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?

Feel Like Saving Some Money?

The New York Library Association and American Library Association have partnered to offer a discounted joint membership to NYLA and ALA for library school students. You may now become a member of both organizations for $35.oo total.

This rate is only the beginning of the savings you’ll enjoy as a member of NYLA and ALA. Both organizations offer discounted conference fees and merchandise to members. With the 2012 Spring Conference of the Youth Services Section of NYLA coming to Long Island on Friday, March 23rd, 2012, this is the perfect time to join NYLA. Members save $35 on the registration fee for the YSS conference – the cost of the joint membership!  

“YSS is a great section of NYLA,” says Director of the Hauppauge Public Library and NYLA President Matt Bollerman. “Year after year they put on a tremendous Spring Conference and also provide great events at the Annual Conference. By joining NYLA, and YSS, one can get involved and make connections to others in the field. I have always found that meeting others who do similar work helps me become better at what I do each day.”

To take advantage of this offer, visit NYLA online to download the membership application. Early Bird registration for the YSS conference ends February 25th. Visit NYLA online today for the YSS conference brochure.

Spectrum Scholar from Suffolk Makes a Splash in New Orleans

Darla, a librarian trainee at the Half Hollow Hills Public Libray, is here in New Orleans at her first ALA conference as a 2010-2011 Spectrum Scholar. I caught up with Darla at last night’s Spectrum Professional Options Fair at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.

“This is just like speed-dating,” Darla laughed.

Darla was right: The Grand Ballroom was set up with tables representing various divisions of ALA, professional organizations, and OCLC, the fair’s sponsor. I was staffing the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) table along with ALSC president Mary Fellows and ALSC Membership/Marketing Specialist Dan Rude. Spectrum Scholars sought out tables of interest to network and learn more about proffessional opportunities.

Darla, who is a student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College, still works at the Northport Public Library where she got her start as a page in the Youth Services Department. “Doris gave me so many conference tips on the plane ride down,” Darla said. I told Darla that when I was a trainee at Northport I was particulalry overwhelmed by my new role as reader’s advisor, and I kept recommending Sharon Creech to everyone who walked in the door. “I’m the same way with Neil Gaiman!” Darla confessed. Darla tackles this challenge by reading books off the new book carts at both of her libraries.

Darla left the ALSC table with a committee volunteer form in hand and encouragement from Mary Fellows to fill it out “multiple times.” Whether you are able to attend conferences or not, there are ways to get involved with ALA, and a little bit of perserverance always helps.