If there's any one reason all librarians, and particularly those who work with children and teens, should attend the Midwinter Meeting, it's so they can attend the unforgettable live spectacle that is the Youth Media Awards (YMA) announcements (see all the winners here). Once you've been there, you will never again think of books and media the same way. Witnessing the absolute excitement and joy that hundreds of people have about the books and media created for children and teens is energizing and exciting. It's so easy to get swept away and it is absolutely enchanting (there's really no other word for it) to be involved with it all.
The line to get in begins hours before the doors open and that's when the anticipation builds. Most everyone is familiar with awards like the Newbery and the Caldecott, but the YMAs also include awards for books written for teens, early reader titles, and even audio and video choices.
These lists represent the hard work of ALA members throughout the year. They read and discuss all eligible titles—often hundreds of titles—to come up with the most distinguished books and media for children and teens. This amazing commitment from ALA members helps librarians, educators, and parents across the country (and even the globe) as they select materials to purchase and use with their patrons and students.
But the joy and excitement of the Monday morning announcement is much more than seeing these lists: It's sharing a moment with colleagues that is an overwhelming affirmation of the work children and teen librarians do. If you have ever been "in the room" when the announcements are made, you never forget the way it feels. And if you haven't . . . it's not too early to start planning for Midwinter 2015!
ANGIE MANFREDI is head of youth services at Los Alamos County (N.Mex.) Library System.
See, hear, and read more about what’s going on at Midwinter—in real time and after.
Twitter: @alamw and #alamw14