Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BOOK NEWS: Update on BBYA

While this is a bit of old news around the blogosphere, I hate blogs that get all sensationalistic and then never follow up to let you know what happened. So despite this information being available elsewhere, I wanted to make sure I got it out as well.

The big news: BBYA was not sunsetted. In fact, it looks like early on in the ALA conference the YALSA board decided to move it from an "Action Item" - where a decision would have been made then and there about whether to phase out BBYA by 2011 - to a "Discussion Item." Liz gave some fast and furious notes about what was being said at that discussion. And from what Cindy and Lynn are reporting over at Bookends there was widespread agreement that BBYA needs to be updated (certainly updated before we throw in the towel), but there doesn't seem to be much agreement about what exactly needs to be updated!

Through the YALSA blog I found several posts on BBYA, but one that was absolutely fascinating by mk Eagle. This one gives another rundown of the events of the meeting (poor people trying to edit their passionate reasons for keeping BBYA down to 1-2 minutes! I know when I set out to write my blog post on BBYA, I did not expect it to be the length it ended up!) plus makes a point that I wasn't aware of before. Around the blog- and twittersphere there were lots of librarians/authors/teachers talking up how much they use the BBYA list for reader's advisory/building collections/getting recognition at a small press. But mk Eagle pointed our attention to the list's policies and procedures page - and would you believe that the target audience is not, in fact, librarians? The target audience is YA readers themselves!

To me this means that BBYA's biggest problem might be in the marketing. I don't recall having any idea that the BBYA list existed before Cindy Dobrez got on the committee while I was in high school. Now I have no doubt that she and all of the other librarians I interacted with as a young adult were using the list, and probably books that went on display in my libraries were often picked for display because of that list. But considering how much I rely on the BBYA list now (both in its final form and the nominations list) to help me find books worth reading, I'm sure I would have been glued to the thing in middle school, steadily working my way through the list.

Ultimately, I'm incredibly happy that BBYA has, at least, gotten a bit of a reprieve. It's clearly a valuable list. Very few things in this world are perfect, so I think everyone should be open to the idea of updating BBYA in some way to ensure it stays relevant and on target, but BBYA is definitely a list that should continue to stick around.

4 comments:

Liz B said...

I don't think there is a conflict between the list and it being used by librarians, etc.

Without librarians or others using the list for all the listed things, how else would the books on that list be found by teens? Or even exist? (Without BBYA some books would go out of print or not be bought so wouldn't exist)

Some teens may find the YALSA website, yes; but others find books the old fashioned way. What is this on the shelf? Oh, here is a booklist, etc.

I see that as a reminder it's not a list of BBYA that Adults will read; and annotations are for use with teens, not the reviews (that have spoilers) that are for purchase you see at SLJ etc.

Anna Rhoswen said...

That's interesting, that the list is supposed to target YA readers, not the librarians that love them so. I pretty much always assumed that we were just guinea pigs for the larger collective, which was fine by me, since there were free books involved.

I think it would be great to someone get the lists in the hands of kids and their parents - forcibly, if need be.

Anna Rhoswen said...

Erm... thanks, Google, for the weird. This is Brittany, by the way. You know, your MoH, etc. :P

Angela said...

Just finding these comments now - I always assumed Blogger was going to e-mail me if a comment was posted, but apparently not, so sorry for the delay in following up.

Liz - I didn't mean to imply there was a conflict between the two uses (by teens and by their librarians/teachers/etc), but rather if the list is truly intended primarily for teens, maybe they need to do some marketing to get that knowledge out there so the precocious teens can do some sleuthing on their own. This doesn't mean librarians can't use it, but puts the focus back on the teens rather than the adult intermediaries that teachers and librarians are. They are wonderfully knowledgeable intermediaries, but why not make it easier for some people to cut out the middleman while still making it available as a resource for those middlemen to reach out to those who can't/won't find the books on their own?

Britt - I also assumed we were just guinea pigs, but again, no complaints ;-)

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