8 years ago

LoveOzYA Committee response to ‘CIVICA 2016 Libraries Index Most borrowed books of 2016’

LoveOzYA Committee response to ‘CIVICA 2016 Libraries Index  Most borrowed books of 2016

We’d first like to make an important distinction, and point out that while these are indeed young adult (YA) titles being borrowed, the index doesn’t indicate that the books are being borrowed by actual young adults. Let’s not discount that last year at the US Nielsen Summit, ‘Data Behind the Children’s Book Boom‘ revealed that “80{313e36c33a41ac9b1115127532ca4c6469af56f9d6ee5e8543b0129d0d605718} of all the YA books that are selling are being bought by adults,” often to read themselves – and we can assume something similar is happening with library borrowing trends too. Not to mention the ALIA index highlights most-borrowed trends from public libraries, when teens are more likely to use their school libraries. And that is an important distinction for the LoveOzYA committee to make, because we’re particularly committed to ensuring that it’s easier for Aussie teens to discover and access their own stories.

But to the list itself – it’s disappointing, of course, but not surprising that it’s again dominated by the US box-office. None of these novels are recent-releases, but their movie adaptations are still in cinemas and therefore keeping them at the forefront for readers. Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy has been expanded to four-films, and we just got the next-to-last instalment this year with the poorly received Allegiantand seeing as the conclusion – Ascendant  is scheduled for 2017 release, we’ll no doubt see Veronica Roth on the ALIA most-borrowed list again. Ditto James Dashner and his series Maze Runner, which also has third film The Death Cure slated for 2017 release.

The grassroots #LoveOzYA movement was formed knowing full well that there would be no quick-fixes to this issue, and it would take effort and patience to help raise the profile of Australian youth literature. Such movements take time to seep into the community consciousness, and for the word to be spread to a vast network of readers.

But the ALIA list aside, we have been heartened by teen-reader enthusiasm for the #LoveOzYA movement – not just in Australia, but around the world. UKYA have reached out with their encouragement, and we were delighted to see the launch of, ‘Hooked on NZ Books’ – we all share the same goal of celebrating and elevating our national youth literature, and we’re all coming up against the larger and more moneyed US market. LoveOzYA is also grateful for the support we’ve received from the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature office, whose funding helped us to create this very website, which has only been live for a few months and is still being perfected. All of this support and encouragement has just proven to us that there is a need for our community, and the message we’re trying to put out there about supporting and celebrating our national youth literature – letting Aussie teens know that their perspective of the world is unique, and America does not have the market cornered on teen tales.

We received a question today as to whether or not the local film industry should be doing more to help raise the profile of Australian stories, and YA in particular. To that we say – it has been wonderful to see John Marsden’s classic Tomorrow When the War Began television series on the ABC, and many fans are still crossing fingers that we’re close to getting a movie adaptation of Melina Marchetta’s award-winning On The Jellicoe Road. We’re also seeing truly innovative adaptations and collaborations, like Leanne Hall’s fantastical This is Shyness novel being independently produced as a web-series. But it’s safe to say that the Australian creative industries are united in our belief that recent funding cuts have seriously hindered our ability to grow, prosper, and most likely to collaborate with each other in ways that we’d like. Screen Australia were dealt devastating budget cuts in the Federal Budget 2015, and we’ve all been hit hard by the gutting of the Australia Council (not to mention the publishing industry has had to fight several battles on the Productivity Commission front, which LoveOzYA has also responded to).

The LoveOzYA committee and youth lit community remain confident and optimistic about our endeavours – but it sure would help if our Government and politicians started valuing and respecting the creative industries, in order to help us keep telling our own stories.




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