Prestigious Newbery Medal to be Selected by Committee Led by King County Librarian

King County Library System Children’s Librarians are the Only Two in Washington State Chosen to Serve on the Distinguished National Committee

ISSAQUAH, Wa. February 8, 2018 -- Next Monday morning, February 12, the recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal Award, considered the Oscars for Children’s Literature, will be announced to a live and eager audience. The Chair of the 2018 John Newbery committee is King County Library System (KCLS) Children’s Services Coordinator Cecilia McGowan. As Chair, McGowan guides the appointed committee through a thorough, and sworn-to-secrecy, process of selecting the winning book before the award’s governing organization, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), announces the Newbery Medal Award Winner.

“I was delighted to give Cecilia the opportunity to demonstrate her amazing talent leading the prestigious Newbery Medal committee,” said Andrew Medlar, past president of the ALSC, who selected McGowan to lead the highly-regarded selection committee. "I have long admired her nationally-recognized work at KCLS and deeply respect her true commitment to books and kids, and her passion for connecting them through libraries.”

Serving on the Newbery Medal Award selection committee is considered a professional accomplishment in the book industry. Only 15 spots, including one position as chair, are appointed each year. Members are selected nationwide based, in part, on a diverse mix of backgrounds, their commitment to children’s literature, and the support from their library system. Two KCLS librarians were asked to serve this year: Cecilia McGowan as chair, and Ann Crewdson of the KCLS Issaquah Library. McGowan and Crewdson are the only librarians in Washington State to currently serve on the committee.

“I am deeply honored to lead the committee through the discussion and voting process after a year of reviewing, reading and notating hundreds of books,” said McGowan, who was selected to chair the committee three years ago.

The Newbery Medal Award selection committee reviews hundreds of children’s books as part of the selection process. Eligible children’s books include children’s books of any genre, from newborn to young adult, published during the previous calendar year. A list of past Newbery Award Medal winners books are listed on the ALSC website.

“ALSC selects committee members based on a library system’s reputation in the industry, and serving as chair of the Newbery Medal Award selection committee on behalf of King County Library System is a proud honor,” said McGowan, who has dedicated the last 17 years at KCLS. “Ann and I wouldn’t be on the committee without King County Library System’s supportive and well-read colleagues, its active and patron-friendly libraries, insightful programs and broad collection of physical and digital material – all of which help create a friendly atmosphere for the children’s book enthusiasts in all of us.”

McGowan will present the award in person to the Newbery Medal award winner at the annual American Library Association (ALA) conference on June 24 in New Orleans. As well as being the Chair of the 2018 Newbery Committee, McGowan is honored to stand for election as President of ALSC.

“The children and families of King County can be proud to have such a champion as Cecilia and we are all fortunate to benefit from her dedication to leading the selection of this year's most distinguished American children's book, which will be read and loved by generations to come," Medlar added.

The 2018 Newbery Medal Award Winner, as well as possible honor books, will be announced on Monday, February 12, at 7am PT. Tune in live online at to see who wins at the following direct link: http://ala.unikron.com/2018/index_home.php

About the Newbery Medal Award: The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

About King County Library System: Founded in 1942, the King County Library System (KCLS) is one of the busiest library systems in the country. KCLS currently has 49 libraries spread throughout King County in Washington State with more than 700,000 cardholders. In 2017, King County residents checked out nearly 21 million items, including more than 4.7 million digital eBooks and audiobooks. Last year, KCLS also welcomed more than 10 million visitors to its libraries.

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Members of the Media: Cecilia McGowan, Chair of the 2018 Newbery Selection Committee, is available for brief and limited comments on Sunday preceding the announcement, and for interviews following the live announcement of the Newbery Medal Award winner next Monday, February 12, 7am PT.