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.

About Megan Honig

Megan Honig is the Teen Collection Specialist at the New York Public Library. When not blogging for YALSA, Megan can be found writing fiction herself, challenging negative attitudes toward street lit, and shocking teens by beating them at Dance Dance Revolution. Megan is also a member of YALSA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee.

2 Thoughts on “Beyond Printz Picks: Conversation Starters for Midwinter

  1. Kat Werner on January 14, 2009 at 11:24 pm said:

    My teens have picked up more fantasy this year, and of course the urban lit has been popular. Romance is also big. Right now I am planning a video game tournament to fundraise for the Summer Reading Program.

    As with many other libraries, vampires are very popular at my library. Twilight, of course, leads the way. Close behind that is the Vampire Kisses series. Other popular vampy fiction is: Vampire Knight, Chibi Vampire, and Vampire Academy.

  2. My teens are into series books: Drama High is an addition that has been quite successful. I’ve ordered books from the Honey Blonde Chica series, which I suspect will be very successful with our Hispanic girls and Derek Shan’s Demonata series for the boys that enjoy Cirque du Freak.

    The Prinz award winners scarcely circulate, while we have a waiting list for all the Stephanie Meyer books.

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