Finalists Announced for UK Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award

Date: 09 02 2024

Superstar Pupils Shine in National Library Awards

Seven finalists have been announced in the annual Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Awards (PLAA) run by the School Libraries Group of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP SLG) and the School Library Association (SLA).

While three of the shortlisted pupils attend schools in London, there is representation beyond the South-East, including Liverpool and Newcastle Upon Tyne, and a range of different settings, including a boys’ comprehensive, an independent co-ed and a Church of England school. 

The finalists in the Secondary School category are:

  • Jaime Braddick – Oaks Park High School in London
  • Oscar Charlton – Forest Hill School in London
  • Kirby Hulbert – Abbeyfield School in Chippenham
  • Kotryna Kazlauskaite – St Hilda’s Church of England High School in Liverpool
  • William Kirvan – Dame Allan’s School in Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Diya Ladher – Daubeney Academy in Kempston
  • Joe Stone-Lee – Saint Cecilia’s Church of England School in London

In addition, Reuben Colton, a Year 6 pupil at Edge Grove School in Watford has been recognised for his outstanding efforts in the new Primary School category.

Barbara Band, Chair of the PLAA Judging Panel, said, “As a librarian who has worked within a variety of schools for many years, I am only too aware of how many students support their school libraries, volunteering week after week to carry out a wide range of tasks. These students enable their librarians to extend the services they offer to the school community, are excellent role models and help create a welcoming and inclusive space, as well as gaining valuable skills and experience in the process. The synergy that occurs between a school library and its pupil library assistants is something special. I am so pleased that we are able to recognise this, and I congratulate this year’s finalists.”

“This award also shows how a good school library can impact on the volunteers themselves,” commented Alison Tarrant, CEO of the SLA.It’s clear from the nominations that the relationship between pupil librarian and the school library is mutually beneficial. In their supporting statements many of the nominating headteachers and librarians comment on how the responsibility has proved a catalyst for the pupils’ personal development, enabling them to become confident contributors to many aspects of school life, often assuming leadership roles that extend beyond the library such as on the school council. I congratulate them all on their excellent work.”

Nick Cavender, Chair of CILIP SLG, added: “The school library is a community at the heart of the school and pupil librarians form an important part of this. They are dynamic advocates, whose contribution and influence extend far beyond stamping books and keeping the shelves tidy. They are ambassadors for the library, constantly developing innovative ways to keep their peers happy and to bring new pupils into the library.”

Chantel Carpenter, Director of Schools Marketing at Pearson, who sponsor and host the awards, said: “At Pearson we are committed to developing a long-term love of reading. Libraries are such an important part of a school, where diversity and inclusion can be celebrated and championed across the school. It is wonderful to see children and young people going one step further to ensure that their library is an ever-evolving space that all pupils can enjoy. We would like to congratulate all pupils who were nominated. You should be extremely proud of what you have achieved.”

Annie Everall, Director, Authors Aloud UK commented, “Authors Aloud UK have been proud sponsors of the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award 2024 since its inception in 2015. By recognising the vital contribution that pupil library assistants make to the day to day running of their libraries, this award is shining a light nationally on the value of school libraries and their profile in school. These exceptional pupil advocates aren’t only focused on promoting literacy and learning; they are also passionate diversity champions helping to ensure that everyone in their school community feels seen and valued, and are also an inspiration to their peers. Congratulations to all the finalists for their achievements.”

The shortlisted pupils were nominated by their school librarians for their outstanding work in the school library. They had to demonstrate their quality across five different areas, including how they are a role model for other students.

Open to pupils who assist in school libraries across the UK, the award recognises the impact of their work at their school and equally the value of the experience to the children’s lives. Entries are judged by a panel from the children’s book world and school library community.

The winner will be announced by the Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho at the award ceremony hosted by Pearson in London on Friday 19th April.

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