Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video (HISTORICAL)

About the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video honors outstanding video productions for children released during the previous year. The annual award is given to the video's producer by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, through a Carnegie endowment.

The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, was awarded for the first time in 1991 to honor outstanding video productions for children released during the previous year. The annual award is given to the video's producer by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, through a Carnegie endowment.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) may be best-remembered by his establishment of free public libraries meant to make available to everyone a means of self-education. In 1881, when he began the project, very few public libraries existed; he spent over $56 million to build 2,509 libraries throughout the English-speaking world. After the program was terminated in 1917, the Carnegie Corporation continued for about 40 years in providing funds to improve libraries' services. Today the Corporation continues to fund programs for adult education and education in the fine arts.

Video productions that receive the Andrew Carnegie Medal meet criteria that include the following: they show respect for a child's intelligence and imagination, and reflect and encourage children's interests; they take advantage of the special techniques of the medium, including visuals, voices, music, language, and sound effects; and, if adaptations of materials originally produced in other mediums, they remain true to, expand, or complement the work. Only entries originally released in the United States, and produced by a U.S. citizen or resident or by a company headquartered in the U.S. are eligible.

The winning producer is selected by the Carnegie Award Selection Committee of ALSC, announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting (usually in January), and receives the medal at the Annual Conference in June.

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) logo

Award and Frequency

Bronze medal

This award is not currently being given out.


  1. The Medal shall be awarded annually to the producer of the most distinguished U.S. video for children distributed in the United States during the preceding year. There are no limitations as to the character of the video except that it be original in that format or released concurrently with another film format.
  2. The Award is restricted to producers who are citizens or residents of the United States.
  3. The video can be feature length, but not a theatrically released feature.
  4. The video can be based on another medium or made for another medium (e.g., television).
  5. Adaptations of material originally produced in other mediums should remain true to, expand, or complement the original work in some way.
  6. The video should be available for use in homes, public libraries, and with community organizations.
  7. The committee in its deliberations is to consider only the videos eligible for the Award, as specified in the terms.


  1. A "video for children" is a medium that essentially provides the child with an audiovisual experience; it can be in a cassette or DVD format.
  2. A "video for children" is one for which children are the potential audience. The video exhibits respect for children's understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons up to and including the age of fourteen, and videos for this entire age range are to be considered.
  3. "Distinguished" is defined as
    • marked by conspicuous eminence and distinction: noted for significant achievement
    • marked by excellence in quality
    • individually distinct
  4. The "producer" is the person (or persons) who supervises or finances the production of a video. The producer may also be the director. The producer may be awarded the Carnegie Medal posthumously. (Note: Only one Medal is presented, regardless of the number of producers involved in the video selected.)
  5. "Original in that format" means that the video is not a re-release of an earlier work released in a film format.
  6. "Distributed in the United States" specifies that videos originally distributed in other countries are not eligible.
  7. "Distributed...during the preceding year" means that the video has a release date in that year, was available for purchase in that year, and has a copyright date no later than that year. A video might have a copyright date prior to the year under consideration but, for various reasons, was not released until the year under consideration. If a video is distributed prior to its year of copyright as stated in the video, it shall be considered in its year of stated copyright. The intent of the definition is that every video be eligible for consideration, but that no video be considered in more than one year.
  8. "Resident" specifies that the producer has established and maintained residence in the United States as distinct from being a casual or occasional visitor.
  9. The term "only the videos eligible for the Award" specifies that the committee is not to consider the entire body of work by the producer or whether the producer has previously won the award. The committee's decision is to be made following deliberation about the videos for the specified calendar year.

Applicant Responsibility

Award winner accepts a bronze medal and presents an acceptance speech during ALSC's Award Presentation program during the ALA Annual Conference.

Application Instructions

How to submit videos/DVDs for consideration for the Carnegie Medal:

  • Review the terms and criteria.
  • Please download and complete a Submission Form for each entry.
  • Mail one copy of the video/DVD and a completed submission form to the ALSC office (ATTN: Carnegie Submission, 50 East Huron, Chicago, IL 60611-2795).
  • Mail one copy of the video/DVD and a completed submission form to the award committee chair. Address information can be found on the Submission Form.
  • ALSC membership is not a requirement to submit your work and there is not an entry fee for the Notable Children’s Videos.

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 videos/DVDs 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:; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

Selection Criteria

1. In identifying a distinguished video for children,

  1. committee members should consider
    • excellence of execution in the special techniques of the medium;
    • excellence of visual interpretation of story, theme, or concept;
    • excellence in the use of sound;
    • excellence in the delineation of plot, theme, characters, mood setting, or information presented;
    • excellence in acting, when appropriate;
    • excellence in the appropriateness of technique or treatment to the story, theme, or concept.
  2. committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience.

NOTE: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for distinguished use of the medium. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity.