Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced Thursday King will be presented with the award at a ceremony this spring.
King, 70, is known for her hits "You've Got a Friend," "So Far Away," "[You Make Me Feel Like] a Natural Woman" and "I Feel the Earth Move."
"Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time," Billington said in a statement. "For more than five decades, she has written for and been recorded by many different types of artists for a wide range of audiences, communicating with beauty and dignity the universal human emotions of love, joy, pain and loss. Her body of work reflects the spirit of the Gershwin Prize with its originality, longevity and diversity of appeal."
"I was so pleased when the venerable Library of Congress began honoring writers of popular songs with the Gershwin Prize. I'm proud to be the fifth such honoree and the first woman among such distinguished company. I look forward to performing in the nation's capital," King said.