How in the world do we pick one book each year?
To start, we urge members of the public to nominate titles they think would be super reads for our community. Nominations are open year round. Throughout the year readers from the community are invited to let us know — via the SaratogaReads web site or seasonally at the nomination kiosk at the Saratoga Springs Public Library — what they think we should all be reading.
Fiction and nonfiction works are considered. Nominations must be readily available and published in paperback to proceed in the evaluation process. We are looking for books that will stimulate community-wide lively discussion and with themes that will inspire broader programming. When making a nomination please consider text complexity, accessibility and appeal to a wide audience. Don't forget that the selection is going to have to be engaging enough to win a community-wide vote!
We usually wind up with about 150 nominated titles. The Selection Advisory Group (SAG) then endeavors to read through the lot of them! We're a group of avid readers, and we spend the summer, fall and winter reading and discussing the suggested titles. It's a fun job if you love to read, and we're always looking for new members. We don't all read every choice, but we do get enough input to foster lively dialogue and debate. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining us.
By April 1st, we've winnowed the list down to a handful of favorites. We often put aside some very treasured works, but we chose the five we think are best suited to the kinds of programming we do best. You can imagine the intensity of emotion at that last meeting when we cut the list down for the last time. It's exciting and intense (and my favorite meeting of the year).
Then, it's back to you, folks. The public is invited to vote between April 1st and May 15th; you can vote online or use the ballot boxes stationed at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, and perhaps a few other local locations. We hope that when people vote they think not necessarily of their personal FAVORITE but of the BEST COMMUNITY READ. You do not need to have read all (or even any) of the books in order to vote. We provide blurbs about each book with enough information to give you a general sense of topic and scope. We ask that each person vote only once!
On September 15th, we will announce the winner — the book that will be the source of our programming through April. Get ready for a great Saratoga Reads season, and be sure to participate in every stage of this dynamic community-wide program.
Coordinator, Selection Advisory Group