The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has established a new rule stating that Youth Media Awards committee members may not publish reviews or blog about materials eligible for awards during their committee tenure. The new regulation goes into effect in 2016.
A task force comprised of three former chairs and one current chair of an awards committee, along with a publishing representative, proposed the changes to the ALSC board, which were then approved during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. ALSC’s previous policy was written before social media use was prevalent, and the task force was formed in order to examine current acceptable social media use by committee members, said ALSC president Starr LaTronica.
“When a committee member goes on record about an eligible title, it does carry weight,” LaTronica said. “Whether it’s a commendation or condemnation, it does set public opinion about that book.”
She added that the new policy isn’t a big departure from current rules. Previously, reviewers were asked to avoid reviewing eligible titles, whereas now they are being explicitly told not to.
“I hope that they will understand that this was a very considered decision” made by task force members who “really gave it a lot of thought and discussed it at great length,” she said. Most important is to “preserve the integrity of the awards and the confidential nature of the process.”