Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

About the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
The Sibert Award honors the most distinguished informational book published in English in the preceding year for its significant contribution to children’s literature.

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Award and Frequency

Award winning aurthor and illustrator receives a bronze medal. Honorees, if any, receive a plaque.  This award is given annually.
This award is given out on an annual basis.

Eligibility

 The Sibert Award is presented annually to the author, author/illustrator, co-authors, or author and illustrator named on the title page of the most distinguished informational book for children published in the United States during the preceding year. Terms include:

    * Poetry and traditional literature (e.g., folktales) are not eligible.  There are no other limitations as to the character of the book providing it is an original work.
    * Honor Books may be named. They are books that are also truly distinguished.
    * The award is restricted to authors, author/illustrator, co-authors, or author and illustrator named on the title page who are citizens or residents of the United States.
    * The award is restricted to original work first published in the United States.
    * The committee is to consider in its deliberations only books eligible for the award as specified in the terms.
    * The award may be given posthumously.

Applicant Responsibility

Award winner and honorees, if any, attend the ALSC Award Presentation Program during the ALA Annual Conference.  Only the award winning author and illustrator prepares and delivers an acceptance speech.

Application Instructions

How to submit books for consideration for the Sibert Medal:

  • Review the terms and criteria for the award. 
  • Mail one copy of the book to the ALSC office (ATTN: Sibert Submission, 50 East Huron, Chicago, IL 60611-2795). 
  • Mail one copy of the book to the award committee chair. Please e-mail alscawards@ala.org for address information.
  • ALSC membership is not a requirement to submit your work.
  • If you wish, you may attach a cover letter with your contact information to your final work. There is not a submission form to fill out or an entry fee for the Sibert Medal.

Please note:

The ALSC office is only requesting for one copy to be sent to the ALSC office and one copy to the committee chair. Standards are in place for the committee members to review and share submissions. If you are submitting for multiple awards, only one copy needs to be sent to the ALSC office.

Neither the ALSC office nor the committee chair can confirm receipt of submissions. If you would like to confirm receipt of your submission please use a mailing service with delivery confirmation. Submissions that are dropped off in- person to the ALSC office will not be accepted.

The ALSC office cannot answer eligibility questions or advise on which award your submission is eligible for. It is up to you to review the terms and criteria and if you feel you qualify, submit as appropriate. Eligibility is determined by the committee and is confidential.

The book and media awards are announced each year at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January. The materials received by the ALSC office throughout the year will be used for ALSC’s Bookapalooza Program. The Bookapalooza Program selects three libraries to receive a Bookapalooza collection of these materials to be used in a way that creatively enhances their library service to children and families.

Deadline for submitting books is December 31 of the publication year.

Contact Information

If you need more information, feel free to contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: library@ala.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

Selection Criteria

 1. In identifying the most distinguished informational book for children from the preceding year, committee members consider important elements and qualities:
   a. Excellent, engaging, and distinctive use of language.
   b. Excellent, engaging, and distinctive visual presentation.
   c. Appropriate organization and documentation.
   d. Clear, accurate, and stimulating presentation of facts, concepts, and ideas.
   e. Visual material and book design.
   f. Appropriate style of presentation for subject and for intended audience.
   g. Supportive features (index, table of contents, maps, timelines, etc).
   h. Respectful and of interest to children.

2. Not every book relies equally on every element. The committee need not find excellence in every element listed above but only in those relevant to the book.

3. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media for enjoyment.

4. The Sibert Award is presented to honor distinguished informational books for children. The award is not presented for didactic intent or for popularity.