Youth Media Awards: What You May and (May Not) Know

All year long, select members of the American Library Association serve on book and media award committees. These ALSC and YALSA members are examining the best of what is published and produced for children and young adults in the current year (for the 2012 awards, they’ll be considering what was published in 2011). Some of these members have been elected by their fellow division members, and some have been appointed by the division president.

In a few short weeks at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, the award committees meet, discuss, re-discuss, and vote on the winners. Award-winning authors, illustrators, and publishers are called early in the morning on the Monday of Midwinter. The life-changing news is given in strict confidence (watch a short video montage of the phone calls from the 2009 Midwinter meeting). At 7:45am CT, ALA division presidents will announce the top awards in children’s and young adult literature at a large press conference. The ALSC president, Mary Fellows, will announce winners for the Newbery, Caldecott, Carnegie, Arbuthnot Lecture, Sibert, Geisel, Batchelder, Odyssey (with YALSA), and Pura Belpré (with REFORMA) awards. The YALSA and ALA presidents will announce their awards as well, such as the Printz and the Schneider Family Book Award, respectively.

Even if you won’t be in Dallas on the morning of January 23, 2012, you still have an opportunity to take part in the excitement by attending the Mock Newbery Discussion at SCLS next Tuesday morning. Or, follow @alayma on Twitter, and watch the live webcast of the press conference on your computer. Virtual seating for the webcast will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s best to “arrive” early. If you will be in Dallas, try to attend the joint youth division reception on Monday night in addition to the press conference. The reception, co-sponsored by ALSC, AASL and YALSA, will begin at 6 pm CT.

Barbara Moon is serving on this year’s Odyssey Award Committee, and Renee McGrath of the Nassau Library System is serving on the Newbery Committee. Are you or someone you work with on an award committee that will pick their winners in Dallas?

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