Librarian Adam Lancaster has made a huge impact on reading at his Hertfordshire school.
He runs Enjoying Reading classes for all year 7s at Monk’s Walk School in Welwyn Garden City, helps parents to encourage children to read at home, and offers free CPD to local primary and secondary schools.
Initiatives like these have now led to Mr Lancaster scooping the title of School Librarian of the Year 2012.
Mr Lancaster received his award from children’s writer and School Library Association president Kevin Crossley-Holland at a special ceremony in London last week.
“School libraries and school librarians are under real pressure – political apathy, cuts in their budgets, threats of redundancy, status within their schools,” said Mr Crossley-Holland.
“But all over the country, individual librarians are doing imaginative, valiant and frankly quite crucial work, inspiring a love of reading within their schools and communities.”
Mr Lancaster is also the first school librarian to be appointed as an associate assistant headteacher – in recognition of his work to improve literacy throughout his school and the wider community.
He took up this additional post at Monk’s Walk last month.
Mr Lancaster, a former chair of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, believes that school librarians should share their knowledge and expertise with teaching staff.
“We are working to create a literacy-rich community, which takes time and will benefit the school for generations to come,” he said. “Each child comes to reading from a different perspective, background and understanding, but having an armoury of ideas really helps. Librarians have to remember that it’s not going to be easy but that’s no reason not to try everything you can. Break down the barriers that stop kids from reading and get everyone in school to model the worth of reading.”
When SecEd asked Mr Lancaster to recommend a book for secondary pupils he revealed that his current favourite is Wonder by RJ Palacio, the moving story of a boy with a facial disfigurement.
“It’s a fantastic book about the things that really matter in life –friendship, staying true to yourself and taking risks,” he said.
The School Librarian of the Year Award is run by the School Library Association. For more information, visit www.sla.org.uk
CAPTIONS: Book ‘em: Adam Lancaster at work in the Monk’s Walk School library.