Dear Librarian

sandy brehl guest post

Dear Library Friend,

I’m so was so excited to hear from you! When sharing thoughts about volunteering as a CYBILS AWARDS panelist with my Blogger Friend, I was hoping they might find their way to others. Library friends are the perfect target audience for these discussions since librarians are ALWAYS my best friends, my portal to the reading world that enriches my life. During the nomination and evaluation periods for CYBILS AWARDS panelists, close connections to a network-linked library is extremely helpful, and librarians have always found ways to help me out in locating some tough-to-find titles.

You mentioned several questions, and I am a huge fan of “well-curated” resources on the internet. Among those is the website for Cybils Awards, which offers vast resources in well-organized tabs, including the BOOKS tab, which offers info about the many winners and finalists in various categories, easy links for buying, and paired/themed titles for eager readers and librarians. Just to be clear, this is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that relies on other volunteers to keep the standards high during each year’s awards considerations.

Their FAQ page (  is no exception, and they offer clear and authoritative answers to satisfy your curiosity and more. Among those is the central question you asked—who can be a panelist? Hint: librarians are prime candidates! You don’t need to have a formal blog, since your job defines you as being immersed in books and regularly sharing your recommendations with your patrons, in reviews, in newsletters, and in book clubs.

Side distraction: I did a quick search for the collective noun for a gathering of librarians and found that this isn’t a settled matter. Among my favorite nominees are these:

A collection of librarians, a hush of librarians, a source of librarians, a query of librarians, a chapter of librarians, a stack of librarians, a niche of librarians, and so many more. Search it and enjoy!

My point is (and I do have a point, eventually), librarians tend to share information with each other effectively and eagerly. I urge you to pass along this conversation. Talk among yourselves to learn who has served previously as a panel volunteer for CYBILS AWARDS. Seek their advice and feedback. I’m open to conversations with any/all who care to reach out. Your interest has me trying to type accurately with my fingers crossed, hoping you’ll join the CYBILS volunteer team. This is one of the most broad-based, open-to-all, wide-ranging awards platforms available to authors and publishers. The two-stage evaluation process with separate panel membership assures that the eventual finalists and winners are of the highest quality, while packed with reader-appeal. The more we can attract new volunteers with diverse backgrounds and identities and readerships and fans, the more successfully CYBILS AWARDS can be sustained and grow into the future.

Here’s hoping you’ll help make that happen!

signoff SB

“A writer feels happy when the words connect with the reader’s heart.”
 Avijeet Das