Blogger Abby Johnson

The Cybils Awards for Collection Development

Help! We’re starting to wrap up our budget year and my spending deadline looms. I want to make sure I haven’t forgotten any big books, but how? The Cybils Awards is one resource that can help.

The Cybils Awards Logo
The Cybils Awards Logo, used with permission
What are the Cybils Awards?

Started in 2006, the Cybils Awards honor children’s books that combine literary merit and kid appeal. Anyone can nominate books in a wide range of categories and the winning titles are selected by kidlit bloggers.

How are the Cybils Awards useful for Collection Development?

I use the lists of the Cybils Awards nominations to double check that I haven’t missed ordering any popular titles. Since their nominating window lines up with the end of my purchasing year, the timing is perfect for me when I’m trying to make sure I’ve spent my budgets down and I didn’t miss any big books. They take nominations in a bunch of children’s literature categories, including easy readers, early chapter books, board books*, graphic novels, and more. Lots of these books don’t get covered by traditional review media, so it’s a great way to find suggestions of those books.

*They’ve made some changes due to COVID this year and Board Books is not one of the categories this year, but in normal years they do!

How are the Cybils Awards different from ALA awards?

I am the last person who would knock any of the ALA awards and there are definitely ALSC resources that are also really helpful for Collection Development. One example is the Children’s Notables Lists discussion lists. But because ANYONE can nominate a book for the Cybils Awards, you see lots of books nominated that you may not see in other lists. I think these nomination lists can more closely mirror the books that my patrons may be interested in or hearing about from their own networks.

How do you know the Cybils Award nominees are good books?

So, that’s one of the things. You don’t, for sure. I use the Cybils Awards nominations as a jumping off point (just as I do with any book lists, including ALA Children’s Notables) and seek out reviews or additional information to make sure they’ll be a good fit for how I want to spend my budget.

What other resources do you use for the end-of-year spending crunch?

I hate the feeling of discovering a popular new book AFTER my spending deadline has passed, so I really make every effort to get books on order while I can. And I issue a personal challenge to myself to have as many of the ALA Youth Media Award winners and nominees on my shelves when the awards are announced as possible. Here are more resources I use this time of year:

What other resources do you make sure to check for Collection Development?


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.

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