Earlier this week, the Best Fiction For Young Adults committee members received an unexpected email from our diligent chair informing us of a YALSA policy we had been neglecting. Evidently, selection committee members are not permitted to nominate from pre-publication copies of books, but must read and evaluate only the finished final product. I, for one, was surprised, since I have done pretty much all of my nominating from galleys and ARCs. In fact, I had been viewing it as my responsibility to stay ahead of the publishing curve, trying to read ahead books that may not come out for a few months. And this information came to me on the same day as an ARC for the new Corey Doctorow book Pirate Cinema, a book I was really looking forward to reading and evaluating.
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There has been some discussion on blogs and in the Twitterverse about a recent change on YALSA’s website.

First, let me state that all of YALSA’s awards and annotated lists are open to anyone for free. YALSA members simply log in to the site (which you have to do anyway if you are going to access ALA Connect, for example). Non-members are asked to provide their name and email address, and answer two questions about their interest in YALSA resources.

The purpose of this change, which is not expected to be temporary, is three-fold. On the one hand, one of YALSA’s Strategic Plan goals is member recruitment. Obviously people who are already coming to our website are candidates to become members. By collecting their email addresses, we can send them information targeted to their areas of interest, and perhaps gain some new YALSA members in the process. The second purpose is to find out more about who is using the website and how, so that we can do an even better job of serving both members and non-members. The third purpose is to identify and cultivate a list of advocates for teen services.’  Now more than ever we need to reach beyond the library community to engage people in advocating on behalf of libraries. Advocacy and activism is another goal in YALSA’s strategic plan, and organizations such as NTEN (The Nonprofit Technology Network) identify what YALSA is doing—collecting email addresses of those who support our cause—as a best practice for not-for-profits. Read More →

Shortly after Midwinter, YALSA published its selected lists, signaling the end of one committee year and the beginning of another. Last year I served on AmazingAudiobooks, and as I take over as chair and gear up for a second year, I’m finding myself reflecting on last year and what I’ve learned.

That's a lot of audiobooks!I learned a lot about audiobooks. Over the course of the year, I listened to audiobooks in the car, at the gym, during lunch, while getting dressed in the morning, while making meals, while doing housework, and while sitting on the couch feeling like maybe I would never finish all of the listening that I needed to do (look at all of the titles we received last year!). But all of that listening helped me develop a more sophisticated sense of what makes a good or poor audiobook (you don’t always like something, even if it’s really good).

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I don’t know if it was the dizzying prospect of having a part time job, or feeling flattered that someone I respect would suggest that I do it, or simply thriving on being over-committed, but I’m serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee 2013. Throughout my year of service, I’m going to try to provide a window into my experience sitting on the committee, showing you how the BFYA sausage gets made and hopefully interesting some of you in joining in the future.

When I was formally accepted as a member of BFYA2013, it started to really sink in what I’d gotten myself into. I hadn’t really read a book since the birth of my son in December, preferring to spend my time sleeping or staring at his fuzzy head. I’m used to reading 3-5 books over the course of Shabbat if I don’t have too many social commitments, and 1-2 during the week, so this steep decline was worrying. The email from the chair welcoming us all to BFYA2013 said we would read an average of a book a day for the year, and to see our friends now, because we wouldn’t have any time for them in the future. I pruned my RSS feed and YouTube subscriptions and pulled ARCs that fit in the brief (September 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012) off the shelf to start reading.

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HOW TO: Collection Development on the Fly

It’s time for that little bit of money to be spent and quickly or it will be spent by someone else. You haven’t had any time to work on an order and you don’t want to make a mistake. Look to the lists below to help you find all kinds of exciting books, DVDs, and audio books that should be in your library.

Every title on every YA list will not be automatically suitable for your collection. To double-check yourself, when you add a title to your order list, you can quickly skim the reviews provided by your jobber to see if an item matches your needs. Look to the sections for older readers in the children’s lists for other titles, especially if you serve middle school age.

YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens
YALSA Printz Award and Honor Books
YALSA Amazing Audios for Young Adults
YALSA Fabulous Films for Young Adults
YALSA/ALSC Odyssey Award

ALSC Notable Children’s Books
ALSC Notable Children’s Videos
ALSC Notable Children’s Recordings
ALSC Newbery Award and Honor Books
ALSC Sibert Informational Book Medal and Honor Books

Projects of the Children’s Book Council in collaboration with ALA and other professional organizations:
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

Many of you, like me, have made a shift from one job to another this summer. Kudos to each of you who still managed to get their posts in during September. Me, I’m just now getting to my desk to write this. (I just now have a desk in my apt!!) During this transition, a few earworms have made their way in. I imagine others have found certain songs rolling around their brains this last month too. With Teen Read Week‘s theme being Books with Beat this year, and our blogmaster giving her students a weekly playlist, I thought it only fitting to put down some of the beats that have been in my head lately.

Here’s my playlist: Read More →

Just ten days left to submit your volunteer form if you are interested in being on one of YALSA’s 2011 selection committees. This is your chance to help select the best fiction, movies, audiobooks, graphic novels, and more for teens. Be sure to read the entire list of committees, and find one that fits your interest and expertise. Terms vary, depending on the committee, so be sure you check that as well, and consider your time commitments. Committee members will be appointed during October and will start work immediately after Midwinter 2011. You will need to attend both Annual and Midwinter conferences during your term on the committee. ‘ Use the comments section of the volunteer form to tell me why you should be on the committee!

Now that the live session is over, you can replay the live blog by clicking on the viewer window below. We streamed live video for a portion of the teen feedback session, so be sure to check that out now that it’s archived.

Want to hear what teens have to say about the nominated titles for our very first Best Fiction for Young Adults list? Check out the live blog! As we did at Midwinter in Boston, we’ll be streaming live video of the teens, pulling tweets, and giving real-time coverage of all the action. The session will open at 1:30 EST and close shortly after the feedback session ends at 3:30. If you can’t join us in real time, you can also watch a replay of the live blog.

There are several ways you can participate. If you’d like to log in through Facebook or Twitter, your comments will be published using your profile photo. If you’d like us to publish your tweets without logging in, you can leave your Twitter username in the comments here (warning: all your tweets will be published while the live blog is running!) or just use the hashtags #yalsa and/or #bfya when you tweet. You can also join the live blog by clicking on the viewer window that will be posted here.