I love YA literature, which is probably a good thing since at times it feels like I’m floating in a sea of books. ‘ And the analogy is not an accident. ‘ Depending on which statistic you read there are between 3,000 and 10,000 new books YA books published every year. ‘ How then, can we be expected to sift through all of these titles and find that magic novel that will turn all of our students into life-long readers? ‘ Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or super secret that veteran librarians can pass on to new librarians in some slightly creepy candle-lit ceremony. ‘ The truth is, it takes work. ‘ But the good news is there are so many different options for getting to know more about YA literature that there’s bound to be a strategy to keep even the most overwhelmed teacher-librarian from’ despair.
1) ‘ Start with what you’ve got. ‘ Learn your own collection. ‘ I’ve been fortunate enough to have shifted and reorganized our library’s collection seven times in six years (why this happened is another story). ‘ I say fortunate because it forced me to pick up/touch/look at nearly every book in the collection (about 17,000 titles). ‘ While I don’t recommend this to everyone (I don’t think my clerk has forgiven me quite yet) in hindsight it was a fantastic way to gain an intimate knowledge of what was sitting on the shelves. ‘ Okay, stop. ‘ Deep breath. ‘ For those of you’ hyperventilating’ at the thought of all the dust and heavy lifting, the same thing can be accomplished (almost) during inventory or repeatedly browsing your own shelves. ‘ That’s right. ‘ Get up and head to the stacks.
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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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Not much more than a year ago, I was that person who proclaimed I would never own a Kindle. I loved books as objects (I have bookshelves in every room in my house except the bathroom) and, let’s face it, I’m kind of materialistic. I like to own things, to collect. At the same time, I had bigger concerns about a possible future where everyone would need a device to be able to read a book.
Flash forward to today: I am a Kindle owner. What happened?
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