The Dromkeen Medal

State Library Victoria today awarded the 2016 Dromkeen Medal to celebrated children’s author Alison Lester.

The Dromkeen Medal was established in 1982 by Joyce Oldmeadow to honour outstanding contributions to Australian children’s literature, and was named after Joyce and Courtney Oldmeadow’s iconic Riddell’s Creek homestead. Since it was founded, the Dromkeen Medal has been awarded to 34 prominent Australian writers, illustrators, editors, publishers and booksellers.

Alison Lester is one of Australia’s best-loved children’s book authors and illustrators. She was the inaugural Australian Children’s Laureate and winner of the 2005 Childrens’ Book Council of Australia Book of the Year.

Lester’s works include children’s classics such as the Clive Eats Alligators series, Magic Beach, Imagine, My Farm, Who’s That knocking? and Are We There Yet?

In 2005 Lester travelled to Antarctica on an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship leading to her writing Sophie Scott Goes South, which was selected as a White Raven book by the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Munich, shortlisted for both the Picture Book of the Year by the Childrens’ Book Council of Australia and Best Designed Childrens’ Book by the Australian Publishing Association.

CEO Kate Torney said: “We are delighted to present the Dromkeen Medal this year to Alison Lester, who is a tireless advocate for children’s literacy and promoter of the joy of reading.”

“Alison’s books have introduced a generation of children to their first words and set them on grand adventures before bedtime. She is a very worthy recipient of this prestigious award.”

Dromkeen Librarian’s Award given to Sarah Steed

The State Library also presented this year’s Dromkeen Librarian’s Award to Sarah Steed.

Sarah Steed has worked for more than 20 years in children and youth services in library services in the ACT and NSW. She established the Book Start for Babies program and introduced the Nestle´ Write Around Australia program in Canberra.

In 2000 Steed won the Majorie Cotton Award from the Australian Library and Information Association for her outstanding contribution to children and youth services.

Steed is currently senior manager of content and engagement for Libraries ACT.

Kate Torney said: “The Dromkeen Librarian’s Award honours the hard work and dedication that is so abundant in our libraries around Australia. Sarah is an outstanding example of a librarian committed to making a real difference in the community. Her work has raised the profile of Australian children’s books and put them into the hands of our young readers. It is work worth celebrating.”

2016 Dromkeen Awards winners

Sarah Steed and Alison Lester at the 2016 Dromkeen ceremony at State Library Victoria

History of the Dromkeen awards

The State Library has presented both the Dromkeen Medal and the Dromkeen Librarian’s Award since 2013, which are national annual awards honouring outstanding contributions to children’s literature and outstanding work by librarians in support of children’s literacy.

In 2012, the Dromkeen Board of Governors and trustees Scholastic Australia presented the entire collection and archives of the Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art – including more than 7500 original artworks and illustrations from many of Australia’s best loved children’s books – to State Library Victoria.

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