Newbery Medal to be selected by committee led by King County librarian

  • Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:00pm
  • News

Next Monday morning, Feb. 12, the recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal Award, considered the Oscars for children’s literature, will be announced to a live audience.

The chair of the 2018 John Newbery committee is King County Library System Children’s Services Coordinator Cecilia McGowan. As the chair, McGowan guides the appointed committee through a thorough, and sworn-to-secrecy, process of selecting the winning book before the award’s governing organization, the Association for Library Service to Children, announces the Newbery Medal Award Winner.

“I was delighted to give Cecilia the opportunity to demonstrate her amazing talent leading the prestigious Newbery Medal committee,” Andrew Medlar, the past president of the ALSC who selected McGowan to lead the election committee, said in a press release. “I have long admired her nationally-recognized work at KCLS and deeply respect her true commitment to books and kids, and her passion for connecting them through libraries.”

Serving on the Newbery Medal Award selection committee is considered a professional accomplishment in the book industry. Only 15 spots, including one position as chair, are appointed each year.

Members are selected nationwide based, in part, on a diverse mix of backgrounds, their commitment to children’s literature and the support from their library system. Two KCLS librarians were asked to serve this year: Cecilia McGowan as chair, and Ann Crewdson of the KCLS Issaquah Library.

McGowan and Crewdson are the only librarians in Washington State to currently serve on the committee.

“I am deeply honored to lead the committee through the discussion and voting process after a year of reviewing, reading and notating hundreds of books,” McGowan, who was selected to chair the committee three years ago, said in a press release.

The Newbery Medal Award selection committee reviews hundreds of children’s books as part of the selection process. Eligible children’s books include children’s books of any genre, from newborn to young adult, published during the previous calendar year.

A list of past Newbery Award Medal winners books are listed on the ALSC website.

“ALSC selects committee members based on a library system’s reputation in the industry, and serving as chair of the Newbery Medal Award selection committee on behalf of King County Library System is a proud honor,” McGowan, who has dedicated the last 17 years at KCLS, said in a press release. “Ann and I wouldn’t be on the committee without King County Library System’s supportive and well-read colleagues, its active and patron-friendly libraries, insightful programs and broad collection of physical and digital material – all of which help create a friendly atmosphere for the children’s book enthusiasts in all of us.”

McGowan will present the award in person to the Newbery Medal award winner at the annual American Library Association conference on June 24 in New Orleans. As well as being the Chair of the 2018 Newbery Committee, McGowan said she is honored to stand for election as President of ALSC.

“The children and families of King County can be proud to have such a champion as Cecilia and we are all fortunate to benefit from her dedication to leading the selection of this year’s most distinguished American children’s book, which will be read and loved by generations to come,” Medlar said in a press release.

The 2018 Newbery Medal Award Winner, as well as possible honor books, will be announced on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 a.m. Those interested in seeing the announcement live online can do so by accessing http://ala.unikron.com/2018/index_home.php.

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