The YALSA board will hold a discussion at #alaac18 about YALSA’s book awards and lists in light of #metoo. I have been a member of the Printz, Odyssey, and Alex Award committees and am bringing this topic to the YALSA board for discussion and possible action.

The #MeToo movement exploded in Fall 2017, when women and some men collectively began to speak out against abusers and harassers. The movement carried over to the young adult publishing world in February 2018 via an article in School Library Journal that led to hundreds of comments to the article indicating certain authors and publisher representatives as harassers or abusers.

YALSA and its board extend their compassion to those harmed by abusers and harassers and commends those for speaking up, while at the same time also extending support to those who were also harmed but remain silent.

Publishers, agents and organizations are responding by canceling book deals, author visits, issuing statements, rescinding awards and more. In a New York Times interview, Stephen Rubin, the president of Holt, said, “The corporate stance is that it’s not our job to judge our authors.” However, other publishers are implementing ethics clauses into their author contracts.

In light of this movement, library staff now have books on their shelves that might make them and/or their patrons uncomfortable. Does having a book on a shelf indicate endorsement of the author? Does having the title of one of these authors on a recommended book list indicate endorsement of the author?

The Board will discuss ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and ALA’s Code of Ethics, as well as award eligibility criteria, policies and procedures, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Read more by taking a look at Board Document #34. Don’t forget that all conference attendees are welcome to observe YALSA board meetings–we meet in Room 212 of the Convention Center on Saturday from 1-5 pm and Sunday from 4-5 pm.

About Sarah Hill

Sarah is the Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College, a rural community college in Illinois. She is happily serving as YALSA Immediate Past President. You can follow her on Twitter at @glibrarian.

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