By Emma Suffield, School Librarian of the Year 2018.

Being a School Librarian is one of the most rewarding jobs and I am grateful I get to do it on a daily basis. Getting up in the morning and knowing I can make a difference to a student through reading, literacy and books puts a big smile on my face.

With the morning administration taken care of I am ready to welcome classes into the library throughout the day, whether it be to help them choose books or to support them within their lessons.

Our students and staff enjoy reading. We run the reading programme ‘Accelerated Reader’ within the Academy for years 7 and 8 which helps to encourage and develop reading. This has helped increase our usage figures by over 450% in the last four years with book loans from students and staff reaching just over 13,000 in the last academic year!

We have over 15,000 fiction books in the library and a variety to suit all readers and abilities. There is at least one book to suit every child but finding that book can sometimes prove difficult. Not everyone loves reading, but once connected with the right book it can set a student off on a reading journey that will last for life.

The students sometimes laugh at me when I start interviewing them, asking them what they like reading, what they don’t like reading, what interests they have in and outside of school etc. This helps me to link their interests and hobbies to a genre and then hopefully to the right book. Seeing a non-reader, or a low ability reader, reading a book is so satisfying. What is even more satisfying is when they start talking to me about the book, thank me for finding them a book, the fact they enjoyed the book and ask for another!

I am very lucky to have wonderful Student Librarians to run the library desk during break and lunchtimes which means I can be walking around the library talking to students about what they are reading. Students who are reading books for more than 15 minutes in silence during breaktimes receive a raffle ticket for ‘getting caught reading’ which is drawn every half term. The more times they are caught reading the more chance they have of winning a ‘goodie bag’ of book related items!

Being an avid reader myself I like to recommend books to students and even share some of my books with them if we do not stock them. Building a good rapport with students is something I thrive upon. I love to promote reading for pleasure throughout the whole Academy whether it be during class time or within student’s free time.

Having a fully stocked library and a passionate librarian is key to a successful running of a school library. Every day is different, but I love knowing that I can go home after a hard but enjoyable day knowing that I have made a difference. Our motto is: Those Who Read Succeed!

On 9 October 2018 Emma won the School Library Association (SLA) School Librarian of the Year 2018 Award. Our congratulations go to Emma and all her nominated colleagues. Keep up the fantastic work you do!

Emma is the LRC Manager at Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Academy, Blackburn, Lancashire.
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Library twitter: @stwLRC

Find Emma on Twitter: @emmasuffield
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