(I'm going to pre-emptively apologize for any inaccuracies or oversights made in this post. The first thing I did this morning was remove a Bugzilla from the children's area, and the day kinda went from there. But I wanted to post my thoughts on this hot topic.)
Currently, there's a bit of a kerfuffle around the news that YALSA may be moving away from their longtime Best Books for Young Adults list (picked by YALSA members) and toward a more reader's-choice model.
Truly, I fear that the first four books on the list will be the Twilight series. This is not more of my good-natured Twilight bashing. I have nothing against kids reading these books; really, I don't. It's the very point that every-damn-one is reading them that gives me pause.
Surely the purpose of these Best Books lists is to expose librarians and teachers (and through them, the kids) to the really excellent books they might not be aware of. Nobody's unaware of the popular books. That's the whole point of being popular. Alix Flinn posts a wonderful discussion of popularity contests in publishing and the pitfalls of same in today's glutted YA market.
Now, the YALSA memo that Flinn linked to doesn't mention doing away with the current BBYA totally, although it does state that YALSA members aren't satisfied with the list as it is. They cite issues of list currency and workload for the BBYA deciders--both concerns I can get behind. Even I'm a little floored by the amount of work that BBYA folks have to put in. It also doesn't say that the contributors to the readers' choice list will be thrown wide open--only to YALSA members. People who presumably work around a lot of teen books and a lot of teens every day.
Still a lot of folks in the kidlit arena are pretty concerned.
May I suggest? The Cybils works in a readers' choice/judging format and the results for the past three years have been pretty spiffy. Perhaps a combination would work best. What do you think?