Amelia Bloomer Policies and Procedures

The Amelia Bloomer Project
Feminist Books for Youth
Policies & Procedures
Last revised February 2018

Charge

To select recently-published books with significant feminist content for young people from birth to age 18, and to annotate the selected titles.

Purpose of the List

The list presents well-written and well-illustrated books with significant feminist content published in the past eighteen months that are recommended for young people from birth through 18 years of age.

Fiction and nonfiction should have readable text and a format appealing to young readers. Titles must be accurate and able to stand on their own. Although the list attempts to present a variety of reading tastes and levels, no effort will be made to balance the list according to subject, area of interest, age, or genre.

Target Audience

The list is prepared for the use of young people from birth through 18 years of age. Adults who work with young readers may also find it of interest.

Nominations

Books may be recommended by anyone through the field recommendation process (described in the “Field Recommendations” section below), but books can only be officially nominated for the list by regular committee members.

A book must be read in its entirety by the nominator before it is nominated. Titles may be nominated from advance copies, but the finished copy must be read by at least one committee member before the book is discussed at Midwinter.

Nominations must include a complete citation (following the format provided by the co-chairs),  a brief annotation (1 or 2 sentences), and an explanation of the book’s feminist content. The citation and annotation should also be posted publicly to the committee blog.

The deadline for nominations is midnight (local time) on October 31.

Field Recommendations

Any reader may recommend a title to the committee. The process for submitting a field recommendation will be detailed on the committee blog. Field recommendations must be received by September 30. Recommended books must be read and nominated by a regular committee member to be eligible for the list. We encourage readers to review the committee’s criteria carefully before submitting recommendations.

Eligibility

A book must have a copyright date during the current calendar year or have been published from July to December of the previous calendar year to be eligible for nomination. Any book which was discussed at any point during the previous ALA Midwinter meetings is not eligible for nomination the following year.

Books must be distributed in the United States to be eligible for nomination. A book originally published outside the United States may be considered eligible according to its U.S. publication date.

Books which are revisions of previously published titles will be considered if the revision makes the book substantially different from the previous edition.

Books written or illustrated by current committee members are not eligible for nomination.

Committee Members

The Amelia Bloomer Project consists of nine regular members and one alternate member. Members are appointed by the co-chairs of the Amelia Bloomer Project on a staggered basis to maintain a balance of new and continuing members.

Members must actively seek books, nominate suitable titles, read the books nominated by others, and attend meetings at ALA Midwinter conferences to actively participate in deliberation on the nominated titles and reach consensus on the books to be included in the year’s Amelia Bloomer List. Member attendance at ALA Midwinter Meeting to participate in deliberations is mandatory. Failure to attend may result in removal from the committee at the co-chairs’ discretion.

Members of the project do not need to be members of the Feminist Task Force but are encouraged to join.

New members are appointed to a probationary one-year term; after completion of the first year, members may be reappointed at the discretion of the co-chairs to the Project for a two-year term. Following this two-year term, the committee member may elect to participate for one additional year. After four years’ service, unless they are currently serving or asked to serve as co-chair, members are asked to take a one-year hiatus.

Past members may apply to be put on the list for membership consideration after their one-year hiatus. If an applicant who has completed a non-probationary term on the committee is accepted by the co-chairs as a repeat committee member, they do not serve a one-year probation. The repeat member begins immediately with a two-year term, after which they may elect to participate for one additional year. Unless they are currently serving or asked to serve as a co-chair, a repeat member may not sit on the committee for longer than three years without taking a one-year hiatus.

 

Committee Co-chairs

The charge of the Amelia Bloomer Project is facilitated by two co-chairs. The co-chairs share the responsibilities of moderating group deliberations at the Midwinter Meeting; interviewing and selecting new committee members; responding to inquiries about the project made to the project email or through other avenues; attending to business matters; communicating with publishers and members regarding nominated books and committee functions; and coordinating an event at the ALA Annual Conference, possibly in conjunction with another book selection committee. The Amelia Bloomer Project co-chairs report to the coordinator(s) of the Feminist Task Force on the activities and status of the Amelia Bloomer Project.

The Amelia Bloomer Project co-chairs seek to build the capacity of committee members to contribute to the project charge and to increase awareness of the committee’s work.  The co-chairs share the privilege and responsibility of reading, nominating, discussing, and voting on books with the other committee members.

Each co-chair serves the Amelia Bloomer committee for two years. Their terms are offset, creating a senior (second-year) co-chair and a junior (first-year) co-chair. By the end of ALA Midwinter Meeting, co-chairs will choose an incoming co-chair from among those members eligible and interested in becoming co-chair. If multiple members are eligible and interested, current co-chairs may request that interested members submit answers to questions or engage in interviews at some point during the preceding year to help them choose an incoming co-chair.

The outgoing senior co-chair will end their term following the publication and distribution of the year’s list, including contacting publisher and author honorees. As the immediate past co-chair, they will then continue to serve as a resource to the current co-chairs, but they are not required to attend the ALA Midwinter Meeting deliberations. Following a one-year hiatus, former co-chairs may apply to be put on the list for membership consideration.

Alternate

When selecting committee members, the co-chairs may elect to choose an alternate.

The alternate is available to fill the place of a committee member who is not able to attend Midwinter Meeting due to an emergency, participating in discussion and helping the group reach consensus. If an alternate fills in for a current member due to a serious but temporary emergency during the Midwinter Meeting, the regular committee member retains their membership for the remainder of their regular term. In the unlikely event of a permanent mid-year vacancy (e.g. a committee member withdraws from the committee due to unforeseen circumstances), the alternate fills the open slot and remains on the committee, and their year as an alternate becomes their one-year probationary term as a regular committee member. Otherwise, at the co-chairs’ discretion, the alternate may return the following year to begin their one-year probationary term as a regular committee member.

Alternates are not required to seek out nominations; however, they may submit field recommendations to be read and considered for nomination by a regular committee member. Alternates are asked to read and take notes on all nominations in preparation to discuss these titles and help reach consensus on their inclusion on the Bloomer list in case there is an emergency vacancy during deliberations. Alternates vote on the straw poll; however, unless the alternate has been called up to fill a vacancy, these votes do not count toward the quorum of readers. Alternates do not vote in the formal vote at Midwinter.

Alternates agree to attend Midwinter prepared to step in and participate should any committee member miss Midwinter in whole or in part because of an emergency. Alternates are welcome to participate in discussion at Midwinter. While alternates do not need to attend every meeting if all members are present at the first meeting during Midwinter, they are asked to remain on-call. If an alternate fills an emergency vacancy during Midwinter, they come to all meetings and deliberations and participate in them fully while the committee is short a regular member.

If the alternate fills in for a regular member at any point during the Midwinter deliberations, they will be given credit on the Bloomer list as a member of the committee for that year, although they would not be a regular continuing committee member unless they filled in following a permanent emergency vacancy. If the alternate does not fill in at any point during the Midwinter deliberations, they will be listed on the Bloomer list as “(alternate)” for that year.

Polling and Consensus

Committee members will vote in an online straw poll in early December prior to the Midwinter Meeting, with the precise date to be announced by the co-chairs. Committee members may vote Yes (a book meets all criteria and should be included on the Amelia Bloomer list), No (the book fails to meet one or more criteria and should not be included on the list), or Maybe on each book they have read. If they have not read a title, the committee member fills in the vote as Not Read. Members continue to update the straw poll until Midwinter. A formal poll will be taken at the beginning of the Midwinter Meeting.

The final discussion and selection will be conducted at the Midwinter Meeting. Members must have read books in order to discuss and vote on them. To be considered for the list, a book must have a quorum of readers, a majority of committee members having read and prepared to discuss the book. Members are asked to disclose personal and professional connections to nominated titles and to recuse themselves from voting and discussion when a significant conflict of interest exists. The co-chairs are available to help members discern the best course of action.

Members must be present at the meetings to lend their voice to each consideration on the list. When offering support or objection to a title, members must be specific about why a title does or does not meet criteria for feminist content, quality, and age appeal. The final list is not limited to a certain number of fiction or nonfiction titles, nor is it limited to a certain number of titles for different age groups.

When the recommended list of feminist books for young readers has been determined, the bibliographic information for each title will be rigorously checked for accuracy and the annotation collaboratively composed and edited for brevity and clarity by committee members. An introduction to the list will be collaboratively written that reflects the nature of that year’s list.

Availability of Lists for General Distribution

The Top Ten list will be announced at Midwinter, and the complete final list will be available online and distributed to ALA-ODLOS, FTF, and Booklist within three days of the close of the Midwinter Meeting. Other print and non-print media will be used to publicize the list, such as magazines directed at children and teens, women, families, and library professionals.

 

Year’s Schedule

Shortly after the Midwinter Meeting, co-chairs will interview and select new members for the list, seeking to balance diversity of perspective and diversity of young people served (geographic distribution, type of library, community, and age group experience/ current contact). The most important criteria for new members will be their demonstrated commitment to feminism and their demonstrated commitment to young people, including providing quality books for youth between birth and 18 years of age. Potential members should be apprised of the commitment entailed in the responsibilities of this committee’s work.

The month(s) following Midwinter

The co-chairs will submit a roster of current committee members to the committee and the publishers, including the criteria for the books. Committee members will begin reading and analyzing books, submitting nominations as suitable. All nominations will follow the process described above. A comprehensive list of all nominated titles will be maintained by committee members in a common online format. Committee members may also provide the co-chairs with information about books that might be appropriate so that co-chairs can request review copies. It is suggested that regular committee members concentrate on books that have not been nominated, saving nominated books for reading after the nomination deadline.

February/March: The Bloomer list is published in Booklist (historically, in the preface to Women’s History Month article).

March: Submit to FTF plans and description for any desired event at Annual (see below).

Annual Conference: the committee members may elect to present an event at Annual Conference. Work on this can be done during Midwinter meetings and via email/telephone.

Committee members who attend Annual will seek out books at the exhibits to determine any that might be suitable for committee consideration and acquaint publisher reps with the work of the committee. Titles and publishers of promising titles will be recommended to the chair for request of review copies.

September/October: Submit specs for upcoming Midwinter committee meetings to FTF: all room requirement details, any AV or internet access requirements, information for the Scheduler, and any other information requested.

October 31: Deadline for nominations, midnight local time.

November: Confirm initial draft of the ABP press release with ALA-ODLOS. Coordinate with ALA-ODLOS on timing of communication for Bloomer list press release.

Early December: Committee members will conduct a “straw poll” of the nominated books. Any books on which all members vote No will be stricken from consideration.

Midwinter Meeting (usually January)

Committee members meet to discuss nominated books and reach consensus on the final list. Any business that should be addressed by the whole committee is conducted at these meetings as well.

An initial vote is taken, and books with an immediate consensus “yes” or “no” are set aside. Each remaining title is discussed. Decisions are made by consensus, meaning that each member is willing to “live with” the decision. If consensus cannot be reached, one member of the group can agree to willingly stand aside to allow the collective process to move forward. In truly adverse circumstances, the group can agree (by consensus) to a super-majority voting rule for a specific title. The group tries to avoid this impasse. Committee members must be present at the meetings to participate in the discussion.

Once a decision has been reached on every title, the committee will jointly prepare final annotations, verify bibliographic information, and write the introduction for the list. Following the composition of the list, the committee will publicize the list and contact the authors/published whose works appear on it. The committee will arrive at a Top Ten list earlier than the final meeting to facilitate promotion of that list.

Before Midwinter, the co-chairs will work with committee members to ensure that a finished copy of every nominated book is brought to the meetings. Committee members may take these books to read between meetings, but all books brought to the conference must be made available at all meetings. Books brought to the conference are, ideally, donated to a local resource in the host city or retained by the committee member who brought them to be donated to a library, organization, or individual of their choice, or retained for their own personal use. Books that were provided as publisher review copies for the work of the committee may not be sold for individual gain even if they are not nominated or placed on the year’s list.

 

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4 thoughts on “Amelia Bloomer Policies and Procedures

  1. bqwriter February 16, 2011 / 10:55 am

    I am thrilled and honored by the inclusion of my first YA novel, “A Golden Web,” on the 2011 Amelia Bloomer List of Recommended Titles.

    While researching and writing the story of Alessandra Giliani, a 14th century girl who faced down Church, State and family to pursue her dream of going to medical school, I realized that all too many 21st century girls on our planet are facing many of the same overwhelming obstacles. How I would love to get my little book into the hands of every ambitious girl who dares to say yes when everyone around her is saying no!

    Your list will be a gift of encouragement and inspiration to girls and women throughout the English-speaking world, a wonderful extension of the gifts already bestowed on young readers by the unsung heroes and heroines of the literary world: librarians.

  2. Sabine Justilien July 22, 2012 / 4:32 pm

    I would love to speak to someone who oversees the current project! I am a student and am doing research on these books. Any contact would be helpful!

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