SLYA 2019


Ros Harding from The King's School Chester has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2019. YA Book Prize winner Sara Barnard presented Ros Harding with her award at a special ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington on 27 June 2019.

Head Librarian and Archivist at The King's School Chester (an independent selective school for ages 3-18), Ros Harding contributes in many ways to the life of the school and to the wellbeing of its students and staff.  She was described variously as  "caring, for people but also for the library itself", "inspiring curiosity" and a "tour de force". As well as establishing a School Book Award, Ros is an excellent ambassador of research skills and ensures all aspects of the school to have a place within the library. She empowers pupils and gives outstanding support and pastoral care.

Sue Bastone, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said:

"It was a real honour to visit the three exceptional librarians on this year's Honour List and it was incredibly difficult for the judges to pick a winner. Ros's professionalism and contribution to teaching and learning make her a highly valued equal among her teaching colleagues. Her caring and inclusive nature is appreciated by students, staff and parents, many of whom describe her as inspiring, not least in the way she makes things happen to the benefit of all who come into contact with her, from junior school pupils to the Senior Leadership Team."

Noting that the award is a unique and wonderful celebration of the work of school librarians, Alison Tarrant, Chief Executive of the School Library Association, said:

"The Honour List this year are fantastic examples of the impact that effective school libraries can have, as shown by the affection and respect with which pupils and teaching staff talk about them. All three have all had a positive influence on the learning that goes on within their schools, both formally and informally. Ros has 'redefined the role' according to her nominee and all prove that the stereotype of a school librarian who sits behind a desk and stamps books is just that – a stereotype. All the Honour List should be incredibly proud of their contribution to ensuring all their pupils have a fully rounded education."

Two other exciting and innovative librarians were shortlisted for the Award: Helen Cleaves (Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School) and Chantal Kelleher (Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School).

Chantal Kelleher

Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School, (, an above-average-sized, mixed, non-selective Secondary academy), Chantal Kelleher, is dedicated to developing a whole school approach to reading and information literacy, ensuring the LRC is a vibrant and colourful hub at the centre of the school. From filming staff reciting poems to creating book-filled goody bags for transition students, via the LGBT pupil group she supports and her innovative use of the library to support different departments in the school, it is clear that Chantal has great passion for promoting the LRC with creativity and flair. @hernebayhigh

Helen Cleaves

Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School (, an independent, co-educational day school), Helen Cleaves has an impact which extends well beyond the library doors. From welcoming new staff with a breakfast croissant and liaising closely with pastoral staff through to promoting academic rigour at Head of Department meetings, Helen is utterly committed to ensuring that the library is welcoming, relevant and purposeful. Innovative reading promotions including establishing the school's first Poet Laureate and regularly producing The Guilty Librarian podcast. @KGS_Library @kgs_libraryuk


The School Librarian of the Year Award is sponsored by the Foyle Foundation and Macmillan Children's Books.

The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making Trust supporting UK charities which, since its formation in 2001, has become a major funder of the Arts and Learning. The Foundation also operates a community small grants programme and a national school library improvement scheme.

Macmillan Children's Books:

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