Behind every great librarian… A post from School Librarian of the Year, Adam Lancaster

“It’s not just one person that makes a successful library, or a successful anything for that matter. So being named School Librarian of the Year has not only been a fantastic honour for me but a recognition of all the people that have had a hand in making our library so fantastic.

Students play a big part in our library and without their enthusiasm and dedication to taking part in the things we offer our library wouldn’t be what it is now. But there are other people and organisations that have helped shape the work that we do. One of these is very close to my heart as it is an organisation I have been involved in with for nearly 10 years now.

It is of course the Federation of Children’s Book Groups that I am talking about and have had the pleasure of chairing for two of those ten years. For me, being a school librarian, I have been able to access, like many other people, the excellent advice that the Federation offers. It is advice like keeping up on book knowledge, of being able to bounce ideas and share good practice with like minded people that can be very limited in school librarian’s world. But it is precisely this type of advice that is vital in being able to run a successful library.

It’s not just the advice that I have found to be a God-send; it’s also the national events that they run that I have been able to access and be involved in. As a testing school for the Red House Children’s Book Award, what better way is there to encourage young people to read than to tell them that they have a say in whether this book is worthy of being an award winner? It is this type of thing that has made such a difference to so many readers over the years. Being able to take part in National Share A Story Month in May has led to use working closely with a number of our feeder schools, building fantastic links with them and helping to create readers before they even come to our school.

Adam helping students in their school library.

National Non-Fiction Day (my own invention) came about but because I wanted an excuse to work with different departments in school. I wanted the opportunity to use a special day to encourage other librarians to say to a department they didn’t normally work with that it was time they did and that there was a perfect excuse in which to do it!

It’s also the networks that the Federation provides that I have found invaluable: Talking to other librarians, to people in the book trade, building links and sharing good practice, good practice that I can then implement and carry on making a difference and an impact in our school.

I would have a bias about the Federation, but then I have seen first-hand how the work they do has a direct impact. That’s why, in achieving something fantastic like School Librarian of the Year, I have a lot to thank the Federation for.”

Adam Lancaster, School Librarian of the Year 2012.

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