SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018

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.

Four exciting and innovative librarians have made it onto to the Honour List for the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018, with one from outside the British Isles for only the second time in the history of the Award.

Nicki Cleveland

Nicki Cleveland is School Librarian (and Higher Level Teaching Assistant) at Cannon Park Primary School on the outskirts of Coventry. Despite having only 3.5 dedicated hours in the library and no real budget, Nicki has revolutionised the way the teaching staff at Cannon Park Primary think about Reading for Pleasure; due to working in close partnership with the staff around her, it is now at the forefront of the school’s ethos. Thinking outside the box and passionate engagement with the children’s book world via Skype and Twitter have enabled Nicki to enrich her pupils engagement with books in an extremely powerful way. @MissNCleveland

Dr Jain

Dr. Chhavi Jain manages a large, multilingual library and makerspace in Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram) outside New Delhi in India, where she supports 1100 children aged 6-17 years. Dr. Jain is breaking down barriers and raising the profiles of school librarians in India with her innovative and rigorous approach to her work. Exemplary in her promotion of reading with numerous author visits (in person and via Skype), pupil awards and international collaborative projects, her enthusiasm, professionalism and passion for reading is recognised throughout the school. 


Alison Kennedy

Alison Kennedy is Head Librarian at St George’s Ascot, an independent boarding and day school for girls 11-18 in Berkshire. Alison’s role reaches far beyond the bookshelves of her library, and as Head of House, Form Tutor, Extended Project Qualification Coordinator and living on site she is truly embedded in her school. Her enthusiastic and proactive approach to promoting Reading for Pleasure ensures the library is seen as a hive of energy and imagination, and creative use of social media plays a key role in engaging the entire school with the library and its resources.



Emma Suffield

Although her official title is Learning Resources Centre Manager, Emma Suffield is seen more as a member of the family by many of the 1400 students at Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Academy in a diverse area of Blackburn, thanks to her personalised, thoughtful and supportive approach to engaging all readers across the school. Innovative, imaginative practice, frequently going the extra mile, has led to a whopping 450% increase in book borrowing rates since Emma became responsible for the library in 2014.   @emmasuffield


These are four exceptional school librarians; each has made a huge difference to the lives of the students and people they work with, igniting a passion for reading, setting students on a learning journey, teaching them essential skills, as well as supporting staff and reaching out to the wider community. Any one of these four would be a worthy winner of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award. Full profiles will be published once a week from 6 September (in alphabetical order) on the SLA website at

The work of these inspirational librarians will be celebrated at a ceremony held on 9 October 2018 at the The Judge’s Court, The Rooms at Browns in Covent Garden. Blue Peter Book Award Winner Lauren St John will announce the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2018.

Lesley Martin, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said:

The SLYA judging panel was delighted to receive nominations from librarians representing every phase and type of school. Our Honour List comprises four very different but equally effective librarians who display high levels of professionalism and commitment. Each has demonstrated innovation, commitment, and passion to developing their pupils as readers and learners and transforming the perception of reading and libraries in their schools.

For information please visit

Nominations for School Librarian of the Year 2019 will open in early September 2018. Nomination forms will be available from the SLA website:


The 2018 School Librarian of the Year Award is sponsored Macmillan Children’s Books and by the Foyle Foundation (, who are providing generous support for the Award through to 2020. The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making Trust supporting UK charities which, since its formation in 2001, has become a major funder of the Arts and Learning. The Foundation also operates a community small grants programme and a national school library improvement scheme.

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