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 highlight the best practice of those whose work is outstanding. This year ComicScene Magazine was proud to offer a years subscription to each of the winners. ComicScene is the only monthly magazine about comics and comic culture in the UK and Ireland and welcomes all libraries to subscribe to the magazine either through their local newsagent or at www.getmycomics.com/comicscene (where you can also get half price back issues in the Summer Sale)
This year Ros Harding at The King’s School Chester (www.kingschester.co.uk) was awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2019. 2019 YA Book Prize winner Sara Barnard presented Ros Harding with her award at a special ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington, London Kensington on 27 June.
Head Librarian and Archivist at The King’s School Chester (www.kingschester.co.uk, an independent selective school for 3-18 year olds), Ros Harding contributes in many ways to the life of the school and to the wellbeing of its students and staff. She was described variously as “caring, for people but also for the library itself”, “inspiring curiosity” and a “tour de force”. As well as establishing a School Book Award, Ros is an excellent ambassador of research skills and ensures all aspects of the school to have a place within the library. She empowers pupils and gives outstanding support and pastoral care.
Sue Bastone, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said: “It was a real honour to visit the three exceptional librarians on this year’s Honour List and it was incredibly difficult for the judges to pick a winner. Ros’s professionalism and contribution to teaching and learning make her a highly valued equal among her teaching colleagues. Her caring and inclusive nature is appreciated by students, staff and
parents, many of whom describe her as inspiring, not least in the way she makes things happen to the benefit of all who come into contact with her, from junior school pupils to the Senior Leadership Team.”
Noting that the award is a unique and wonderful celebration of the work of school librarians, Alison Tarrant, Chief Executive of the School Library Association, said: “The Honour List this year are fantastic examples of the impact that effective school libraries can have, as shown by the affection and respect with which pupils and teaching staff talk about them. All three have all had a positive influence on the learning that goes on within their schools, both formally and informally. Ros has ‘redefined the role’ according to her nominee and all prove that the stereotype of a school librarian who sits behind a desk and stamps books is just that – a stereotype. All the Honour List should be incredibly proud of their contribution to ensuring all their pupils have a fully rounded education.”
On receiving her subscription of ComicScene Ros said “Thank you so much for such a generous prize.”
Announcing the School Librarian of the Year 2019, Sara Barnard, winner of YA Book Prize 2019 for her novel Goodbye, Perfect, published by Macmillan Children¹s Books said: “Libraries are essential to any school and community, and I’m delighted to pay tribute to them and the librarians who make them what they are.”
The two other school librarians on the Honour List, recognised for their outstanding work the Honour List were Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School, (www.hernebayhigh.org, an above-average-sized, mixed, non-selective Secondary academy), Chantal Kelleher, and Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School (www.kgs.org.uk, an independent, co-educational day school), Helen Cleaves.
From bringing books to life in highly imaginative and engaging ways, to generous and bold outreach work with their respective communities, via substantial and meaningful support for staff as well as pupils, Ros Harding and each librarian on the Honour List have made a huge difference to the lives of all they work with, igniting a passion for reading.