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Carolyn W. Field Award

This award was established by the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association to recognize the best book for young people by a Pennsylvania author or illustrator in a given year.

A Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, Carolyn Wicker Field (1916 to 2010) retired in 1983 from the Free Library of Philadelphia where she served as Coordinator of Work with Children for 30 years.

This award was first given in 1984 and has been given annually since. 

To be eligible, books must be intended for children and youth through the age of sixteen and carry a current year copyright date (Example: For the 2015 Carolyn W. Field Award, the book must carry a 2014 copyright date. Book submissions are then accepted through January 2015). In addition, the author or illustrator must have made Pennsylvania his or her primary residence during the year of publication.

A committee of five PaLA members will choose five titles from the submitted books, and PaLA members at large will select the winner by ballot. The honored author or illustrator, along with his her publisher, will be presented with the award at a luncheon at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference in the fall of that year (Following the same example: the award would be presented at our 2015 Annual Conference).


To be included on the email list to publishers about submissions, contact us.


Evaluation Criteria: 

  1. Value of the book as literature.
  2. Uniqueness of the text and/or illustrations. ยท
  3. Clarity and style of text.
  4. Purpose and aesthetics value of illustrations.
  5. Contribution of the design and format.
  6. Value to intended audience.
  7. Potential acceptance by intended audience.

Nomination Process:

  • Each committee member will nominate five books from the list of those identified as eligible, and all of these are to be considered.
  • If any committee member would like to include any additional books (beyond the five), he/she may do so. Do not eliminate any book until it is ascertained that no member of the committee will support it.
  • Conduct an open discussion on each of the books that have been nominated.
  • After discussion, each committee member will vote, with four points being awarded to each first choice, three points being awarded to each second choice, and two points for each third choice. A book must win by at least two points. If this does not produce a winner, open the discussion and vote again.
  • YSD membership will have the opportunity to vote on the committee's 5 nominated titles and select the winner.

See a list of Past Winners!

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