Sunday 7 April 2019

The Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award - a massive thank you - by Dawn Finch

There is so much woe and hate in the world that I felt it was important to let a little bit of light shine in. Every year we celebrate the work that young people do in their school libraries. Via the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award, we are able to read nominations from school librarians all over the UK, and we hear the stories of the remarkable young people. These stories are always heartwarming and genuinely optimistic. Each of the nominated pupils has given up years of their own time and supported their librarians in projects that span from reading for pleasure to outreach for vulnerable students and families. All of these pupils have been personally changed for the better by their involvement with the library, and all have given back even more.

As part of the judging panel, I know all too well how hard the next stage is as we bring all of those nominations down to a small group of finalists.

In late March we have a ceremony to announce the winner, and this year it was Rhiannon Salvin from Sheffield. You can read more about the awards and the winner here.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the authors who attend and make the ceremony so very special. Each of you makes the day a real celebration and we really could not do this without you. We have had lots of feedback from attendees and everyone had a magical day. All afternoon I had school librarians and guests telling me how welcome they'd felt, and how the authors were all "so real!" and friendly.

So, this is really a great big thanks to the authors who gave up their time to make this day so very special. An extra big thanks go to Sufiya Ahmed and Jo Cotterill for stepping up to be part of the judging panel (and to Sufiya for all the extra work she's done for the award for the last few years). Thank you Philip Ardagh for your characteristically hilarious host speech (everyone was in stitches).

Personally, I would like to give a massive thanks to Chris Priestley and Sufiya Ahmed for helping me dish out over a hundred portions of cake. I think the highlight of the day for me was seeing Chris palm-serving very sticky sponge cake to kids.

This is why I love the world of children's authors, you guys are amazing and this community could not be more welcoming and more supportive.

Thanks to Adam Baron, Amanda Lees, Anthony McGowan, Chris Priestley, Cliff McNish, Faye Bird, Jane Elson. Jo Cotterill, Karen McCombie, Lindsey Barraclough, Miriam Halahmy, Philip Ardagh, Robin Stevens. Steve Cole, Sufiya Ahmed, Tamsyn Murray, and Tim Collins. You are all stars, and on behalf of the whole judging panel and all the finalists - THANK YOU!

Dawn Finch is a children's author, librarian and library activist and member of the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award judging panel. For more information on the award, see and follow #libpupilaward on twitter


1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

Such a heart-warming initiative and celebration - and not one that many peope outside the school library circuit would know about. Well done all those young librarians - and thank you, Dawn.