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School Librarian of the Year Award 2008

Nikki Heath is SLA School Librarian of the Year 2008

Nikki Heath, School Librarian of the Year 2008. Photo: Martin Salter
Nikki Heath, School Librarian of the Year 2008.
Photo: Martin Salter

Nikki Heath, librarian at Werneth School, Stockport, has been announced the SLA School Librarian of the Year for 2008.

At the award ceremony in Westminster on 7th May 2008, Geoff Dubber, Chair of the Judging Panel and SLA Vice Chair, paid tribute to the Honour List of six librarians and noted that once again it had been very hard to select the winner as all had demonstrated exemplary work.

The Panel, who had visited many librarians around the UK shortlisted from those nominated by their colleagues this year, said of Nikki:

"Although Nikki's natural teaching ability was evident during the Year 7 lesson we observed, her passion for supporting students to become both confident, independent researchers and to read for pleasure is her driving force. She provides constant opportunities to do this for all abilities, using both her original ideas and those initiated by other members of staff. These range from the more structured (identifying new Year 7s with low reading levels to join the Fit 4 Reading Breakfast Club) to the less formal (the summer term 'Formula One Challenge' poses cross curricular challenges for KS3 teams). Three times per year the WHOLE school (including staff) stops for 20 minutes and reads."

Nikki's infectious enthusiasm and natural ability was praised by other members of the school staff, especially those from the SEN faculty. The Head of English stated that the library was now firmly at the heart of all the school did. "She facilitates: but it's more than just being a librarian or a teacher: she takes you with her because of her great enthusiasm and belief in reading".

Philip Reeve with the 2008 Honour List and staff from their schools. Photo: Martin Salter
Philip Reeve with the 2008 Honour List and staff from their schools.
Photo: Martin Salter

This year for the first time the panel awarded Very Highly Commended to two other librarians, Karen Bhatti from Yeading Junior School in Hayes, and Shona Phillips, librarian at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, who both impressed them greatly. The Honour List this year was completed by three further librarians who also were judged by the visiting panel to be demonstrating work of the highest level. These three were Anne Dawson, Junior School Librarian at Dulwich College, London; Robert Logan, Upper School Librarian, Queen Elizabeth’s Community College, Crediton, Devon; and Rebecca Marshall, Learning Resource Coordinator, Lipson Community College, Plymouth.

Between them the six librarians honoured demonstrated a range of the very best practice to be seen in our school libraries and the SLA would like to congratulate all of them and their schools.

Special guest at the ceremony was Philip Reeve, award winning author of the Mortal Engines series and shortlisted for this year’s CILIP Carnegie Medal for Here Lies Arthur.

Following the Award ceremony the Honour List and their guests were treated to tea at the House of Commons by Michael Wills MP and Anne Snelgrove, MP, to whom we express our thanks.

Tea at the House of Commons! Photo: Martin Salter
Tea at the House of Commons!
Photo: Martin Salter


Full Citations for the 2008 Honour List

About the Award

The School Library Association created this Award in 2004 in response to the need for recognition of the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day, and to highlight best practice through celebrating those whose work is outstanding. Nominees do not need to be members of the SLA, and may be from any phase of education.


Sponsors for the Award in 2008 are the Department for Children, Education and Skills (DCSF), Scholastic and Softlink Europe. The SLA is very grateful to all of these sponsors, without whom the Award could not continue in its current format.

  • Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)
    Department for Children, Schools and FamiliesThe DCSF is pleased to support the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award, in the context of the National Year of Reading 2008.
  • Scholastic
    ScholasticScholastic UK Ltd are delighted to be sponsoring the School Librarian of the Year Award 2008. Helping schools to support their librarians and promote the love of reading is a key part of what we do. As a distributor of children's books through our Book Clubs and Book Fairs, Scholastic is the biggest children's specialist bookseller in the UK and Ireland.
  • Softlink Europe
    Softlink - Celebrating 25 YearsSoftlink Europe is pleased to sponsor the School Librarian of the Year Award 2008. Softlink is the major provider of library automation software to secondary schools in the UK, with many thousands of schools using Alice and Oliver. This year Softlink is celebrating 25 years of innovation.