Another Year, Another Mock Printz

As the year begins to wind down, so do Mock Printz selection teams! With the Michael L. Printz Award just over 2 months away, we begin to narrow our choices and seriously discuss our contenders.  As a member of my library system’s selection team, I read many amazing and beautiful books this year. The experience was fun, engaging, and exposed me to books and authors I may not have otherwise picked up.

Does your library host a Mock Printz? What is your set up?

My selection team consists of 6-8 Teen Librarians and support staff with interests in teen literature. Our two team leaders set up a Goodreads group where we could add potential titles to our shelf and discuss titles we read throughout the year. We narrowed down our contender pool via a few face to face meetings and plenty of Goodreads discussion threads.  Because of the sheer volume of books we needed to read, we required three team members to give a title “contender” status before it was made a contender. We also required two team members to deem a title “DNR – Do Not Read” before we could scratch it from our lists. Let me tell you, it is challenging! Many passionate discussions were held over the past 12 months.

Because of the time it takes our system to process books, our plan was to choose a few titles published between January and June that we thought were definitely contenders. Then we met again in November to choose a few more titles we felt were worthy of the award. That way, everyone participating in the final mock award selection has time to check out and read all the contenders before the final meeting. This year my team chose seven titles to be discussed at our library’s annual Mock Printz in February. From those seven titles we will chose one to win our mock award. Naturally we base all of our decisions on the criteria set forth by the actual Printz committee. Those can be found on the YALSA website!

If you’re considering setting up your own Mock Printz, here is a little list to get you started!

  1. Select your committee. Send out an email to librarians in the area and gauge interest.
  2. Use a tracking method to add books to a “to read” list (whether that is on a social site like Goodreads, or just a spreadsheet your team can share). We sifted through professional magazines, starred reviews, Goodreads reviews, word of mouth, and our gut instincts to find books.
  4. Discuss! Make sure you are constantly discussing the merits of all the titles you are reading.
  5. Narrow down your titles as you go.
  6. Select your winner!

If your system does not host a Mock Printz, check out this Mock Printz group on Goodreads!

–Megan Whitt, currently reading La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman