Selection & Award Committee Chair FAQ

Getting Started  I  Working Virtually  I  Eligibility  I  Nominations  I  Ethics  I  Meetings  I  Promotion

GETTING STARTED

How do we start getting books?

  • In February, but not before you complete the following:
    • Letitia Smith from the YALSA office will send you a committee roster in December.  Since the preferred address for where committee member want books to be sent for the committee might be different from the preferred address for ALA official correspondence, you will need to have everyone confirm where they want their books sent and then create a Word document to send to publishers.  Please have this completed by no later than Feb. 7.  Feel free to change names at members’ request (use nicknames, drop middle initials, etc.) on the document that you send to publishers. 
    • Please note that while we do realize that someone’s address may change during the year, it is nearly impossible to get publishers to change the initial address they have on file.  Committee members should try their best to submit an address that will be reliable for the entire year.  PO Box addresses may NOT be used.
    • If you want, you can also send Letitia the changes people want to their official ALA record, such as if they have a new work address or cell phone number. 

How do I get an Administrative Assistant?

The chair can determine whether or not he or she would like an administrative assistant.  This is optional, not mandatory.  The assistant should be someone that that the chair is comfortable working with and who is a personal member of YALSA.  An assistant cannot be someone who is not eligible to serve on the group, due to recent committee service on the same committee, or because of a conflict with the Awards Conflict of Interest Policy.  Work with Letitia Smith to confirm that the person you would like to assume this role is eligible. 

Who can ask for books?

The chair determines if it will be him/her, or the administrative assistant, if the chair has opted for one.  Individual committee members may not request books, including through Net Galley.  All requests need to come officially through the one designated committee person.

Do our addresses need to be posted on the YALSA web site? 

No. Committee rosters with contact information are sent directly to the publishers.  Therefore, chairs and members do not have to have your address posted on the web site.

How do I set up our virtual committee space & communication tools?

  • By no later than Feb. 15 please verify the email addresses that people want to use for the committee listserv.  Once you have everyone’s preferred address, send the list to Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org and she will update your listserv. 
  • Please note that your ALA Connect space can’t be activated before February 1, 2014, when your official term begins.  So, you won’t have access to that space before then. Do NOT create your own committee space in ALA Connect.  One is automatically generated for you at the beginning of the committee’s term. 
  • Carefully read through the Chair Manual about working virtually and determine which tools and strategies will work best for you: http://ow.ly/r1IXO (.pdf)

How do I contact publishers?

New chairs will receive a list of up-to-date publisher contacts from the outgoing chair, and Nichole O'Connor can provide contacts as well.

How does the nomination form work?

As chair, determine who should receive your nomination form.  Typically, both the chair and the administrative assistant receive the form.  By no later than Feb. 21 send Anna Lam (alam@ala.org) the name of your committee’s form, along with the email addresses of who should receive the form.  Nominations should open no later than March 1. 

What is the role of the Booklist Consultant?

The consultant is there to be a resource to the committee, and may address matters like eligibility questions, publisher contact information, identifying book reviews, etc.  The consultant may participate fully in the committee discussions, but he/or she is not a voting member of the committee.  The consultant is not a gopher or an assistant.

Who do I contact with questions?

Nichole O’Connor is your staff liaison and your primary contact: noconnor@ala.org or 312.280.4387.  Your board liaison is a great resource if you need assistance with managing your committee or working with your committee members.  To learn about what your staff and board liaisons can do for you visit www.ala.org/yalsa/files/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/Liaisons.pdf (.pdf)

How do I organize the work of my committee?

  • The Chair Manual provides a wealth of information and tips to help you develop and implement a year-round work plan via virtual tools: http://ow.ly/r1IXO (.pdf). 
  • Check out these planning templates: www.ala.org/yalsa/chair-templates
  • Read the timeline for selection chairs: www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/jobdescription
  • Talk with the out-going chair.  Please make sure you identify the difference between what has been a past practice and what is policy.  Practices can be discontinued at any time, and are things that past chairs put into place relating to their personal preferences and management style.  Policies are written rules that must be followed.  They would appear in the policies section of your committee’s web page on the YALSA site.  If you’re not sure what is a practice and what is a policy, then check with Nichole O’Connor.

 

WORKING VIRTUALLY YEAR-ROUND

Is there any official policy on what can be discussed on a committee listserv or virtual space? 

No.  The committee needs to work year round and leverage the virtual tools to do that.  Committees should talk about titles via whatever virtual tools and spaces you decide to use.  The chair should think about how best to organize virtual and face-to-face work so that the time together at conferences is maximized.  The only policy that enters into play is the ALA policy on open meetings.  If a selection committee is making its final selections via a virtual session, then that session needs to be advertised and open to members (this is not true for awards committees).    The Chair Manual provides a wealth of information and tips to help you develop and implement a year-round work plan via virtual tools: http://ow.ly/r1IXO (.pdf).

ELIGIBILITY

Who do I contact with eligibility questions?

Your staff liaison, who is Nichole O’Connor.  She can be reached at noconnor@ala.org or 312.280.4387.

May we consider books published for ages 10-12, if they seem to be appropriate for (and of interest to) the younger spectrum of our 12-18 age group?

Yes. If a book is marketed to a 12 year old, it fits within YALSA’s definition of young adult, 12-18.

What if a book has a Library of Congress publishing date that differs from the date on the book? 

The ultimate source for a book’s publication is the publisher.  Nichole O’Connor can confirm a date with the publisher, if needed.

 

NOMINATIONS

When are nominations due?  Who do I turn them in to?

Nominations are due on the first day of each month and should be submitted to Nichole O’Connor at noconnor@ala.org.  The list of nominations is an important readers’ advisory and collection development tool that members depend on.  It is very important that you stick to the deadline and that you strive to make sure that all of the information is accurate and free of typos or other errors.

Is it important to seek field nominations/suggestions? 

Yes.  YALSA members want to be engaged in the work of the selection committees, and this is an easy way for them to do that.  Be sure to recruit committee members to promote the opportunity to submit suggestions via YALSA’s and other listservs like PUBYAC, LM_NET, CCBC-Net and state library or reading listservs as well as Twitter and the YALSA e-news.  Don’t assume people know how to submit nominations and avoid using too many acronyms or jargon.  When you Tweet, be sure to Tweet @yalsa so staff can re-tweet your message.  Also, be sure to use the #yalit hashtag.

Who makes publishers aware that their books are nominated?
The chair decides whether it will be him/her or the administrative assistant who contacts a publisher and requests all nominated titles that the committee has not received.  For award committees, it is not necessary to tell a publisher that a title has been nominated.  Typically if an award committee writes a publisher and states they are “interested in x title, and wonder when it's expected to be published" or "more widely available", it almost always results in a mailing to the committee without the committee having to come right out and ask that it be provided. 

How firm are the nomination deadlines before conferences?

The deadlines before Annual and Midwinter exist for 2 reasons:  1). So that the office has time to pack nominated titles to bring to the meetings and 2). So the committee has ample time to read nominated titles before each meeting.  If the chair feels like the committee would benefit by extending the deadline for committee nominations that is not a problem.  Please work with Nichole O’Connor to arrange this.

When providing bibliographic information on official nomination form, do we use dashes in ISBNs?

Dashes are necessary.  It will speed up the process of inputting all of the information online.

If a committee member nominates a title in the early part of the year—February or March—can s/he withdraw or eliminate that title later on?  

A nomination must remain on the list of nominations for the entire selection process until the announcements at Midwinter.  Furthermore, the title must be discussed at both Midwinter and Annual, even if only very briefly. 

When a member has nominated a galley, should s/he reread it after receiving the hard copy to see if there have been significant changes? 

The committee member should make notes of any questions or concerns in the galley, then compare the final copy with the galley to be sure those were adequately resolved.

What do we do about locating nominated titles that we haven’t received?

  1. Start with your local library
  2. Try to get it via interlibrary loan
  3. Try to borrow it from someone else on the committee
  4. Check with Nichole O’Connor in the YALSA office to see if they have it 
  5. Try your local bookstore

Publishers are under absolutely no obligation to send the committee books, and committee members are expected to read the nominated titles regardless of whether or not we receive a free copy.  

Can we nominate a book that was nominated in the previous year but did not make the list?

That depends on the eligibility period for your particular committee. Consult the YALSA web site, and then contact Nichole O’Connor if you still have questions.

 

ETHICS

How, if at all, does the fact that a member may review books for a professional journal impact the integrity of the selection process?  

  • Neither selection nor award committee members should associate themselves with any YALSA selection or award committee on any reviews.  All selection committee members can continue to review as long as it is clear whenever they speak about a book, they are not doing so as a member of any YALSA selection committee, but as a librarian, educator, etc. 
  • Award committee members may not review titles that are eligible for the award committee they’re serving on. For example, Morris Committee members must avoid reviewing, blogging about, etc. YA titles that are written by first time authors.
  • Please read the conflict of interest policy and guidelines for further information: www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/conflict

What are appropriate uses for the books my committee members and I receive from publishers after I’m finished with them?

Most members donate their books, either to a school or public library. They can be given away to neighbors, relatives, community centers, etc. Or you can keep and enjoy them. They may not be sold, per YALSA's Ethical Behavior Policy for Volunteers (PDF).

Is it ok for me or committee members to accept invitations from publishers to dinners and receptions?

Yes, in most cases.  Please read YALSA's Ethical Behavior Policy for Volunteers (PDF) for details.  Also, be sure that you do not discuss any confidential committee work with them or seek personal favors from them. Be sure to be gracious and RSVP to invitations.  Do not say yes to things you aren’t sure you can attend.  Follow up afterwards with a thank you note. 

What do I do if I think I or one of my committee members has a conflict of interest?

Please read YALSA’s Conflict of Interest Policy online at:  www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/conflict.  If you have a concern, please err on the side of caution and contact your board liaison to discuss the matter further and come to a resolution.

 

MEETINGS

Can I or committee members Tweet or use other social media during committee meetings?  

No. Committee members are expected to give their full attention to the meetings.  For award committees, due to the strictly confidential nature of discussions, absolutely no information can be disseminated from within the meeting via electronic devices or other means. For more information please consult the Social Media Policy:  www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/socialmediapolicy or talk to your board liaison.

How do I schedule meetings for Annual and Midwinter?

Nichole O’Connor will get in touch with you in Feb. in regards to your Annual meetings.  Be sure to have polled your committee members to see what unavoidable conflicts they might have, so you can schedule meetings around those as much as possible.  You can use the same times as the previous committee, but you do not have to.  You may not schedule committee meetings at the same time as the Leadership Development Session at Annual and Midwinter.

When will I find out where my committee is meeting at Midwinter or Annual?

Exact meeting locations are not announced until mid-November for Midwinter and mid-May for Annual.  The meeting schedule process begins in September for Midwinter and January for Midwinter.  When meeting times and locations are finalized, YALSA posts them on the yalsacom listserv and on the wiki http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/Main_Page

What do I do if I come to my meeting room and the books aren’t there or the room isn’t set up?

Phone or text Nichole O’Connor.  Please be aware, though, that the room will not be set up more than 60 minutes in advance.  Therefore, only contact Nichole if it is less than an hour before your meeting starts.

Are visitors allowed at the meetings?

ALA has an open meeting policy.  Any registered conference attendee is welcome to attend any meeting going on at the conference. Please have seating around the perimeter of the room for visitors and be welcoming to them.  The only exceptions are the award committee meetings.  Those are closed and visitors are not permitted.

Can books only be discussed at face-to-face meetings?

No. Books are expected to be discussed year round using virtual tools.

How do I set up virtual meetings or discussions with my committee?

The Chair Manual provides a wealth of information and tips to help you choose a method for virtual meetings and discussions: http://ow.ly/r1IXO (.pdf). 

 

PROMOTION

How do I get the word out about my committee’s nominations or final list or award?

Work with

Further information is at www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/marketingformembergr

There is incorrect information or a typo on the YALSA web site about my committee, list or award.

Contact Anna Lam at alam@ala.org describe the exact problem and request that it be fixed.

Do I write press releases for my committee?

No. YALSA’s Communications Specialist does.  She may run a draft by you for your review before it is distributed.