Category Archives: Carnegie

#YATakeover Neil Gaiman Interview

Early last week I received a cryptic e- mail from Jake Hope asking if I was free on Saturday from 4 – 5pm. I said of course and he revealed that Neil Gaiman had agreed to participate Anthe FAFictionado’s #YATakeover and they wanted me to host the chat.

Once I had managed to stop dancing round the library I agreed and then started fretting that something terrible would happen (spoiler: it didn’t)

The interview took place yesterday on twitter and the storify is below:

CILIP announces independently chaired review of Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals as part of its wider Equality and Diversity Plan

CILIP, the library and information association, has announced plans to include an independently chaired review of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals as part of the organisation’s wider Equality and Diversity Action Plan.

CILIP is due to publish its Equality and Diversity Action Plan, led by the CILIP Ethics Committee and the Board of Trustees, in the summer of 2017. The Plan is as a result of on-going work, following previously published research commissioned in 2015 by CILIP and the Archives and Records Association, which outlined diversity issues in the library, archives, records, information management and knowledge management sector, including a gender split in the workforce of 78.1% female to 21.9% male (UK workforce 50.1% female and 49.9% male) and 96.7% of the workforce identify as ‘white’ (UK workforce 87.5% identify as ‘white’).

CILIP’s Action Plan will identify steps in both the short and long-term to improve and champion equality and diversity within CILIP, its governance, membership and the wider library and information sector. It will now include details of the review process for the Medals.

Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive, said:

We are committed to championing diversity, equality and inclusion through all of CILIP’s activities, from the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals to the wider library and information sector, while also confronting and challenging structures of inequality. We know there are long-standing and embedded challenges and we see this as a tremendous opportunity to promote positive change for ourselves and the sector. For this reason, we are announcing the publication of our Equality and Diversity Action Plan and an independently chaired review into the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.

The decision to hold an independently chaired review of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals was taken by CILIP and the Working Party who plan and develop the Medals, following concerns raised about the lack of BAME representation on the 2017 Carnegie Medal longlist announced in February. The review will inform the annual evaluation process and long-term planning around the Medals and accompanying shadowing scheme. The review process – which will provide recommendations about how diversity, equality and inclusion can best be championed and embedded into its work – will be open, transparent and accountable and will proactively seek views and contributions from the widest possible range of stakeholders. The review will begin following the announcement of the 2017 winners in June and follow the 2018 prize cycle.

Tricia Adams, Chair of the Youth Libraries Group National Committee and Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards judging panel, commented: We are completely committed, as Medals judges and librarians, to championing diversity, equality and inclusion and challenging issues of structural inequality in a positive and constructive way.

The shortlist for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals will be announced on Thursday 16 March 2017. The winners of the Medals, and the Amnesty CILIP Honour (which commends human rights in children’s literature), will be announced on 19 June 2017.

Splitting the Atom Carnegie

Please note this post is a flight of fancy possibly brought on by the rather strong medication my GP gave me yesterday, or just a stray thought that hung around in my brain…

Scientific history note: The atom was first split in 1919 by Ernest Rutherford at the University of Manchester

The Carnegie Medal has been awarded to the most outstanding Children’s Book almost every year since 1936 (except in 1943, 1945 & 1966 as no titles were considered suitable).

In recent years the Medal has been awarded to books aimed at an older readership, this has prompted a number of comments over the years from observers that perhaps it is time for the Medal to be split into an older and younger award.

In 2015, then Chair of the CKG Judges panel Agnes Guyon penned a wonderful post on why splitting the Medal is not an option, you can read this here: https://www.cilip.org.uk/blog/cilip-carnegie-kate-greenaway-award-message-2015-chair-judges

Currently all books published under the umbrella of “Children’s Books” are eligible to be nominated for the Carnegie Medal, but until the publishing world starts differentiating between Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Teen Fiction and Young Adult Fiction it will not be possible for CILIP to even consider dividing up titles into Children’s & MG for a Carnegie Junior and Teen & YA fiction for a Carnegie Senior.

Let us say for the purpose of this post that publishers and authors did agree to start adding these sub-headings into Children’s Fiction, then it is conceivable that the Carnegie could be split.

Once all eligible titles had been nominated for a particular year, the first year judges could read towards a long-list for the Carnegie Junior Medal and second year Judges could read for long-listing the Senior Medal.

Once both long-lists had been announced the short-listing process could involve the entire Judging panel or perhaps it would be best to wait until the short-lists have been announced for the combined panel to choose the most outstanding books.

With the ever-expanding list of nominated titles this is a way that the lists could be kept manageable.

Anyway as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it is just a stray thought that I considered as an intellectual exercise, I am a supporter of a single medal for all Children’s Books! At least until a workable alternative can be developed

The CILIP CKG 2017 Controversy

Full disclosure: I am a member of CILIP and a former judge for the 2015 & 16 CILIP CKG Medals so this may open me up to accusations of bias but I also have an inside understanding of how the Medals process works from nominations to the awarding of the medals. I will lay out the whole process as briefly as possible while not excluding any information.

The long-lists were announced last week Thursday and while initially well-received there was a growing groundswell of discontent at the lack of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) on the lists.

It has been called “a deliberate snub”

“Appalling”

and other less complimentary terms.
Over the years the judging panel have been accused of many things including: being overwhelmingly female – and thus unable to fairly judge books that may have been written for a male readership, being too middle class – and therefore not being able to fairly judge a book written from a working class perspective and now being unable to fairly judge BAME books due to white privilege.

It is worth remembering that all titles are nominated by Librarians, this shows that the profession as a whole does seek out to reward diversity no matter the ethnic make-up of the majority of the members.

As a panel the judges disregard what is going on in other awards as the CKG medals are not a popularity contest and decisions rest solely on how titles measure up to the criteria which are often radically different to those in other awards. In comparison to other literary awards the CKG Awards are also fairly rare as all the judges read all the nominated titles.

Diversity in awards is important, if all awards focused on the same titles there would be no scope for the out of the ordinary books as often with CKG winners the books are not the most popular but rather those that (in the opinion of the panel) best capture the criteria.

There is one judge per YLG region in the UK as well as the Chair of Judges, the CKG Coordinator, Chair of the YLG National Committee and the Chair-elect who do not vote but use their experience and knowledge to guide the judging panel.

Each judge brings their years of experience of reading and evaluating books for children and young people, honed by the rigorous training before we sit on the panel to the group which is made up of a mix of first and second year judges – a combination of fresh eyes and experience.

Being a CKG Judge is an enormous privilege. It is also an enormously time-consuming process that takes control of an individual’s life for two years as reading 100 + books is not easy when one is juggling a career, home-life and in many cases children (my wife and I having our daughter at the outset of my second year as a judge almost did me in). Often Judges have to take unpaid leave from work to attend the selection meetings in London. Not everyone is able to take on this amazing challenge.

The accusations levelled at the sitting judges is difficult to bear as they are unable to respond due to the possibility of breaching the confidentiality of the judging process. It is not easy for a former judge to hear either as the accusations blanket all of us.

I am aware that the word racism was not used and a number of individuals have written incredibly persuasively that no one is accusing CKG judges of being closet racists but it is hard not to feel stung by the accusation that we have been purposefully side-lining BAME authors.

Having said that, I can begin to imagine that for BAME authors the feeling that you are not loved or wanted by Librarians can be even more distressing and painful. This is not just because I know and am on cordial speaking terms with a number of BAME authors but also I am a fan of theirs and many others work.

Out of interest I looked back at the 2016 Carnegie nominations and at a cursory glance I saw six BAME authors that I know had been nominated, three of these made the long-list.

In 2015 there were six nominations and no listings.

In 2014 there were three BAME nominations but no listings.

Prior to 2014 all nominations were automatically long-listed.

The paucity of BAME authors in the CKG listings is evidence of problems greater than the perceived short-comings of the award process.

The Carnegie Medal celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and people online have used this as a stick to beat the awards with saying that in 80 years it is disgraceful that a BAME author has never won. Over the weekend I started looking in to when the first BAME children’s authors were published in the UK, I am pretty sure that it was not in the 1930’s and I will not stop digging until I have found an answer, this is not to say that we should not be concerned about the lack of BAME authors but blaming a symptom rather than addressing the cause may be counter-productive.

Within publishing there is a distinct lack of diversity, this is in the process of changing but it will take years until the number of BAME authored titles published in the UK accurately reflects the population.

Library staff are not immune from a lack of diversity across the board either, ethnic monitoring with CILIP membership is optional utilising a tick box so it is hard to know exact numbers but the profession is overwhelmingly Caucasian.

I know from my experience on the London Youth Libraries Group Committee that the special interest groups regularly require fresh blood due to members stepping down and posts becoming available so if you are a Librarian of BAME heritage and have an interest in becoming involved with the CKG Awards please do consider joining CILIP if you are not already a member and sign up to a YLG regional committee or express interest in joining if there are no committee vacancies currently available.

If you are unsure about the cost of membership you can ask your employer to subsidise the membership fee as many employers do pay for employee membership of professional organisations.

Having also read CILIP C.E.O. Nick Poole’s response to criticism of the awards regarding a level playing field (and please note I am not speaking on his behalf) I think we can all agree that BAME authors and BAME citizens in general have never faced a level playing field with regard to publishing or life in the UK in general but in regard to the context in which books are read and considered against the set criteria – all the books are assessed equally.

I am aware that a number of authors and groups have been in contact with CILIP to open a discussion on the awards, their future and to make sure that no-one feels excluded, victimised or marginalised.

I support this endeavour and hope that we can all move forward together to ensure a future where all citizens of the UK feel included and see themselves represented in the Awards.

How authors, publishers & publicists can help

Be more vocal about books that are being published, this is really important if books are published close to or on the cut-off date (31st October) – Librarians are only human, we do not have the 100 eyes of Argus and sometimes miss things. It is usually not the books that massive publicity events accompanying the launch; it is the books that slip out with little to no fanfare, if you have a book that you feel hits most if not all the criteria then let us know, I know with librarians often the biggest problem we have is talking about ourselves – I am guessing it may be similar with many authors (that is why there are publicists), make sure that some proofs go to librarians (I am happy to help if publicists are not sure where to send books I can put you in contact with library friends and colleagues that read and review books as well as are active with nominating titles.

How librarians can help

Get involved with nominating, even if you are not directly involved with children’s and young people’s librarianship, all members of CILIP are eligible to nominate titles. If you are not sure what books to look at or read – ask a CYP or School Librarian for a suggestion, we love recommending books. Stop the breast-beating about guilt by association – if you feel strongly about it get stuck in, if you see the management level of the profession moving slowly or not at all then affect professional change from the grassroots.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, everything we do effects a change elsewhere – a greater demand for BAME titles will cause an uptick in publication, the more books that are published means more nominations, the more nominations there are means a greater chance of being listed and the increased chance for more books to be published.

What happens if nothing is done?

I have seen calls for a Carnegie boycott, authors calling on their publishers not to involve their books. All nominated titles will still be read, and if it is decided that a book by an author that later recuses themself from the award is chosen then it is possible that a no award will occur, years where no titles have been selected are incredibly rare but they have happened in the history of the award.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Although the CKG Awards are often regarded as monolithic and unchanging, the rules and regulations governing them are looked at, considered and updated on a regular basis.

The most recent update that springs to mind is the addition of the illustrator’s name to illustrated novels nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2016 http://www.thebookseller.com/news/illustrators-included-carnegie-nominations-314750

I have also heard through the grapevine that CILIP is working on making the profession more diverse, but as with every initiative this will take time.

So Long, and Thanks For All the Fics, Non-Fics and Pic Bks*

*Fiction, Non-Fiction and Picture Books

So… this is it, for the first time in two years I am out of the club of Judges, I have handed in my badge and secret decoder ring; the codes on the doors have been changed and my e-mail address removed from the judges mailing list.

Yesterday the 2016 CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards for the most outstanding books were awarded to Sarah Crossan for One and to Chris Riddell for The Sleeper and the Spindle.

This marked the end of my active invlovement as a CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Judge, having read (and reread) a combined number of 325 books over two years, and in that time winnowed them down to four outstanding books I am now free! Not that I really want to be but the CKG Awards always require fresh blood periodically.

I have worked with amazing librarians from across the country, people I previously only knew from twitter, e-mail (and some not at all), became friends and allies in the battle to recognise the most outstanding books for young people. In no particular order these stellar examples of librarian judges are (in no particular order):

Kara
Victoria
Sophie
Kathryn
Jan
Lucy
Tom
Elizabeth
Isobel
Alison
Amy
Joy
Agnes
Siobhan
Jenna
Tracey
Jillian
Jennifer
Tanja
Martha
Ellen

Thank you all! I owe everyone a debt of gratitude for making me welcome and for the experience of critically examining and discussing some of the best books published for children and young people in the UK.

I get so little time in my daily life to sit down and discuss books with other people that are as passionate and excitable about literature as I am that each time we met to discuss the nominations, long and short lists it was like a holiday – admittedly one where there was disagreement and arguments about the suitability of the books we were championing. It was pure heaven!

This year I was proud to be involved in helping to organise the inaugural CKG Judges Blog Tour, if you have not had the opportunity to read the interviews and would like some insight into the judging process you can find them (in order) here:

https://churchillacademylrc.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/ckg-2016-judges-blog-tour/

http://mythoughtsaboutbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/carnegie-judges-blog-tour-2016.html

http://www.minervareads.com/an-interview-with-the-ckg-judges/

https://picturebooksblogger.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/ckg/

https://ylgnorthwest.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/all-about-the-feels-judges-blog-tour-2016/

http://bookfairyhaven.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/the-2016-cilip-carnegie-kate-greenaway.html

http://www.serendipityreviews.co.uk/2016/06/cilip-carnegie-kate-greenaway-childrens.html

http://thedistrictcebookworms.primaryblogger.co.uk/2016/06/17/an-interview-with-ckg-judge-matt-imrie/

http://booksniffingpug.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/the-cilip-kate-greenaway-award-behind.html

I now have to go cold turkey from the judging process and am frantically looking for other awards that may be in need of an experienced judge, so if you are involved with the Kitschies, the YA Book Prize or any other national award and have a vacancy please let me know! Hell I’ll even take on the Booker!

Now, to all members of CILIP and the YLG I urge and implore you to consider getting involved with your regional committee and putting yourself forward to become a representative on the judges panel! You will not regret it!

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway (CKG) Awards process

  • The Awards are overseen by the Youth Libraries Group (YLG) which is a special interest group within the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)
  • Books can be nominated by any member of CILIP
  • Each member can nominate up to two books for each award
  • The CKG Judges as CILIP members are also allowed to nominate titles
  • Nominations for the 2015 Awards were open from the 1st September to the 6th October
  • Nominated titles are then checked for eligibility by the CKG Working Party & CILIP:

    Titles must have been first published in the UK between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014

    Books first published in another country must have been co-published in the UK within three months of the original publication date

  • When the nominations lists are made public the judges receive a full set of each of the Awards titles and start reading
  • From the nominations list a long-list of around 20 titles is selected by the judges working together under guidance from the Chair of Judges and referring to the full criteria for each award
  • The long-list is then be made public (10th February 2015)
  • The judges revisit and reread each of the books and scrutinise them even more closely before making a decision on short-listing, selecting six to eight of the titles for the short-list
  • The short-list is then made public (17th March 2015)
  • The hardest part of the judges’ task begins: selecting the most outstanding titles from the short-list
  • The winning titles are made public in June.
  •  
    The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book for children and young people
    The Carnegie Award is a gold medal and comes with £500 worth of books that the author can donate to the library of their choice.

    The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people
    The Kate Greenaway Award is also a gold medal and comes with £500 worth of books but also the Colin Mears Award which is a £5000 bequest left to the winner of the Kate Greenaway Award by Colin Mears, this has been awarded annually since the year 2000.

    Diary of a (soon to be) Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medal Judge

    ckg

    It is official

    I received my call-up e-mail today!

    I will be attending CKG Judge training on the 16th October at Seven Stories in Newcastle.

    After which I will be able to call myself a CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Judge

    I have been reading towards the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals since September last year. My reading has ramped up a bit over the past couple of months as there are so many good books that I missed (and that are still being published).

    I have no idea which titles will be nominated, I know that some of the books I have read so far will be on the nominations list

    I fear that the nominations list will be longer than last year which is one of the main reasons for starting to read early. I have heard that the nominations date is being brought forward to give judges enough time to read all the nominations and give due consideration to each; but by how much I do not know.