As a Youth Services librarian that works with children and teenagers I feel a need to keep up with new work that is coming out for that age group in addition to reading the award winners each year. For me that includes the Printz Award and Honor Books, Newbery Award and Honor Books, Caldecott Award and Honor Books, and the Pura Belpre Award and Honor Books. I also always try to read a couple of winners from the time period before I was a librarian (or before I decided to add the particular award to my reading goals) in an effort to play catch up. I also tend to look through the Great Graphic Novels for Teens list and read a mountain of those (although I don't keep track) and take a glance at the Orbis Pictus each year and read the winner if sounds interesting.
All of these awards are given by various branches of the American Library Association except for the Orbis Pictus which is given by the National Council of Teachers of English. The Caldecott, Newbery and Printz are all awards for books that were considered the best in their field. These are not necesarily the books kids will find most interesting but they will end up becoming school assignment books and every library will try to have a copy of them on shelf. I feel like it's important to read these books because they are supposed to be the best of the best, it's good for professional development and more often then not I do find that a number of the books were on my to be read list anyway because they sounded interesting. The Pura Belpre award is given to authors and illustrators that do an excellent job of illustrating or writing about hispanic life and culture through their work. Since my family is all from Spain I always felt like this level was important on a personal level.
However I am beginning to feel torn about this decision. It's beginning to get a little overwhelming having 16 books added to my to be read list each year, not including the ones I am trying to read from years past. I don't always enjoy the books. Sometimes I am not enjoying the particular award winner and it becomes a struggle to finish the work. I also already have other books that I HAVE to read for library programs that are not necessarily my cup of tea. I feel like I haven't read anything I've wanted to read in a while now.
What award winners do you try and read every year? Do you struggle through the books you don't like or let yourself skip that particular one this year?