Occasionally ALSC members wonder why ALSC award titles are automatically added to our list of Notable Books for Children. The ALSC Board periodically considers issues such as this to make sure we’re shepherding our awards and lists of recommended media appropriately. At its Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, the ALSC Board reaffirmed the policy that all award and honor books chosen by ALSC book award committees will be automatically included on our Notable Books list. I am writing as a member of the Board because we wanted to share a summary of our discussion and thinking.
It was the consensus of the Board that the Notables list represents our division and, as such, should include the books cited by our award committees. Although some have argued that the Notables list should only include titles chosen by the Notable Books Committee itself, the Board sees the list as a cooperative effort between the Notables Committee and the awards committees. When members accept appointment to the Notables Committee, they do so with the understanding that the award titles, as specified in the Notables Manual, will be included on the final list.
It has also been suggested that including the award titles limits the number of books the Notables Committee can cite on its own. This is not at all the case. The Notables Manual does not specify a maximum number of titles for the Notables list. Clearly some Notables chairs prefer a shorter list than others, and some years produce more outstanding books than others, but the inclusion of award titles in no way limits the number of books the Notables Committee can add to its list.
This policy only applies to books honored by the ALSC award committees — Newbery, Caldecott, Batchelder, Belpré, Geisel, and Sibert. The Board respects the significance and value of other ALA youth book awards; only the ALSC award books, however, will be automatically included since these are the books chosen by our division’s members on our division’s committees. The Notables list on our website will include links to the other ALA youth book awards.
We welcome responses to this policy from our members.
Rita Auerbach on behalf of the ALSC Board