Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cybils Shortlists Announced!

I am thrilled to join my voice to the chorus and announce the Cybils shortlists! Head over to the Cybils blog for complete lists and annotations and all sorts of happy things. I am, of course, very excited with the shortlist put together by the panel I organized, Non-Fiction Picture Books
  • Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
  • Dolphin Baby by Nicola Davies
  • Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who will the babies be? By Janet Halfmann
  • Island: A story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
  • Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman
  • Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter
  • Nic Bishop Snakes
and equally thrilled with the list we panelists put together for Graphic Novels
  • Annie Sullivan and the trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
  • Giants beware by Jorge Aguirre
  • Hilda and the midnight giant by Luke Pearson
  • Little white duck by Na Liu
  • Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!
  • Darkroom: A memoir in black and white by Lila Quintero Weaver
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Friends with boys by Faith Erin Hicks
  • Ichiro by Ryan Inzana
  • Marathon by Boaz Yakin
Some other titles I was very excited to see showing up in the finalists:
  • I'm really in love with the awesome list the Fiction Picture Books folks came up with, especially Creepy Carrots, Chloe and the Lion, and One Special Day. How many awards award the funny? I also really loved Meserve's illustrations in One Special Day.
  • MG/YA Nonfiction has an awesome list too, I kinda think of them as NFPB all grown-up (-:). I've read everything on the list except the Titanic book and they are all amazing!
  • I'm usually not much for poetry, but I was thrilled to see In the Sea on the list. One of the few poetry books I've found that works well in storytime. Of course Last Laughs was hilarious and afforded me many hours of fun freaking out coworkers with quotes.
Now for reflection time...this could really be an end of the year post, but Cybils is a big part of it. I feel that my Cybils work this year was the culmination of something that's been a big part of my working life for the past year and a half or so: Collaboration. Honesty time: I am NOT a natural team player. Blame it on a combination of my very...different...upbringing and my own extreme personality quirks. It certainly wasn't something I learned about in undergrad or grad school, apart from a few sullen participations in group projects. I wish I had learned more about how to do this in school or in my internships, but I think perhaps it's something that a lot of people do naturally, so it wouldn't occur to them that it would need to be taught. Anyhow, I knew it was something I needed to work on, but I couldn't figure out how. Being the only youth services librarian in a medium-sized library in a very loose consortium does not lend itself to collaboration with colleagues. But starting in the fall of 2011, the universe said, "hey, I will show you how" and It Was So. 

It started with helping to put together a consortium-wide summer reading program and working with committees to design reading logs and select Storywagon performers. Then the main challenge came when we were faced with the necessity to change our toddler storytime format. This may sound minor to you, but it pretty much sucked up every spare minute of my time during the winter/spring months of 2012. Countless meetings, official and unofficial, with Miss Pattie and my director. Talking to patrons. Talking to other librarians. Writing plans and justifying changes, then starting all over when they didn't work out. It was HARD. So many different needs and opinions. A lot of days I just went home and wanted to throw up, it was that stressful. But I did it. We started in the fall with a new format, registration, and schedule for storytime. Is everyone 100% satisfied? No. Will we make more changes in the future? Probably. But we compromised and made it work and I learned about how to get a very disparate group to work together. Midway through this exciting venture I joined an ALSC committee and learned a bit about how to connect with a group online. Then I got the exciting email inviting me to organize Non-Fiction Picture Books.

Now, I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I was a first round panelist for Easy Reader/Early Chapter Books, Fiction Picture Books, and Non-Fiction Picture Books. I know work. What I didn't expect was how it would grow me as a team player. There's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on in Cybils and getting  to work with and learn from Team Cybils is an amazing experience. I learned a lot about how to manage a very different group of people, albeit virtually, and how to support what I think is one of the awesome things about Cybils - we bring together people with very different backgrounds, careers, and connections but who all love kids and their books and use all those things to put together a list of the best books with strong kid appeal. Moderating discussions and helping people articulate their thoughts and find their strengths is more work than I could have imagined - and so worth every minute. I learned not only from Team Cybils, but from my panelists and the experiences they brought, both from previous Cybils and from their own experiences.

So, that was my year. I've thrown everything I had into improving my communication skills in the past few years and now I'm building on those to create communities and teams in my library and online. It's an amazing thing to watch it all come together and see what I can change and how, when I do, it affects everyone in these different groups.

On to Round 2 and here's to growing, learning, and more collaboration!