Local Book Awards

Shaun, a school librarian in Sheffield, writes about his experience of Local Book Awards:

It’s the first regional award and very highly prized. In fact it was the first ever award JK Rowling won for Harry Potter.

So what’s it’s success ? Well it’s quite simple, it’s the kids that decide which books win, not adults. School librarians work with their counterparts in the public sector and together with students from schools, come up with a shortlist of 18 books. These are in 3 sections: picture, shorter and longer novels. This shortlist is then pushed out to schools, and that’s where the fun really starts. In most secondary schools, its the School Librarian who gets the fantastic privilege of administrating the award. They encourage students to read the selection and vote which they think is the best book. In our school over 60 students are involved in the reading. It provides a great boost to literacy with reluctant readers vying with each other to complete the 6 books they have to read.

But it all comes down to the Awards Ceremony, held around November time. If you think that kids don’t like reading, you only have to attend one of the ceremonies to cast that myth aside. The atmosphere is electric and builds to a crescendo when the winners are announced. We’re really lucky to have met some great authors over the years. JK Rowling, Malorie Blackman, Anthony McGowan, Michael Morpurgo – it’s a real who’s who of the literary world. All the authors are really approachable and ready to sign anything, not just books.
The Book Awards really aids my work as a school librarian. it provides me a great set of books to promote, it stirs up a real interest in reading and books pushing the library back to where it belongs, at the heart of the school.

Berkshire Local Book Awards

The Berkshire Book Award was launched in 2004  by a small group of school librarians.  Its aim was to provide a book award for those younger members of book groups who often found the Carnegie shortlist difficult.  Young people aged 11-14 who live or go to school in Berkshire take part through their schools or public libraries.  It is THEIR book award.  The Award is launched by an author in October and titles may be nominated until December by the young people.  A shortlist of 6 or 7 is then announced and from January to March is the reading and reviewing process.  In February a Pen to Page event is held when pupils from participating schools get together to discuss the shortlisted books.  Voting takes place in March and the trophy is engraved with the winner for the following year’s launch.  The event has gone from strength to strength and is now part of the annual literary calendar for over 60 Berkshire schools.  The website – http://www.berkshirebookaward.org.uk/ provides a forum for discussion, book reviews and resources

A new award, launched in January 2011, is the Stan Lee Excelsior Book award, run by Sheffield school librarian Paul Register.  You can read more about the award here.

We’re really lucky in Sheffield to have a fantastic School’s Library Service. For the past 22, yes 22 years, they’ve been organising the Sheffield Children’s Book Awards. It’s grown in that time from a handful of schools taking part to nearly every school in the city being involved. The much anticipated Awards Ceremony is now held in the City Hall Auditorium and attracted over 1,500 children, librarians and staff.

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