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. The polls are open March 19 to April 27.

Today we have an interview with Jamison Hedin.

What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the Excellence in Nonfiction Award?
I have been a high school library media specialist since 2008. I work extensively with subject area teachers to evaluate and select nonfiction materials for academic, personal interest, and recreational reading for students between the ages of 14 and 18. I have also served for two terms as a member of YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

Why do you want to be a member of this awards committee?
Nonfiction for young adults is a growing genre, but it is still challenging to find truly engaging and well-written titles targeted specifically for the YA market. I would love to help promote the genre and help other librarians identify excellent books.

What are you most looking forward to in being a part of this award decision process?
I am eager to participate in the discussion of nominated titles with my colleagues. In my previous selection committee experience, the discussion and debate among committee members was really thought-provoking.

What do you feel are the key factors for decision-making for the Excellence in Nonfiction Award?
The quality of the writing, authority of information, and accessibility of the presentation are the three most important factors to me. A book on a fascinating topic can end up being useless if the writing and presentation are weak, while excellent writing and an engaging format can elevate a topic that might not be initially appealing.

The reading load for awards committees is very high, how do you plan on managing the work load of award committee life?
In my experience, the key is to integrate the work of the committee into your daily routine as much as possible. While I was on Quick Picks, I used many of the nominations in regularly scheduled book talks or found other ways to incorporate them into my daily work. When preparing for classes or programs is synonymous with your committee work, it makes the reading load more manageable.

What have you learned from past experiences on awards, juries, or other YALSA committees that you will bring with you to this committee?
The most important lesson I have taken from my selection committee experience is to remember that your library and your patrons are not the only potential settings and readers for a title. It’s so important to take other populations into consideration – just because something doesn’t work in your setting doesn’t mean it won’t work elsewhere.

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?
Like many librarians, I use the YALSA award and honor books and selected lists as collection development tools. They are invaluable resources, especially in genres and formats that might not be my personal favorites. I also use them to guide my own reading – the strength of the committee model lies in the ability of a group to discover titles that you might miss on your own.

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.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation