Lifting the Cone of Silence? The ALSC Awards and Confidentiality
Did you read this post over at the ALSC Blog yesterday?
While I’ve witnessed (and sometimes been a part of) “Should award discussions be secret forever?” conversations over the years, I didn’t expect ALSC Board to gather opinions on the matter.
I know when you have a blog you’re supposed to have really strong feelings about stuff and never consider anyone who disagrees with you (ha), but I’m struggling with this one. Hard. Should details about Caldecott/Newbery/Etc. be secret forever or not? (Side Note: ALSC has toyed with making parts of the process public in the past: you can read about it in this Collecting Children’s Books post – go to the section called The Newbery, Back in the Day)
One one hand, it would be fascinating to know the details of how a book ends up an award winner – you know, the other books that were in consideration, how the voting went – that kind of thing.
One the other hand, it could potentially turn the awards into something else. I had a recent conversation with a librarian friend who mentioned that if all the books nominated were made public, it would in essence turn the awards into Notables (an ALSC committee that is completely transparent and awards many books in any given year), and that it’s better to keep the Newbery et al. as something clearly separate.
Part of me says we’re living in an age of transparency, and the secrecy model is outdated.
Another part says screw it: keep the mystery alive.
What do you say?
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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