In Memoriam: Carolyn W. Field, Coordinator of Work with Children

By Michelle S. RSS Mon, July 26, 2010

A tour de force in children’s literature not only for the Free Library of Philadelphia, but also for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and library systems nationwide, Children's Services Coordinator Carolyn Wicker Field has passed away at the age of 93. She is fondly remembered for her warm spirit and her innumerable contributions to the Free Library and the area of children’s librarianship.

For 30 years, Field served as the Coordinator of the Office of Work with Children at the Free Library until her retirement in 1983. She served as the president of both the Pennsylvania Library Association and the children's division of the American Library Association, now known as the Association for Library Service to Children. Additionally, Field published several reference books, including Subject Collections in Children’s Literature—which catalogues special children’s literature collections throughout the United States—and, along with Jacqueline Shachter Weiss, Values in Selected Children’s Books of Fiction and Fantasy, which discusses the values explored in more than 700 children’s titles. Field also served as an editorial advisor for the title, That’s Me! That’s You! That’s Us! A Bibliography of Multicultural Books for Children.

Throughout her lifetime, Field was honored with numerous awards championing her library service to children. She received the Scholastic Library Publishing Award, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Distinguished Service Award, and the Catholic Library Association Mary A. Grant Award for outstanding volunteer service. She was also named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by Governor Milton Shapp in 1974. Additionally, Field has an award named in her honor by the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association— the annual Carolyn W. Field Award recognizes the best book for young people by a Pennsylvania author or illustrator.

Field was a phenomenal librarian and a friend to many who worked in and visited the Free Library. She will be sorely missed.

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Mrs. Field was one of the few great people I have known. She changed many lives including mine. Good-bye, Mrs. Field.
Joel - Philadelphia
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thank you so much for this Blog. Carolyn was a remarkable woman and a devoted Girl Scout; she served on the Board of the Girl Scouts of Philadelphia for almost 30 years and co-chaired the Girl Scout Bi-Centennial celebration in 1976. "Stand out" sums it all up!
Judith Borie - Philadelphia
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mrs. Field's Children's Literature classes at Drexel University were so exciting and enjoyable that she became a human magnate for children's librarians to the Free Library.
Helen - Philadelphia
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I started at the Free Library shortly after Mrs. Field had retired, but her reputation lived on. She was known as a children's librarian par excellence!
Donald - Philadelphia
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mrs. Field was certainly one of the great librarians. She opened many doors for others. I feel very privileged to have worked for her. Those were very good years.
Barbara - Philadelphia
Sunday, August 8, 2010