I’ve Been Asking Around to Find Out What The YALSA Board Decided, Here Is What I Know
Apparently the board did not decide anything, but did use the moment for an airing of issues around BBYA and to consider proposals. The essential issues seem to be 1) the amount of reading committee members have to do 2) made worse by the ever-increasing output of (long) YA books, and the ever-expanding set of genres under consideration (for example the rapid expansion of graphic novels as YA reading) 3) growing YALSA (ALA’s division devoted to readers 12-18) membership and a desire to find ways to open up participation in BBYA to more people.
Solutions that are under consideration include: requiring three nominations per book to be considered — more nominators needed would slow the addition of books to the list, thus shorten the list of books that all members are supposed to read; limiting each committee member to 10 nominations, so a total of 150 books would be the most possible under consideration; limiting the final list to 50 books; devoting 25 slots on the list to books selected through virtual participation of the YALSA membership; eliminating genres — such as graphic novels, adult books, or nonfiction.
So the alarm — BBYA about to go away — was wrong. But YALSA is wrestling with how to improve its process. I of course do not think eliminating genres is a good way to determine what is a best book — unless this is a best novels list, and why should it be? I’d love to hear from others, YALSA members or not, on how they would address the committee’s concerns and improve the process and the list.