Honor Resolution Commending Carolyn Wicker Field 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Whereas, Carolyn Wicker Field, a venerable pioneer, and distinguished and honored leader, steadfastly dedicated her life to advancing children’s librarianship and the powerful role that libraries play in the lives of youth;

Whereas, as the former Coordinator of Work with Children for the Free Library of Philadelphia from 1953 to 1983, she used her astute administrative skills and magnetic personality to effectively articulate to the Library and the City administrations the importance of children’s services and collections. Furthermore, a woman of enormous energy and generosity, she profoundly influenced and mentored countless youth librarians many of whom are now leaders themselves;

Whereas, her compelling influence on the profession was local, regional and national. She served in many capacities with distinction within the American Library Association including President of the Children’s Services Division (now the Association for Library Service to Children - ALSC) in 1959- 1960. She was honored in 1963 when she won the Grolier Award (now the Scholastic Publishing Library Award) for “unusual contribution to the stimulation and guidance of reading by children and young people." In 1994 she was awarded ALSC’s Distinguished Service Award for her remarkable contributions to the Association;

Whereas, a passionate advocate for the promotion of quality children’s books she lived by her favorite quote by Walter de la Mare that “only the rarest kind of best in anything is good enough for the young.” She served as a chair of the Newbery/Caldecott committee in 1958-1959. She implemented the innovative “Profiles in Literature,” a series of taped interviews with authors and illustrators who had won the Newbery and Caldecott awards. From 1958-1988 she was an active and valued member of the Library of Congress’ Advisory Committee on the Selection of Children’s Books for the Blind and Physically Handicapped;

Whereas, trained in the grand tradition of storytelling at the New York Public library where she began her career in 1938, she shared her enthusiasm for the art of storytelling by establishing and promoting the annual Storytelling Festival at the Free Library of Philadelphia. At the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962 where she served at Library 21 she organized a storytelling event held at the United Nations Plaza because she felt this was something in which every country could participate in a tangible way bring the world together for families;

Whereas, an inveterate volunteer, she called herself “One of the oldest Girl Scouts in Philadelphia.” Having served tirelessly since 1928 as an active scout, she went on to work in almost every volunteer capacity for the organization. Her vitality and ecumenical spirit was such that when she was called upon to assist the Catholic Library Association, she became such an esteemed and loyal volunteer she earned the Association’s Mary A. Grant Award;

Whereas, she was a talented thespian whose participation in Community Theater as performer and director was legendary. Her love of the theater is reflected in the innovative and imaginative programming she developed at the Free Library including “Book Concerts” and creative dramatics programs in the Branches;

Whereas, an unfailing supporter of local authors, in 1965 she founded the Philadelphia Children’s Reading Roundtable, which brought together regional authors, illustrators and librarians. In 1979 she won the B.A. Bergman Literary Award given by a panel of local authors in recognition of her outstanding literary achievements in Greater Philadelphia. She established the Free Library of Philadelphia/Drexel University Children’s Literature Citation, and in 1984 won the Citation herself;

Whereas, she was a beloved and influential member of the wider Pennsylvania library community serving as President of the Pennsylvania Library Association from 1970 to 1972, and winning its certificate of merit in 1974. In 1974 the Commonwealth named her a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. To further honor her, since 1983 the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association has recognized the best book for youngsters by a Pennsylvania author or illustrator with its Carolyn W. Field award, now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), on behalf of its members, highly commend Carolyn Wicker Field for her indefatigable and inspiring spirit, her lifelong dedication to providing quality library materials and service to children, and for being such a formidable example to the community at large of the depth and breadth of talent embodied by children’s librarians.

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