This is Linda’s second email to me, on the questions of public disucssion of NF with teen participation at ALA:
On the topic of discussions of non-fiction at Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, while there will not be open discussion for the Nonfiction Award Committee at these events, providing face-to-face opportunities for members to discuss books was not a goal of the recent changes to YALSA’s selected lists. Only about 15% of YALSA’s members attend ALA conferences and fewer than that attend the BBYA sessions. While there always was some discussion about non-fiction during open BBYA meetings, it was never a large part of the conversation, including the conversations in which teens participated. (Over the past several years the BBYA list averaged 14 non-fiction titles per year.) Overall, the face-to-face sessions are a small part of the larger book selection process and only well-funded members who are able to travel to conferences are able to participate in the face-to-face sessions.
With the new Excellence in Nonfiction Award published nomination list, YALSA will recommend about 35 non-fiction titles per year. This supports requests from members asking for a more comprehensive list of nonfiction titles from which to make selections. The publication of a larger list of recommended titles demonstrates that YALSA is committed to promoting non-fiction and meeting member needs.
While it may seem that the BBYA book selection process was working well, the YALSA Board heard from many members over several years that the process was broken.
YALSA values member engagement and seeks to build that engagement into programs, services, and products whenever possible