The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s prestigious honour to recognize the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day and highlights the best practice of those whose work is outstanding.
The librarians who have made it onto the SLA School Librarian of the Year Honour List 2014 are:
Kingston Grammar School is an independent co-educational selective school for pupils aged 11 to 18 with about 820 on the school roll. Helen Cleaves moved to the school two years ago and has transformed the traditional school library into an active and integral part of the school. To Helen Cleaves, the library can be all in the mind, or wherever you need it to be. “I am inspired by the idea of the virtual library and how it can exist anywhere.”
Weatherfield Academy is a special school for students aged 7 to 19 with Moderate Learning Difficulties and additional complex needs. There are 117 pupils in the school with 52% attracting Pupil Premium funding and entitled to free school meals and 32% in social care. Much of the curriculum is aimed at giving students lifelong skills. In 2009 a room was adapted for the library and Liz Millett took on the job of developing it. Liz says “My aim is to increase their pleasure from reading whatever level they are at to make sure they are not frightened by books or put off them, so that they will come to see reading as something they will always have for themselves.”
Tracey is a higher level teaching assistant with management responsibility for the library and reading promotion, and for monitoring and evaluating reading throughout the school. The Sacred Heart RC Primary School has 35 per cent of pupils receiving free school meals and many do not have easy access to books at home. In the two and a half years since the school library has had a designated space, Tracey’s promotional work has resulted in an increase in loans of 75 per cent in the last school year, 2013-14, and 111 per cent in 2012-13. Last term (July 2014), OFSTED inspectors praised “the well-stocked and exciting library” and the pupils’ enthusiasm for reading and quoted one pupil who said, “Reading a good book is like dreaming. It takes you into new and fantastic worlds.”
The work of these three librarians will be celebrated at a ceremony held on Monday 6 October 2014 at Hotel Russell, London. Award-winning author and artist Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books) will announce the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2014. The celebrations will also include the announcement of the winner of the School Library Association Inspiration Award.