Young People’s Book Awards
I have chosen to review the website “Inside a Dog”, a website developed by the State Library of Victoria. While there are other websites which are dedicated to young people’s book awards, or even book awards that are chosen by young people (such as Children’s Book Council), I chose this website because its target audience was youths and young people. The website is all about books and encourages reading as an enjoyable activity for young people. It is essentially a place where teenagers and young adults can write and share book reviews, news, fanart, join virtual books clubs, and find new books to read. Interestingly, there are “You’re the Voice” posts which allow users to comment for which they are paid to do so. The site helps to promote young adult literature and has a sense of community as it inspires discussion amongst young people. The website is bright and eye-catching and contains enough information to make the site worth going to.
Of particular interest are the annual Inky Awards for new youth literature and were founded by the State Library’s Centre for Youth Literature in 2007. These awards are shortlisted by young adults and are voted online by teens. They are “Australia’s first national teen choice awards for young adult literature” (insideadog.com, 2012). Teenagers from around the nation can vote for their favourite Inky Awards book online, and for the first time in 2012 by voting slips at schools, libraries and bookstores (narstrong, 2012). There are two kinds of Inky Awards – the Gold Inky – which is for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky – which is for an international book (insideadog.com, 2016). The Inky Awards are particularly important because they tell writers and publishers what is considered the best according to young people, and therefore what they must endeavour to attain. I feel that the Inky Awards encourage youths to read good quality contemporary books and to honour the winning authors of these books annually.
Although Inside a Dog is primarily a website targeted towards young people, it also contains resources for teachers too. These include notes which are designed to help integrate the website with the classroom. I found Inside a Dog and the associated Inky Awards relevant because it helps both information professionals, librarians and teachers gain a better understanding of the types of books that young people are reading, and the types of things they can do to encourage them to read further. This is helpful information for librarians because these titles can be used as a guide when considering what books to recommend to children and teens as well as being a helpful list of what to keep on the shelves. Extensive examination of the website helped me learn more about the types of things young people like, the various ways they communicate with one another as well as teachers, parents and librarians. I think that this will help me to be better equipped for helping young people with their reader’s advisory questions. It also helped me understand a new forum of communication with and between young people.
There were definitely gaps in my knowledge with regard to children’s and/or teen book awards. In fact, in my current role I deal with housebound patrons – the absolute other end of the spectrum! Prior to researching Inside a Dog and other children’s book award websites, I really had no idea of the various awards, award processes, and the significance of these awards. I plan to further my knowledge in the area on the subject by reading further and discussing with key children’s staff where I work.
narmstrong. (2012). The Inky Awards 2012 Winners Announced. Retrieved from http://readalert.blogs.slv.vic.gov.au/2012/10/24/the-inky-awards-2012-winners- announced/#.VqLy3rf76Uk
Shuttleworth, M. (2006). Inside a Dog. Schools Catalogue Information Service. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_60/inside_a_dog.html
State Library of Victoria. (2016). Inside a Dog. Retrieved from https://insideadog.com.au/
State Library of Victoria. (2016) Inky Awards winner announced. Retrieved from http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/interact-with-us/media-centre/inky-awards-winner-announced