Thursday, July 9, 2009

End of BBYA?

So with ALA this weekend, there is talk brewing of YALSA disbanding the Best Books for Young Adults booklist in favor of a Reader's Choice award. Librarians are blogger and discussing like crazy today and you can find all sorts of blog posts about it. Check out Booklists and a response from YA author Alix Flinn for a good general idea of the discussion going on.

For those of you not sure what BBYA is, it's a a committee of librarians who devote the year to reading every YA book that comes out that they can get their hands on-meaning they read 300+ books a year! From this the members vote on the best books that were released that year. This is a great tool for librarians when ordering books for the collection and also for reader's advisory (helping reader's find a new book to read) that I can't imagine not having this list.

I would love to be able to read every YA book, but I can't, and it's great to know that someone is and it's someone looking at it with a critical eye and with a teen's interests at heart. A reader's choice award I'm afraid would turn into a popularity contest instead of truely listing the year's best books.

I know what librarians think, but I'm interested in what you non-librarians think of this. Do you know about BBYA? Do you ever use the YALSA booklists? Do you think the list should be changed?


  1. No! They can't take that away! I love BBYA! They do have some other great booklists, but c'mon.

  2. No no no! I love BBYA and the rest of the YALSA booklists! I'm already frustrated by the Teen Choice Awards that they do because it really *does* turn into a popularity contest--enough with Stephenie Meyer winning year after year now. The point of booklists is to introduce readers to high quality literature that they didn't know about. Readers Choice would take that objective viewpoint away.

  3. Wow, really? That would be so sad! There's always something to be said for Reader's Choice awards, and I can see them adding that to their awards portfolio if they felt readers needed more of a voice. But to replace BBYA with Reader's Choice is like taking away an apple and offering a nectarine instead. One tells you what's excellent, the other tells you what's popular. (The awards, not the fruit. Although I'm not opposed to talking fruit.) Librarians are brilliant at uncovering those sleeper gems that I hadn't heard about but made a huge impact on me after I read them. It would be a huge disappointment to see that slip by the wayside.


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