A #CYBILSAWARDS FIRST: Summer Call for Judges

You spoke.

We listened.

In post-awards surveys over the last few years, the #1 request from judges has been to have more time to talk about books. One of the top requests from from category chairs is to get “all the books” nominated. To meet those challenges, the Board of Directors has voted to have two Calls for Judges. Our traditional call in mid-August and a new one for summer. The June Early Call has four goals. To give panelists the opportunity to:

  • read books that will be eligible in their category.
  • read and/or review books without any constraints.
  • recommend books to each other and get comfortable with the process.
  • discover books they hope to be nominated.

Last but not least, it gives readers who may be new to the CYBILS Awards a chance to see what it’s like to be a judge before making a firm commitment. Yes. that’s right. Answering the Early Call does not commit you to being a CYBILS Awards judge in the fall. [Though we sure hope you’ll love us enough to stay.]

See more FAQs below.

Applications & Categories

The Early Call will open on June 1 and run through June 14. It will be the same application process we have always used. The participating categories include

  • Board Books/Fiction Picture Books
  • Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books
  • Nonfiction (Elem, MG, HS)
  • Graphic Novels (Elem, MG, YA)
  • Poetry
  • Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction
  • Middle-Grade Fiction
  • YA Speculative Fiction
  • YA Fiction

Frequently Asked Questions

If I can’t participate in June, will that hurt my chances to be a judge?

Not at all. First, not all categories are participating in the June call. Second, we don’t expect to fill all slots within a category panel. 

How do I know if I’m selected?

Short of the database, we will use the process we always have. Category chairs review the applications to identify panelists who want to get a jump on reading in their category. The chairs will then reach out to confirm your interest and, once the group is set, create a communication system for the group.

How will communications work?

The chair will create some type of “group” channel so that everyone can talk about books. There are no decisions to be made (i.e., these aren’t nominations), so communication will be “lightly” structured to fit with the goals of more leisurely reading, discussion, and building camaraderie. 

If I participate in the Early Call, am I committed to being a Round 1 judge in the fall?

No. Summer panelists will have the opportunity to stay where they are, move to Round 2, or decide not to participate. We hope the latter isn’t the case, but we do understand. It is a busy time of year.

What if the category I love isn’t listed in the Early Call?

You are welcome to apply for one of the participating categories and request a change in the fall. That won’t get you a jump on the reading in your favorite category, but it does give you a chance to meet other panelists and talk books. Who knows, you might just find a new love.

Do we have to review books and update the database?
We will not be using the database for the summer. Panelists are reading books that are eligible in their category, not nominees. That process doesn’t begin until October 1. Reviews are always welcome, and it may be a way for you to personally remember books as you read them. However, there is no requirement to write them. 

We hope we have answered all your questions. If not, drop it as a comment below or email us at info@cybils.com.