Inspiration Award 

The SLA Inspiration Award is given to the school library space that shows inspiration, innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in its library design and in use, either through creative use of specific products or promotions. What matters is not how big the school library space is, but what it has achieved with the available resources and the challenges it faces.

The Inspiration Award runs on a two-year cycle and is open to schools in the UK and Ireland. 

We are looking for sponsors for the next award. If you are currently refurbishing, or even building a new school library, keep an eye on this page.

The Inspiration Award runs alongside the SLA's School Librarian of the Year Award

2017 Winners

Adderley Primary School, Birmingham

The judges were impressed with the immersion in books and reading children encountered, with a reading culture spread throughout the whole school. The library is within a wide corridor, central in the school. The walls are vibrant with book quotations and illustrations. Stairs lead off the library, depicting book spines. Lights illuminate shelves of titles attracting readers from 3 years to 11. Staffing the library, not only with a school librarian, but also a Reading Manager means children always have someone to consult about books.

Joint winners:
American School of Madrid
Headington School, Oxon
Hymers College, Hull

The secondary school SLA Inspiration Award winners presented an impossible choice to the judges. So, in this exceptional year of excellent shortlisted schools, three schools were named joint winners.

All these school libraries have responded to their individual needs with unique design.

The American School of Madrid offers a Makerspace without compromising the traditional library area for study and relaxation. The expanding space welcomes the user for one aspect of school life and answers questions you didn’t even know you needed answering.

Headington has an exceptional balance of books and IT, blending tradition with 21st century sustainable, green planning. Led by the professional librarian, this library was designed with outside the box thinking, expanding the traditional gym with a glass surround, working together in harmony.

Hymers College have taken Hull’s City of Culture vision and designed a beautiful building to welcome their wider community into a multi-use hub offering 21st century library facilities in an inspiring design putting the role of the Library and Librarian at the heart of teaching and learning.

The award celebration was held in Covent Garden on the afternoon of Monday 2nd October.

The 2017 Inspiration Award was sponsored by Gresswell.

2015 Winners

Primary All Saints, Stibbard

Secondary Valley Park School, Maidstone

Author Kevin Brooks presented both schools with their awards. Each school received vouchers to spend with sponsors LFC and Gresswell.

Judges praised All Saint’s resourcefulness in creating a library provision for its pupils in spite of the limited space available describing it as “an excellent facility in a small village school”. They also commented “The school has not only physically revamped the library, but has supported the refurbishment with other means to give books and reading priority.”

Valley Park School in Kent opened their library in 2014 wanting to buck the local trend of closing libraries and making librarians redundant. The judges commented “The library at Valley Park is an excellent example of secondary phase library provision in design and use.” They went on to say “As you walk into the library there is an immediate sense of space and light. There is sufficient space enabling both lessons and access by students from across the curriculum to take place simultaneously.”

Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association said “The judges were impressed with the quality of the entries. It is reassuring to see schools valuing the role a library plays not only in the education of our children but in their social and emotional development. We would like to thank all of the schools that entered and encourage them to continue inspiring young minds.”

The 2015 Inspiration Award was sponsored by LFC and Gresswell.


We are currently looking for sponsors for the SLA Inspiration Award.