The trio – from a secondary school, special school and primary school respectively – have been shortlisted for their commitment to creating book-loving schools.
Helen Cleaves, a librarian at Kingston Grammar School in Kingston upon Thames, spent the early part of her career in technology PR and now uses technology to engage pupils in reading for pleasure.
Her innovative strategies include Skype author events, a book doctor service to provide personal reading recommendations, films of school staff reading their favourite poems for National Poetry Day, and a book trailer competition where students made short films on the school’s iPads.
“It created a buzz,” said Ms Cleaves, whose favourite book for secondary students is Wonder by RJ Palacio. She continued: “Pupils who weren’t enthusiastic readers were interested in watching the films and the pupils who made the films brought their friends into the library to see them. In everything the library does I consider how we can interest different groups of pupils and engage them beyond the obvious.”
The second contender for the title is Liz Millett, from Weatherfield Academy, a special school for seven to 19-year-olds in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
“Fundamentally I strive to match pupils’ personal reading abilities, which may be lower than average, with books suitable to their chronological age,” said Ms Millett.
“My main aim is to get each child reading because they want to.”
Her favourite books for secondary SEN students include Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry series.
The third librarian on this year’s honour list is Tracey Needham, from Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Barrow-in-Furness.
The winner of the overall award, which is run by the School Library Association, will be announced at a ceremony in London on October 6.
Ginette Doyle, chair of the selection panel and former chair of the School Library Association, paid tribute to the three “exceptional” librarians on the 2014 shortlist.
“Our honour list librarians this year are truly impressive,” she said. “Each of their schools is unique and they tailor their library service to their clients exactly, ensuring that they give the young people they deal with the best they can.”
For more details, visit www.sla.org.uk/slya-2014.php CAPTIONS: Honoured: Helen Cleaves (top) and Liz Millett, two of the three short-listed librarians for this year’s School Librarian of the Year