Lucy Bakewell of Hill West Primary School in Sutton Coldfield was announced as the School Librarian of the Year 2009 in the award ceremony at London Zoo on 5 October 2009. She was presented with her award by Anne Cassidy, award-winning author of Looking for JJ.
Ginette Doyle, Chair of the judging panel, who had visited many librarians around the UK shortlisted from those nominated by their colleagues this year, said: 'Primary schools are vital in inspiring children to read and reading is so important in the development of children, expanding their imagination, their knowledge, their vocabulary. They also are the places where children begin to learn to learn, where information skills are first taught, creating individuals competent in finding information. Few primary schools can afford to have a librarian and many rely on dedicated individuals, such as Lucy to run their libraries. Lucy inspires her pupils to love books and reading and she inspires the adults around her. Hill West School is an example of a marvellous school where reading and books are central to learning, much of which is down to Lucy. We feel that it is really important to raise the profile of good primary school library practice, to demonstrate that with the right person in place wonderful things can be achieved.'
In her acceptance speech Lucy responded: 'I am ecstatic and honoured to be given this award for something I love doing. I have the best job in the world and it's a joy to spend time in the library. I feel passionate about making the library a space that children feel is their own and am delighted to receive the honour for the children and for the school. It is exceptionally important that a primary school has won for the first time. It is vital to enthuse and engage children in books and reading from an early age.'
The work of three other exceptional school librarians on the SLYA Honour List was also celebrated:
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The four finalists were chosen for their outstanding work in their school library from a pool of excellent candidates.
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Seated - the four School Librarians on the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2009 Honour List:
The Guardian/Digital Archive
The Guardian is delighted to support the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2009. The Guardian supports educational professionals with its weekly education supplement and also daily coverage of education news, policy and practice on www.guardian.co.uk/archive. Also available are a range of deep and broad teaching and learning & reference websites for use in schools. Our latest offering, the Guardian and Observer Digital Archive - all the papers back to 1791 available online - is an ideal whole-school resource. Subscriptions to this and our our daily online news service for school pupils, learnnewsdesk, will be awarded to SLA School Librarian of the Year winners. To find out more or request a free trial of our school resources, email mailto:learncontact(at)guardian.co.uk or call 020 3353 4059.
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.