Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Professional Program: Mock Printz

About midway through January the Suffolk and Nassau Library Systems got together and held a Mock Printz discussion.  A Mock Printz is like a mini version of what the ALA Printz Committee goes through every year when selecting Printz Award and Honor books.  Unlike the ALA Committee we only had to read and vote on 6 titles.  The ALA Committee most likely reads an astounding number of books over the course of the year.  I had already read one of the books to be discussed and four of the remaining five were on my to be read list.  I went back and forth about whether or not I should attend mainly because I wasn't sure I would have enough time to read all six books before the discussion and it would suck up my only day off that week.

Then one of my coworkers was asked to lead a discussion on 3 of the 6 books selected.  Of course she ended up despising the book I had already read which I had actually really enjoyed, so she asked me if I would lead the discussion with her; reminding me that it would look fabulous on my resume.  Naturally this was the final push that teetered me into deciding to attend the workshop and help her lead the discussion group.

For Long Island's Mock Printz discussion we had to read:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Seraphina by Rachel Hartmen

Bomb:  the Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

My coworker and I lead the group discussion on The Raven Boys, The Brides of Rollrock Island and Chopsticks.  We prepared five questions on each book ahead of time.  Due to all kinds of scheduling mishaps and a heavy programming schedule we were unable to meet in person so we used Google Docs to formulate out questions.  I highly recommend this when preparing for a presentation with multiple people and you are unable to meet in person.  It's so much easier then emailing a document back and forth and allows both users to be online editing at the same time and allows for a chat function so that you can discuss changes that you're making in real time in the same browser window which I find extremely convenient.  

I fully admit that I was very nervous going into this.  I don't really do any adult programming and I am generally not used to talking to large groups of adults at the same time unless they are a large group of people that I already know.  I had also never run a book discussion group before.  Fortunately things went smoothly and I actually had a lot of fun.  

First 6 people got up individually and each read a defense of one of the books.  They talked about why they enjoyed the book and what features made it Printz-worthy.  The group was then divided in half with the two of us leading a discussion on our three books and with two school librarians leading a discussion on the other three books  

We did decide to change the order of the books last minute and shift the discussion of Chopsticks to the end.  For those of you that haven't read it Chopsticks is a very different book.  The story is told through visuals mostly and has links to online media.  It can also be downloaded and read entirely as an app.  I think the whole concept is really interesting although not necessarily Printz worthy.  Most people either love or hate the book and we probably could have spent the entire time just discussing the one book.  We then swapped and met with the second group.  Then everyone met together and we voted.   

Our Mock Printz award winner ended up being Code Name Verity, which we now know ended up being one of the Printz Honor Books for 2012.  We also had one Mock Printz honor book Bomb which ended up winning the YALSA Nonfiction Award.  

As I said before I actually had a lot of fun.  It was also a great opportunity.  I read a lot of books that would probably have taken me at least a year to get to otherwise.  I also ran into some folks I hadn't seen since library school, networked with some new librarians and stepped out of my comfort zone a little and succeeded beautifully.  I'm already hoping I get to do it all again next year.  

No comments:

Post a Comment