Now that conference is over and I’ve had a chance to reflect on everything, I do have to say that one of the things I am most excited about is the approval by the YALSA Board of Directors for the creation of a taskforce to develop policies and procedures for a new Readers’ Choice list (the name isn’t finalized – that’s one of the many things the taskforce will be working to determine).’ While the Board has approved this list in concept, details for implementing and administering the list need to be worked out to ensure things run smoothly and that the list effectively serves our members.’ Coordinating the nominations, opinions and voting of thousands of members will take some real thought and planning.’ I’m sure current YALSA President Linda Braun, who will be appointing the members of the taskforce, would love to hear from anyone interested in serving on the group charged with developing the specifics for how this new list will work.
Quite a bit of the feedback I have seen over the past several years from our members indicates that many are anxious to contribute to YALSA virtually.’ This new list will offer a chance to do this in a new and exciting way.’ Not only do I think this list will offer all of our members a chance to share their opinions and expertise, on a personal note, after having the opportunity to serve YALSA for three years as a member of the Board of Directors, this is just the kind of participation I’m looking forward to in the future. ‘ A chance to stay connected without necessarily traveling to conference, reading great books at my own pace, finding out if my thoughts about the books I love are reflected by my peers and friends in YALSA – what a great way to contribute to and benefit from the Association.’ I can’t wait to see the fantastic list that I know will be produced by pulling together the collective knowledge of all of our amazing members!
I’m excited about the possibility of having a broader range of YALSA members contributing virtually, but I hope that the tast force considers the benefits of having both a popular Reader’s Choice list that all librarians can vote on, and retaining the BBYA Committee whose members will be able to read all the YA books published. It’s a physical impossibility for many publishers to supply nearly 6,000 YALSA members with ARCs and galleys of every YA book published, so by necessity the Reader’s Choice list will miss input on books that many librarians are unable to read. Having greater participation is wonderful, but it would be a pity for books from smaller publishers to go unnoticed and unrecognized. With separate mandates, each list could serve a specific purpose in helping all YA librarians choose which books they wish to acquire for their libraries.
Speaking of the Task Force that will work to develop the Reader’s Choice guidelines, YALSA is aware that the guidelines developed for the list may have to be updated once the list is up and running. In the proposal for the list presented to the Board at Annual, there is an evaluation plan that takes into account that in the first years of the list revisions to the nominating and voting process might be necessary. As with the beta approach used by many businesses these days, YALSA will look to the guidelines as a way to get the list started and then as we see how it works (and doesn’t work) we’ll make changes in order to help guarantee success.
Anyone who is interested in being on the Reader’s Choice Task Force should definitely get in touch. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The guidelines are going to be an important component in getting the Reader’s Choice process up and running.
I’m very much looking forward to giving members this opportunity for virtual (and active) participation.