Pupil Library  Assistant of the Year 2017

On March 17th 2017, bestselling author Cathy Cassidy joined school librarians, representatives from literacy organisations, authors and publishers to celebrate the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award; a joint venture between the School Library Association and the CILIP School Libraries Group.


A five-strong shortlist was selected from a very strong field of nominations from school librarians across the UK. The winner was announced by Cassidy at a special ceremony on Friday 17th March at Portcullis House, Westminster. The winner was Victoria Langford from St Hilda’s CE High School, Liverpool


Her librarian, Jacqueline Hale, said “When students are book lovers, you can immediately see their eyes light up when they are talking about books. Victoria has this spark. She wants to go into publishing after she leaves school and you can see how much books mean to her when you see her working in the library.”


Her (now retired) Headteacher, Eleanor Benson, said “Victoria makes an outstanding contribution to the success of the library. She has built on the core skills required of her and goes well beyond the routine tasks.”

Victoria Langford the 2017 Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award winner said when asked what winning the award has meant to her  “Winning the Award has already helped to make me feel so much more confident about my role, and has encouraged me to take on more responsibility within the running of the library. It has allowed me to realise that my ideas are valid and worth consideration, and so has increased my confidence to pose new ideas to help make the library even better”

Recognising the valued assistance of pupils who help within their school libraries, the award was sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators; Authors Aloud UK, a company specialising in organising author visits; EES for Schools, an organisation that provides a range of specialist education services; leading children’s publishers Hachette and Macmillan; and MLS, a company that produces high specification library systems for schools. The award’s logo was specially designed by Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.


Barbara Band, Chair of the Judging Panel and founder of the award said “Week after week many students support the libraries in their schools by giving of their time and effort. Sadly, this is too often unrecognised and unrewarded. Yet these students are not only helping to create a lively and effective library that responds to the needs of its users, they are also gaining valuable skills and experience in the process. This award was created to recognise that work and also to highlight the unique synergy that occurs when a pupil becomes a library assistant.”


Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association said “Pupil library assistants are a valuable element in the running of school libraries – giving service to the school but also gaining skills and confidence from the work they do in the library, which ultimately feeds back into their academic achievement and their motivation.”


Caroline Roche, Chair of the CILIP School Libraries Group said “The work that pupil librarians do is invaluable in their schools.  Many school librarians are lone workers and therefore rely heavily on assistance from pupil librarians during busy periods.  But, more than that, many of these pupils enrich their libraries: recommending books, talking to their peers, creating newsletters, contributing to blogs, helping create displays - all the extras which can make a library vibrant and interesting. All of this enriches not only the library, but adds to their personal development.  SLG thoroughly endorses this Award.”


Open to pupils who assist in school libraries across the UK, the award recognises the impact of their work on their school and its library and equally the value of the experience to the children’s lives. Entries are judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

The five shortlisted pupils - in alphabetical order...


Rebecca Dunville is from Wellington College in Belfast and has worked with her school librarian since September 2011. Her headteacher, Nicola Connery, says Rebecca "represents the core values required from a pupil library assistant" and her librarian, Tanja Jennings, describes her as "conscientious and dedicated."


William Harris is from Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire and has worked with his school librarian since January 2014. His headteacher, Adam Williams, says "William's efforts are helping to create a legacy at LWC for the way in which pupils use the library" and his librarian, Sue Brown, describes him as "a quite exceptional library assistant."


Victoria Langford is from St Hilda's CE High School in Liverpool and has worked with her school librarian since September 2014. Her headteacher, Jo Code, describes her as "an excellent role model for the other pupils" and her librarian, Jacqueline Hale, says "Victoria's contribution to the library has been huge."


Rishi Shah is from Queen Elizabeth's School in London and has worked with his school librarian since September 2014. His headteacher, Neil Enright, describes him as "a dedicated, hard-working and extremely well-read individual" and his librarian, Ciara Murray, says Rishi has "demonstrated real motivation and creative flair in promoting the library and its benefits."


Harry Sindle is from Ely College in Cambridgeshire and has worked with his school librarian since September 2014. His headteacher, Richard Spencer describes him as "everything you could want in a school librarian. He is calm, knowledgeable and meticulous" and his librarian, Anne Shaw, says "the LRC could not as efficiently and effectively as it does without Harry."