many get at least 9 votes, rather than a set number of titles. I also think all nominated titles isn't all that is read, just what gets the extra nomination.

Angie, all great points. I know I am spoiled by being in NJ, with well funded libraries and close to NY (so have access to publishers, etc).

Anne, good point for these lists being not just used in formal defense of titles but also in creating a sense of trust with parents.

a.fortis, I haven't looked to see how many non-librarian book bloggers blog about these lists. thanks for the input about authors.

jennie, that reminds me of something else! many state teen awards use the YALSA lists to create their own nominated title lists.

Michelle said...

I'm one of those book list nerds. I love them, they help me pick up books I wouldn't necessarily know about or think to choose as I'm browsing the shelves.

Cindy Dobrez said...

Ditto on your uses and all of them in the contents. Here are a few others.

Book Fair companies are often in the BBYA audience looking for titles to add to the offerings in their collections for sale to teens. Sad that Nonfiction will no longer be a part of this process.

BBYA designation helps sell a book in paperback.

I present the BBYA lists to state conferences and local educators and librarians. For many it is their main source of collection development and it has brought YALSA's name and reputation to many school librarians in our state.

I watch the nominations as they roll in for books I have missed to consider for purchase or for blogging.

Our teen BBYA group uses the nomination lists for focusing our book discussion and we argue about what has and has not been nominated. Again, I'm sorry to lose the nonfiction from this discussion with our teens. I'm contemplating compiling starred nonfiction reviews in its place this year but it will take extra work.