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.
“Each year the exceptional standard of nominations we receive makes our job as judges more
and more difficult. Once again we received high quality nominations and visited a variety of
schools including a primary school, a special school, academies and independents. Our honour
list librarians this year are truly impressive, each of their schools is unique, and they tailor
their library service to their clients exactly, ensuring that they give the young people they
deal with the best that they can.”
— Ginette Doyle, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee
SLA School Librarian of the Year Honour List 2014
Helen Cleave – Kingston Grammar School, Kingston Upon Thames
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.”
Helen works full time but is currently on maternity leave after having her second child. She
says: “I was sad not to be in school when Kevin Brooks won the Carnegie – my maternity
leave started in May, but I really wanted to know what the kids thought of
The Bunker Diary.”
Liz Millet –Weatherfield Academy, Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Weatherfield Academy is a special school for students aged 7 to 19 with Moderate Learning
Difficulties and additional needs. There are 112 pupils in the school with 60% from deprived
SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2014
backgrounds and 32% in social care. Much of the curriculum is aimed at giving students
lifelong skills. In 2009 a new room was found for the Library and Liz Millet took on the job of
It is hard to pin point progress from year to year because of the pupils’ range of special
needs. 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
Tracey Needham – Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Barrow–in-Furness
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
.” Ofsted also noted that the emphasis on reading has helped pupils’ writing.
Three exceptional school librarians. Each committed to create book-loving schools and to
help make learning a fascinating and rewarding journey. All would be worthy winners of the
SLA School Librarian of the Year Award.
To read their profiles visit the SLA website at
www.sla.org.uk. In alphabetical order, the first
will go live on 8 September.
Their work 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.
For more information about the SLA School Librarian of the Year contact:
Nicky Potter 0208 889 9735 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details about the School Library Association Inspiration Award contact:
Selina Dawkins 01992 454500 or email email@example.com.