Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cybils: State of the Judges

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at where the Cybils judges are from.  There are 107 judges total (including one set of co-judges), and nine panel organizers (some of whom are serving double-duty as judges as well) for a total of 116 individuals.

After checking out their blogs and twitter accounts, I was able to find out where all but 10 of them are located.  Four of them are outside of the U.S., two of them in Canada.  Out of the 10 judges that didn't reveal their location, three gave vague, broad areas such as "North America" or "New England."  I was a little surprised to see that the competition is so American-centric.  The award is for any book in English  in each category, which falls within the scope of the judging year.  I had anticipated seeing kidlit bloggers from Great Britain, Europe, Australia... all over the globe really; but with only a few exceptions, most of the judges appear to be American.  Maybe that will change in years to come.

As can be expected, we see the most judges in denser urban areas and populous states.  New York and California are at the top of the heap, with 11 and 12 judges respectively.  They are closely followed by seven in Texas.  The Washington, D.C. metro area is also rather healthy in Cybils judges, with 12 total spread out over the surrounding suburbs in neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland.

Next, let's look at states who nabbed 3-5 spots on the Cybils judging panels.  They are: Florida, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Utah and Massachusetts.

Plenty of states had only one or two judges.  The states with two judges a piece are: Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan and Washington state.  The states with only a lone representative on the Cybils award panels are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

What really surprised me the most was to see how many states had no one on the Cybils panels at all.  With over a hundred judges, and with some states grabbing a lot of spots, I knew that not every state would be represented.  Is there just a dearth of bloggers in these areas?  Is it that they're sparsely populated or don't have as much access to technology?  Or were they simply unlucky?  Unless a few of our judges with undisclosed locations are hidden away there, the 18 17 states with no Cybils judges this year are: Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Wherever they're from, I'm sure the Round I stars are busy reading, re-reading, requesting, note-taking and otherwise preparing to whittle down their tremendous lists of nominees.  There are still five more days to nominate one of your favorites!  Polls close on October 15th.  If you can think of a book that hasn't been nominated yet, but you think deserves a look, skedaddle over to the Cybils website and make your suggestions now!


  1. (I'm a judge from Rhode Island....but I won't reveal my Sekrit Identity because the state is so small that it would be too easy to find me...and I sometimes mention my children, so it makes me want to stay a bit hidden)

  2. No problem!
    It may take me a while to update the map, but I'll strike RI from the list of judgeless states. ;)

  3. That's really interesting, Madigan. Thanks for posting this. It must have taken you quite some time to figure out.

    Regarding the non-U.S. judges: the vast majority of volunteers were from the U.S., so the judging panels reflect the geography of the volunteers. We do have one panelist in the UK, and a couple in Canada. There were a couple of other non-U.S. volunteers who didn't make the cut. But by far the biggest problem with international panelists is that the majority of the books nominated tend to be published in the U.S., and it's difficult for those outside the U.S. to obtain copies of the books to read.

  4. Well everyone can easily find me since I'm so active on Twitter, etc. but I'm really not comfortable with someone actually stalking my Twitter/Facebook/whatever to map me. It's kinda uncomfortable and I have grandchildren to protect. Other panelists might be fine with it and I'm not speaking for the Cybils but I'm NOT happy being hunted down like that.

  5. Thanks, Sheila, it didn't actually take too long. As far as international judges, that's pretty much what I figured... you have to go with who volunteers! I hadn't thought about the difficulty of obtaining American books outside the States.

    Gina, that was one reason that I decided not to name any of the judges specifically, but instead just looked at things in aggregate. Like I said, finding people's location was very, very easy, because the overwhelming majority of bloggers self-disclosed on their blog or twitter what state they were from. Quite frankly, I was a little surprised that more people weren't coy about it. If you're worried about it, I'd suggest removing your city and state from your profile and putting something more vague, or perhaps just leaving it blank.

  6. You're right, Madigan-- people don't go to much effort to hide where they are from. It is interesting to see the distribution of judges-- thank you for mapping things out. Makes me want to move to Nebraska or somewhere out west so there is representation!



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