We have updated our cookie policy to reflect recent changes in the UK/EU law concerning the use of cookies and tracking technologies. We use cookies on this website (including the page you are currently viewing) to ensure that the site functions smoothly and to help us understand how we can improve it. If you continue without changing your settings, you are agreeing to receive all cookies from the SLA website.

or view our cookie policy to find out more

Show Menu | Show Sidebar (Login/Search)

School Librarian of the Year Award 2018


The School Librarian of the Year Award is the SLA's prestigious honour to recognise the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day, and to highlight the best practice of those whose work is outstanding.

Let's give our best school librarians the recognition they deserve!

2018 Winner

Suffield Certificate

The SLA is delighted to announce that Emma Suffield at Saint Wilfrid's C of E Academy in Blackburn has been awarded the School Librarian of the Year 2018.

Distinguished author Lauren St. John presented her with the award at a special ceremony in London on 9 October.

Although her official title is Learning Resources Centre Manager, Emma Suffield is seen more as a member of the family by many of the 1,400 students at Saint Wilfrid's C of E Academy in a diverse area of Blackburn, thanks to her personalised, thoughtful and supportive approach to engaging all readers across the school. Innovative, imaginative practice, frequently going the extra mile, has led to a whopping 450% increase in book borrowing rates since Emma became responsible for the library in 2014.

Lesley Martin, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said: 

''It is exciting for the profession to have someone as forward thinking, creative, passionate and professional about school libraries and no doubt with a great career ahead of her. Emma makes a real difference in her school and her community and her contribution to the wider library profession is already making an impact.''

Slya 2018 Montage

The three other school librarians honoured for their work are:

  • Nicki Cleveland –  Cannon Park Primary School, Coventry
  • Dr. Chhavi Jain –  Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram), New Delhi
  • Alison Kennedy – St George's Ascot.

Noting that the award is a unique and wonderful celebration of the work of school librarians, Alison Tarrant, Chief Executive of the School Library Association, said: 

"The School Librarian of the Year Award is a brilliant opportunity to showcase the impact that school libraries can make, not just on pupils, but on staff and school culture. Our Honour List this year were all strong contenders and demonstrate the nuance needed when talking about school libraries – no two are the same; they are all reflective of the school around them, and it's aims and priorities. Last month the launch of the Great School Libraries campaign – a three-year campaign spearheaded by SLA, CILIP SLG and CILIP. The campaign has three aims: to secure school library funding; to produce a national framework for school libraries and recognition of school libraries within the Ofsted framework. Our Honour List support this aim and prove that supported school libraries can make a difference."

The video presentations from the four finalists' schools can be viewed on the SLA Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/uksla1

Read the full profiles of the Honour Librarian finalists for School Librarian of the Year 2018.


The School Librarian of the Year Award is sponsored by the Foyle Foundation and Macmillan Children's Books.

Foyle LogoThe Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making Trust supporting UK charities which, since its formation in 2001, has become a major funder of the Arts and Learning. The Foundation also operates a community small grants programme and a national school library improvement scheme.

Macmillan Children LogoMacmillan Children's Books: www.panmacmillan.com

The SLA is grateful to the following supporters who generously donated prizes for the finalists' schools:

  • Accessit Library
  • Andersen Press
  • Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Bonnier Publishing
  • Browns Books for Students
  • Carel Press
  • DLT Media
  • Education Umbrella
  • Excelsior Award/Paul Register
  • Faber & Faber
  • Laurence King Publishing
  • Literary Gift Company
  • Macmillan Children's Books
  • Nosy Crow
  • Oxford University Press
  • Peters
  • PSP Asset Protection
  • Softlink
  • Walker Books