Giving You the Best of the Best: It's a Process
June 29, 2012
I have a confession to make. I was more than a little bit nervous when I set out for Anaheim, California last week. In hindsight though, that nervousness is downright silly. I had one of the greatest experiences of my life!
A little backstory: I'm on YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults selection committee. Over the past several months, we've all been reading feverishly, nominating those titles we felt were worthy of discussion. We then met in Anaheim to debate the merits of the books we'd nominated. Certain titles were universally loved. Others turned out to be popular with only a few committee members. And there were, of course, plenty of times when we were evenly split. It became clear that we are products of our environments. The gritty work of street lit that was nominated was readily embraced as necessary by the librarian from Brooklyn, New York, but the small-town South Carolinian felt uncomfortable putting it on the shelf. The illicit affair depicted in one title would be grounds for a challenge in one library system but would probably be accepted in another. Our discussions showed us all that, when it comes down to it, we have to consider multiple cultures and perspectives when we're deciding what goes onto the final list. It's a daunting task!
It's not over yet. In January, I'll be traveling to Seattle, Washington for ALA's Mid-Winter Meeting where the committee will be finalizing its work, selecting those titles that teens, librarians, teachers, and caregivers all over the country will turn to when making reading recommendations. It's great to be a part of something so important!
Outside of meetings, I had the opportunity to visit Disneyland for the first time ever. If you go sometime, you simply HAVE to check out Star Tours. It's a Star Wars-themed simulator, and it's awesome! I also got to attend a dinner sponsored by the sci-fi/fantasy publisher Tor. George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series that includes Game of Thrones was in attendance. Sadly, I didn't get his autograph. Sorry!
The trip concluded with a tour of Hollywood (apparently the rock icon Alice Cooper was among those who donated money to help save the famous Hollywood sign on the mountain) and the Printz Awards. The video above isn't from ALA, but Daniel Handler performed it at Printz, too! It does a good job of defining the role of libraries in our lives, don't you think?
I can't wait to see what Seattle has in store! I also wanted to remind everyone that anyone can submit a title for consideration by our committee. We'd also love to hear teen feedback, since, you know, this list is for teens. Don't be shy!
North Independence Branch