Setting the Standard
“And the award goes to . . .”
I couldn’t help but feel like I was at the Oscars when I attended the press conference announcing all of the book awards in San Antonio. Not only was the excitement palpable, it was audible! As each award was described, murmurs of anticipation could be heard. Then, as the winning titles were announced, the crowd often emitted bursts of excited whoops. I was once again awed—as I have been many times throughout my career—at the commitment, enthusiasm, and passion shared by young adult librarians.
The Midwinter Meeting is a wonderful opportunity to see all that commitment, enthusiasm, and passion fi rst-hand. Since most of the meetings are open to anyone who would like to listen in, new YALSA members eager to learn about the association or veterans who would like to join a committee have the chance to see the action up close and personal. This issue is dedicated to the awards and booklists decided upon by the selection committees, who have once again done a stellar job choosing titles to recommend to teens. I’m pleased to off er an issue that includes all of these lists—including, for the first time, the Alex Award winners—in one place. This issue also introduces a few new awards. Pam Spencer Holley explains how YALSA played a role in selecting the best popular science book for high school readers, and Dawn Rutherford, chair of the new Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee, announces the 2007 debut of this exciting new list. Finally, I report on the work of three exploratory task forces YALSA has formed to propose awards for audiobooks, outstanding achievement in young adult services, and a first novel.
From all of this, it’s clear that YALSA sets the standard when it comes to evaluating and selecting the finest literature for teens. However, there are many more committees hard at work at Midwinter. For instance, this issue also includes the fruits of the Research Committee’s labor in the form of a bibliography of current research related to young adult services. Chaired by Jami Jones, this committee has created a supplement to the original bibliography completed in 2001 in an effort to lead librarians to data on information seeking, young adult literature, intellectual freedom, and more. By keeping abreast of the current research, librarians can not only serve teens better, but perhaps be inspired to question and explore topics themselves. Th is will add to the body of YALSA’s work, and lend even more credence to our worthwhile division, setting the standard for excellent service to teens in libraries across the country. Amy Alessio and Nick Buron get the ball rolling in this issue with their article on the results of the Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Award Research Grant.
This awards issue is rounded out with a couple of interviews—one with author and Printz Award chair, Michael Cart—as well as an example of how one librarian put the Alex Awards to great use in her school library, and a list of Cleveland teens’ top ten manga titles for guys and girls. It is my sincere hope that you enjoy and fi nd this issue of YALS useful. By continuing to support and utilize great teen literature, conduct and publish pertinent research, and employ best practices in your libraries, there is sure to be fodder for many more useful articles, helping me set a standard of excellent quality for YALSA’s only professional journal as well.