Monday, May 14, 2007

The Carnegie Greenaway Medal Book Award

After being a school librarian for almost 8 years I can honestly and truly say that shadowing the Carnegie Medal Book Award has been worth its weight in gold.

The Carnegie and Greenaway book awards were established by The Library Association in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). Carnegie was a self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA. His experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that "if ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries."

Carnegie set up more than 2800 libraries across the English speaking world and, by the time of his death, over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries. It was first awarded to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post. The medal is now awarded by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, which is a new organisation formed by the Unification of the Institute of Information Scientists and The Library Association on 1 April 2002.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book, in terms of illustration for children and young people. The medals are awarded annually to the writers and illustrators of the outstanding books for children. The winner of the awards receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice.

Three years ago I became fascinated with the idea of shadowing one of these book awards and decided to find out more about them. From other librarians I learnt that the Carnegie award is aimed at older children and the Greenaway award is aimed at primary school age children. I also learnt that children can benefit so much from following and participating in with this nationwide book award.

Eager to set to I quickly put together a small team of budding and avid readers in school. It was a very exciting time for us although I did feel quite apprehensive about it and wondered if I could actually fit this in with my already busy work schedule.

After the first meeting with the children I soon realised that it was going to be just fine and that the children were gong to gain so much from this including myself too. The children had turned up eager and excited which gave me the determination to get things going.

I managed to download lots of information from the website and put together a pack for each member. The pack included details of the books that we were going to read over a set period of time, activities that we hoped to do, free bookmarks and review sheets. Armed with all of these resources I felt in control and ready to embark on something that had always terrified me, and something that I thought I could never achieve.

How wrong I was! Now three years on I have just recently launched my new group in my new school. The excitement is still there and I am sure the children pick up on this from me. The discussions are lively and interesting and it’s so good to watch the children form their own opinions about the short listed books. Debates and book reviews are much part of our meetings now creating a wonderful learning environment.

I would recommend shadowing the book award to any new school librarian.

In 2007 the CILIP Carnegie Medal celebrates its 70th Anniversary and the CILIP Kate Greenaway its 50th. Many celebrations will be taking place making the awards even more exciting that what they already are.

Valerie Dewhurst (Member No: 7779)

Use the title link if you want to find out more - Ed

2 Comments:

At 21:36, Blogger Shem said...

That's wonderful. A solid initiative is needed for children to study and analyze the books they are reading rather than simply regurgitate them. It impresses upon them the joy of learning and also allows them to become trained in handling abstract thought, a skill I see as sadly lacking.

Congratulations on your endeavor.

How do you come by multiple copies of the book for the children to read? Libraries? Are the children responsible for finding their own copies?

 
At 14:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Valerie's working on your reply. It'll be along soon. . . Ed

 

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