State Awards 101

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Convenient Listing in Bibz

If you open the Awards tab under List Filters in the left navigation area of Bibz Lists, you will see a section called State Awards. This title is somewhat of a misnomer, so a brief description of how the lists are compiled and the titles contained therein might be helpful.

All of the lists in this section have one thing in common: they are generated by an agency such as a state library or school librarians’ association. While not all lists are technically "award" lists, each list is relevant to a particular state. For convenience, Brodart collects these lists in a single place.

We post these lists for libraries that may wish to purchase the corresponding titles quickly and easily, as all the needed titles are collected on the list. List names begin with the two-letter state abbreviations, so by sorting alphabetically, customers can quickly locate their own state. This is important— there are close to 200 active lists at any given time!


What Are the Awards?

At this point, you might be saying, "OK, that makes sense. But what are these lists?"

Most lists are compiled by a state agency, usually to promote reading among children. These lists could be called “nominees,” “master lists,” or “reading lists”. We try to follow the nomenclature used by each issuing agency to help customers identify the correct list. Nearly all states select titles annually and often promote these as “children’s choice” selections. Both school and public libraries encourage students to read the books and then vote for their favorites. Votes are tallied statewide, a winner is announced, and the process begins again for the next year.

Some states provide nominee lists for different ages or grade levels, so there could be four to six lists for a given state. Keeping lists separate particularly assists the public library whose buyers want to purchase titles for particular age groups. Note that not all states are represented on Bibz. Some states do not seem to create “children’s choice” lists, so none are available.

One other type of list found in the State Awards section is Battle of the Books (BOB). A few states compile statewide lists and may provide test questions and other resources to support BOB competitions within their respective states.


Why Are State Awards Important for Libraries?

These awards may determine what titles students in a particular state will be reading. In the case of the “children’s choice” lists, students read the books listed and then vote. Often, school librarians are the ringleaders of these programs, but public libraries can also participate. If many students will be reading the books, schools can’t necessarily provide all the needed copies so students search for them at public libraries. In general terms, anything that gets kids to read is important to libraries!

State award lists also serve as a "heads up" to libraries as to what kids in their state will likely be reading. This allows them to plan ahead to have at least one copy on hand to support state reading initiatives. Chances are, libraries already have many of these titles in their collection, but if they don’t, they can decide about purchasing them or adding more copies.

Brodart sometimes posts lists of winners and/or honorees if particular customers request them (often for an Opening Day Collection project). When necessary, we use the note field in title detail to differentiate between winners and honorees. If we have added the title to a source, the title detail will also contain the appropriate “winner” or “honoree” designation.


Using the Lists

At the end of the day, state award lists are intended to make ordering sought-after titles much easier and less time-consuming for our customers. So take a look and see what's relevant to your library.