Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.



Sorry this will be quick & short & not finely edited.

YALSA's Board is meeting at Annual; do I usually read the Board documents, unless they are highlighted somewhere thru a message to YALSA BK or the YALSA Blog? No. So when Jen Hubert began reading them yesterday, as I was packing, and shared the information that YALSA Board was entertaining a proposal to eliminate BBYA, I thought she was kidding.

Right after this proposal (so apparently linked to it) is a proposal to instead have a "Readers Choice" when anyone can vote on a short list and then all members can use that short list to vote on a top 5 per category, and that is the New BBYA: Reader's Choice.

I had heard & supported the idea that BBYA needed tinkering -- say, remove GNs from BBYA because there is now a GN list. Or open BBYA up to allow virtual attendance by committee members for Midwinter. I had no idea it was to: "implement a phase out of the Best Books for Young Adult Committee and list"

Source: (you need to be a YALSA member to access): Modernizing Selected List Portfolio (and cheers to Jen, who found this despite the title not saying BBYA and BBYA being the only list being "modernized")

Instead, we get a Reader's Choice award, which is not about opening up committee slots for virtual members but about organizing a popular vote with anyone voting to create a short list, then YALSA members voting for a top 5. (I'll let the math/statistics among you realize that smaller, quieter books and small publishers won't have a chance in this type of arrangement).

I say "instead of" because Readers Choice List, while not mentioned in Modernizing, follows that proposal immediately on the agenda.

I plan to rearrange my schedule and other commitments to attend these meetings. Please comment here to let YALSA know what you think, or blog about it, or Tweet it.

Oh, reasons for getting rid of BBYA:

-- there is overlap with other lists, like adult, nonfiction and GN. (my reply: then narrow BBYA to fiction).

-- number of books published for YA has increased (query: how many books does ALSC's Notables read?)

--membership wants greater participation in list selection. (my reply: then open up the list selection to virtual members! don't remove a list, therefore limiting members' options, and replace it with a participation that will mean little is "I voted for Readers Choice" going on a resume?).

-- BBYA is not useful. (my reply: It's useful to me!!! For collection development, creating booktalks, booklists, etc.)

-- workload issues amongst Committee members. (my reply: see above, for narrowing the scope).

As for Readers Choice; I'm packing. Could I support this in addition to BBYA? Yes. But instead of? I don't have enough time to discuss it. Just: NO.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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  • At 2:59 PM, Blogger MarianLibrarian said…

    I use the BBYA list too--every single year--for collection development and more. Teachers in our community use it all the time, and so do school librarians. I think it would be a big mistake for YALSA to discontinue BBYA. The committee members do indeed have alot of work--but every BBYA committee member I have ever known was happy and anxious to be part of that committee. They celebrated their appointments. If someone thinks it is too much work, it is easy to turn down the appointment (I actually needed to do this myself once, twenty years ago!, for this very reason).

  • At 3:30 PM, Blogger Loonstruck said…

    I use the BBYA for collection development. I have a decent enough budget that I catch most of the titles when they come out but I inevitably miss some every year.

    We also use the list in the Kansas City Metro Library and Information Network Young Adult workshop every year. Several attendees have remarked that they look forward to the booktalks of these books in order to expand their collections according to their population.

  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger Cynthia said…

    As an Adult Services Librarian, I very much support the BBYA. I know about popular materials--I read EW and PW. BBYA often includes books I do not know because I do not follow YA collection-development resources. I work with a lot of teens and twenty-somethings. I often have the chance to discuss reading and would feel much less prepared without BBYA.

    If a popular vote list must exist, let it be so, but there is no reason for it to replace BBYA.


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