2024 SLA School Library and School Librarian of the Year Finalists Announced

Date: 23 05 2024

The School Library Association are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Peter Usborne Primary School Library of the Year Award, sponsored by Usborne, and the Honour List for the 2024 Secondary School Librarian of the Year Award, sponsored by OverDrive. 

School libraries all over the UK are shaping children’s futures by fostering a love of reading and teaching them skills for life. The SLA’s awards honour the hard work of the dedicated staff who run these libraries and bring a wealth of opportunities to their pupils. 

Usborne are continuing the late Peter Usborne’s commitment to supporting literacy by sponsoring the newly named Peter Usborne Primary School Library of the Year Award. This award celebrates outstanding primary school libraries and the staff and pupils who are making an impact in their school. 

Nicola Usborne said, “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate inspiring primary school libraries and the passionate professionals who work so hard to shape them. I hope that this award will encourage students to feel proud of their school library.” 

The shortlist for the Peter Usborne Primary School Library of the Year, in alphabetical order, is as follows: 

East Hunsbury Primary School, Northampton 

East Hunsbury Primary School serves over 400 pupils and encompasses a specialist provision for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. The library space unites all the children in being a shared space they all love where they can tap into the power of reading. The school’s librarian works with all the school staff and leadership to ensure the children are able to access quality and relevant books both through the curriculum and in their spare time. 

Fairfield School, West Yorkshire 

Fairfield School educates over 100 pupils with profound and complex disabilities, between the ages of 3 and 19. The staff have a passion to bring a love of books to all the pupils, whatever their age or individual needs. The creative solutions employed in the inclusive and accessible library range from high tech communication aids, to the ingenious addition of lolly sticks to regular books to aid page turning. Pupils are encouraged to feel ownership of their library through helping with book stamping and telling stories to other pupils. 

Steyning C of E Primary School, West Sussex 

Steyning Primary School library’s effect is far reaching in terms of space, spreading to roaming book trolleys and an outdoor reading shed, and in learning. The experienced librarian teaches all the school’s pupils, over 350 of them, skills in reading for pleasure and information literacy in dedicated lessons. The librarian also identifies reluctant readers and seeks to understand their attitudes to reading to find a way to engage them. The library’s impact is further maximised through highly trained pupil librarians who take an active role in book lending, choosing stock and guiding younger readers. Over the last five years, borrowing has increased an impressive 600%. 

Sudbury Primary School, Middlesex 

Established in 2016 and named ‘Booktropolis’, the Sudbury Primary School library is having a big impact on reading progress. The vision behind Booktropolis is to provide ‘mirrors and windows’ to the school’s 930 pupils. The Library Leader, EAL Leader and Diversity Board ensure pupils of all backgrounds can see themselves reflected in a book, and also have a view out on different cultures and experiences, through the library’s books. Pupil librarians help to spread a love of reading through a scheme where they buddy up with younger readers. 



Chair of the Judges, Paul Register said, "This year's shortlist all show a commitment to whole school literacy that is plain to see. The impact these libraries are having is astounding and inspirational.

The Secondary School Librarian of the Year, sponsored by OverDrive, highlights the achievements of staff in secondary school libraries who have gone above and beyond to make reading the heart of their students' education and support learning across the school. After a rigorous process of interviews and school visits, the judges have named three librarians as this year's Secondary School Librarian of the Year Honour List. 

Ros Harding, UK Schools’ Account Manager at the award's sponsor OverDrive said, “We are so proud to honour these outstanding librarians whose dedication, innovation and leadership have positively impacted their communities. They have worked tirelessly to make their school libraries a safe space to learn, be creative and develop a love of reading.

The Honour List for the School Librarian of the Year Secondary, in alphabetical order of first name, is as follows: 

Alice Leggatt – Oaks Park High School, Surrey 

Under Alice’s guidance, the library at Oaks Park High School has become a place for all students to read and celebrate their achievements, interests and cultural lives. The clubs, activities and events that Alice leads are student-centered and engaging, equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need. Alice’s innovative museum space encourages students to expand their interests whilst boosting their cultural capital. 

Elizabeth Vale – Thomas Mills High School, Suffolk 

Elizabeth’s passion has fostered a love of reading that has turned the library into the cultural hub of Thomas Mills High School. Elizabeth has ensured the library is embedded in the school's daily life through many popular clubs and book events. Students are encouraged to take an active role in organising events, leading assemblies and running book groups, giving them a boost in confidence. 

Heather Grainger – Weatherhead High School, Wirral 

For the past ten years, Heather has dedicated herself to bringing the joy of reading to each and every pupil at Weatherhead High School. Through lessons, book recommendations, author visits and clubs, Heather seeks to engage all readers whatever their interests or needs. Through her Student Librarian Leadership Scheme, students are being empowered with life skills they need to excel. 


Paul Register, Chair of Judges, said, "As a team of experienced school librarians ourselves, our judging panel was excited to read through the bumper bundle of entries from schools for this year's Secondary School Librarian of the Year Award. Taking those entries and narrowing them down into an Honour List was not an easy task but we have chosen a group of school librarians who show creative innovation within their schools, dedication to their students and a passion for the profession. We hope they are all very proud to have made it this far into the whole process. Their schools are lucky to have them.

Alison Tarrant, CEO of the School Library Association said, "The schools and staff on these lists should be incredibly proud. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication that the pupils in these schools are being supported, inspired and encouraged not just to read but to learn and be well. They are benefiting from the space, staff and stock and are learning skills, developing confidence and experiencing empowerment - which together are creating bright futures for pupils. They are an example of the quality of school libraries across the UK." 

The winners will be announced at a ceremony later this year, alongside the winners to the SLA's Enterprise of the Year Award. The Awards process for 2025 will open in July.

For more information about all of these awards visit www.sla.org.uk/awards  

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