It's the most wonderful time of the year... No, not that time, time to renew your ALA and ALA division memberships. And if I do say so myself, this is an especially important year for you to renew, especially if you're a YALSA member, because I'm running for the 2010 Printz.
When the first Printz award was given in 2000, I had a freshly minted Bachelor of Music and was waiting to hear back from the library schools I'd applied to. Two weeks later I was accepted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Science (and Pitt, why do you not offer SIS t-shirts?) and the rest, as they say, is 900-999. I knew at the time that I wanted to be a youth services librarian and I wanted to specialize in serving young adults. At the time I could only think that maybe someday I could be good enough at my job to maybe serve on the Newbery or Printz committees and now, hey, it's amazing what a little hard work will get you.
I'm on the YALSA blog entry which lists all candidates for the next round of YALSA offices as Carlisle Weber. Yes, Carlisle is my real first name (I was named after my father's favorite aunt, also Carlisle) and although I am blonde I am not a male vampire from the UK. I do usually spell my last name with 2 B's but hey, it's me and that's what counts.
Three reasons why you should vote for me:
1. I have the ability to say, "I love this book, but not for this award." That is one of the hardest sentences I ever learned to say, and it took me a long time to learn it. The first year I read for Popular Paperbacks, I wasn't that great at it. I had to learn to think in new ways, of quality over popularity and personal love of the book. After all, if I loved a book, shouldn't it be deserving of an award? With YALSA booklists and book awards, it doesn't quite work that way. Not only do you sometimes have to give up on books you love, but you sometimes have to support books you didn't love because you know intellectually that they're deserving of a spot on whatever booklist you're working on.
2. I have experience picking books for awards based on YALSA's criteria. The BCCLS Mock Awards uses ALA's awards criteria to choose our Mock Awards. Last year's Mock Printz went to The Book Thief and in 2006, just before I came to BCCLS, the Mock Printz participants chose Looking for Alaska, which did win the award.
3. I review for Kirkus, VOYA, and Teenreads.com, which gives me a really wide view of what's out there in the world of YA literature today. Plus I read books that just look interesting that I don't have to review. The Printz award is given to a great literary contribution, but you really can't know what a great literary contribution is unless you're able to put it in the larger scheme of YA literature. Of course, there are the books that make these decisions difficult (The Rules of Survival, Freak Show), but if it were easy then, well, it wouldn't be an award that required a committee.
If elected, I promise world peace and better school lunches. Okay, maybe not better school lunches, but I do promise to serve to the best of my ability.
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