Remember that “I’m a bad YA librarian because” meme? Here’s mine: I’m a bad YA librarian because I don’t have a pick for the 2009 Printz.
Not because there are just too many candidates and I can’t decide, but because I just didn’t spend 2008 reading literary YA books. I read a lot of street lit. I read all the titles nominated for my two Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults subcommittees. I read a few titles that were getting the attention of librarians and teens, and I read the titles I was asked to review.
Beyond that, my librarian-ly energies went to different areas of the profession: school outreach, local programming, technology, gaming, collection maintenance, and coordinating teen volunteers. Overall, I’m proud of the work I did in 2008, so I was surprised when a few weeks ago, I noticed myself getting anxious about not having a Printz favorite.
Then I realized why: Midwinter.
Get enough librarians in one place and even we introverts will start making conversation. And at Midwinter, when the annual Youth Media Awards are announced, “What’s your pick for the Printz?” seems like a natural way to break the ice. The thought of not having a pick makes me doubt myself: what kind of librarian am I if I don’t have an answer for the question everybody’s asking?
Don’t get me wrong. I deeply respect the work of the Printz committee, and I am so proud to be part of a profession that is entrusted with shaping the field of young adult literature. But it’s also worth reminding ourselves that we’ve all been working hard this year, whether reading the literary creme de la creme, setting up game tournaments, exploring new technologies…
On that note, I’d like to explore some alternative conversation starters for Midwinter 2009. Here are a few I came up with:
- What have your teens been reading this year?
- What are you working on at your school/library?
- What’s your (or your teens’) favorite new game?
- What’s your (or your teens’) current favorite website?
- What was your most successful program this year?
- What are your teens’ second favorite vampire books?
Feel free to add your own in the comments.