The joy of being a book judge

While on maternity leave, Caroline Fielding found a great way to keep up with her professional development. It was hard work - but enormously rewarding.

The winners of the prestigious CILIP Carnegie Kate Greenaway medals are decided annually by a panel of UK children's librarians.  Each regional committee of the Youth Libraries Group (one of the CILIP special interest groups) has a representative on the judging panel, each judge stays on the panel for two years, and every judge reads every single nominated title.  Members of CILIP can nominate two titles for each award and to be eligible for nomination a title must simply have been first published in the UK in that year (September–August), or within three months of any earlier international publication, on a children's list.  

This year 114 titles were nominated for the Carnegie and 93 for the Kate Greenaway, now whittled down to a shortlist of eight each after an intense few months of reading and meeting to discuss the criteria (  

It is the 80th year of the Carnegie, for outstanding literature for children and young people, and the 60th year of the Kate Greenaway award for outstanding illustration in a book published for children and young people. 

Twice in the last five years I've written about the awards for this site (including this piece) but this time it is my turn to be one of the judges!  I have written on the Awards Official blog about my experiences of being a judge while looking after our own small book-eater named Beatrice. 

I still can’t quite believe I’m the London Judge; it is the greatest honour and responsibility, a peak in my career at a time when really my career would otherwise be on hold. With the longlists and then shortlists chosen I'm happily getting a bit more sleep and procrastination in, as the date to pick our winners looms and I keep tweaking my notes & re-reading passages. Itching not only to have conversations about these books but also to get on with pre-reading for next year.  

If you're thinking about CPD, broadening your portfolio of experience and interests, or proving your professional commitment, I'd definitely recommend joining the committee of a professional body/ special interest groups.  There isn't necessarily a major time commitment (CKG judging is pretty major), but by getting involved with their projects you'll have an opportunity to shape training, share your ideas, develop skills, and grow your network. The YLG regional committees are always keen for new members from all sorts of backgrounds and I'm sure the other SIGs are too. 

You can watch the awards ceremony live on Monday 19th June 2017.