by Teresa Walls
Last week I attended the Allen County (IN) Public Library’s Mock Sibert Event. It is one of five mock award programs held at the Allen County Public Library . The others are a Mock Caldecott, a Mock Geisel, a Mock Newbery and a Mock Printz. While I’m excited to hear what the real committees select for the real awards, I’m even more excited to start reading the newly published books which will be eligible for the 2010 awards.
We learn a great deal through our discussion of the literary merits of the books we have loved or hated, but the true reward of participating in these programs is keeping up with the new books in order to offer thoughtful reader’s advisory for our patrons. The mock award programs push me to read many books I would not have picked up on my own. For that reason, I strongly encourage more of you to consider hosting or participating in a mock Sibert. The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award was established in 2001.
As a reader, I always head to the shelves of fiction and poetry. As a librarian, I have an excellent understanding of classification systems, Boolean and keyword searches, but many exceptional informational works are available that I might have missed sharing with the right reader if I hadn’t participated in the Mock Sibert. The adage “so many books, so little time” is so true. If it weren’t for the Mock Sibert, I would spend too little of my free reading time with informational books. Not only do I learn a great deal, but every year I find myself leading a patron to one or more of our Mock Sibert books during a reference interview. Perhaps I would have found those books via my searching skills, but I would have missed that feeling of a fellow reader sharing a great book.