Carolyn Wicker Field, 93, former coordinator of the Office of Work With Children at the Free Library of Philadelphia, died Saturday, July 24, of congestive heart failure at the Cathedral Village retirement community in Roxborough.
Each year since she completed her 30-year career at the library in 1983, the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association has recognized the best book for youngsters by a Pennsylvania author or illustrator with its Carolyn W. Field Award.
In August 1982, the School Library Journal, a national publication based in New York City, published a full-page appreciation of her career written by Keith Doms, who at the time was director of the Free Library.
For several years, she was an actress and a director at the Stagecrafters Theater, the community group in Chestnut Hill.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., Mrs. Field graduated from what is now Cambridge Rindge and Latin School there in 1934 and earned a bachelor's degree in library science in 1938 at Simmons College.
She began her career as a children's librarian at the New York Public Library in 1938, said a nephew, Tod Wicker. After her husband, Richard, died in 1941, Mrs. Field returned to Simmons to earn a master's degree in library science in 1943.
During World War II, she served in the American Red Cross in England, then returned to work at libraries in Cleveland and Wilmington.
Hedra Packman, director of library services at the Free Library, said in a recent interview that at the Free Library, Mrs. Field established the children's literature research collections and organized the Spring Book Review and Storytelling Festival.
Mrs. Field also set up Profiles in Literature, a series of taped interviews with authors and illustrators who had won the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott Medal from the American Library Association.
In 1958-59, she was chair of the Newbery-Caldecott Committee.
From 1958 to 1988, she was a member of the Library of Congress' Advisory Committee on the Selection of Children's Books for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
And in 1965, she organized the Philadelphia Children's Reading Round Table, Packman said, at which, three times a year, authors, illustrators, and librarians networked.
Mrs. Field was president of the Pennsylvania Library Association from 1970 to 1972, won its certificate of merit in 1974, and was president of the children's division of the American Library Association.
In 1974, the commonwealth named her a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. In 1975, the Simmons College Graduate School of Library Science gave her its Alumni Achievement Award.
In 1979, she won the B.A. Bergman Literary Award, named for a former managing editor of the New Yorker and editor of the Sunday magazine of the Evening Bulletin.
After her retirement, she won in 1984 the Drexel University/Free Library of Philadelphia Children's Literature Citation, which she had set up.
Among her honors, Packman said, were the Scholastic Library Publishing Award, the Mary A. Grant Award from the Catholic Library Association, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Library Service to Children.
Wicker said Mrs. Field was also survived by a niece and another nephew.
A private funeral service took place in Wakefield, Mass. The Free Library is planning a memorial for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in the Skyline Room of the Central Library, 19th and Vine Streets.