In February we are posting interviews with each of the 2012 Candidates for YALSA Award Committees. This week we are focusing on the Excellence in Non-fiction Award Committee. ‘ Each day this week we’ll post an interview with one of the candidates for that committee. We are posting alphabetically by candidate’s last names. ‘ 

The YALSA Nominating Committee for 2012 has been working hard to select candidates for this year’s election. The Excellence in Nonfiction Award Committee honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year. The Committee is made up of eight members, including the chair. You can read the Committee policies and procedures on the YALSA website.

This is your chance to get to know this year’s candidates nominated to serve on the Excellence in Nonfiction Committee. Don’t forget, polls are open March 19 through April 27.

Today we have an interview with Molly Collins.

What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the Excellence in Nonfiction Award?
In my 14 years of working as a professional librarian, I have had the joy of selecting high-quality nonfiction for young adults. I have also reviewed books for the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age, as well as for School Library Journal. I believe I have a strong grasp on high-quality selection criteria, as well as teen appeal, in young adult nonfiction literature.

Why do you want to be a member of this awards committee?
I have a strong passion for nonfiction! There are so many stellar nonfiction titles available to young adults for their educational and recreational reading needs. Serving on this committee would allow me the opportunity to establish awareness of titles that otherwise might not be as well known. One of the highlights of my job is putting great books in teens’ hands.

In addition, I have highly enjoyed YALSA committee work since 1998. Being selected to serve on the Excellence in Nonfiction Award committee would be a great accomplishment in my career.

What are you most looking forward to in being a part of this award decision process?
I am thrilled at the prospect of the discussion and selection of titles with other members serving on this committee. The discussion and friendly debate over titles sound so exciting to me, and I hope to be a part of it!

What do you feel are the key factors for decision-making for the Excellence in Nonfiction Award?
Key factors in choosing a well-crafted, distinguished title would include subject accuracy and literary merit with the young adult audience in mind. The goal would be to always look for books that stand out in excellence in their own right without comparison to other titles.

The reading load for awards committees is very high, how do you plan on managing the work load of award committee life?
I wholeheartedly embrace the reading load that I would be honored to manage for this committee. I have allotted time in my schedule to read daily and plan to implement a solid reading time management plan. Luckily, I have a long public transit commute to and from my job which allows for a lot of fun reading time!

What have you learned from past experiences on awards, juries, or other YALSA committees that you will bring with you to this committee?
I have learned to consistently question content, audience appeal and quality standards more and more as I evaluate a title. I have learned to strike a balance in keeping an open mind when listening to my fellow committee members’ input while also voicing my own opinions.

In your experience how has the YALSA Awards and Selected Lists helped you as a librarian, or made your work better or easier or different than expected?
These lists have proved to be very valuable in my selection process. I have the highest regard for the opinions and expertise in colleagues of my field. I believe in my fellow librarians’ perspective and their respect for literature and for the young adults they serve. YALSA Awards and Selected Lists committees are comprised of the best experts in the field and I would love to be a part of such an esteemed group!

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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