Aylsham High School’s Abbie wins inaugural Pupil Library Assistant Award

Teenage pupil Abbie Craske from Aylsham High School in Norfolk has been named Pupil Library Assistant of the Year, from a shortlist of seven committed young library lovers who assist in their school libraries. The new national award is made jointly by the CILIP School Library Group and the School Library Association.

Each of the seven shortlisted pupils raises the profile of the school library in various ways, including helping and supporting other pupils, building engagement and bringing fresh ideas to support reading and literacy at their schools.

Abbie was presented with the award by Charlie Higson and takes home prizes including a specially commissioned artwork designed by multi-award winning Chris Riddell. She said:

In the beginning the school library was my escape from life, now it enhances my life, and it is a privilege to give something back to the place I love.”

Presenting the award, author, writer and actor Charlie Higson paid tribute to the work of librarians calling them “irreplaceable”, and said:

“Librarians share the love and magic of books and when pupils get involved in spreading that excitement, that is incredible; at a time when there are so many competing distractions for their time and attention.”

Chair of the Judging panel and Immediate Past President of CILIP, Barbara Band, whose idea inspired the award, said: 

"I am delighted at the success of the inaugural Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award and the amount of support we had from our sponsors, publishers and authors. The judging panel wanted the ceremony to focus on the pupils and the wonderful work they do within their school libraries and it certainly did, with each pupil having a personal citation from an author, a goodie bag from Macmillan's Children's Books and a huge pile of signed books to take home. What the award also highlighted was the reciprocal relationship between school libraries and pupils, with both sides benefitting, and the impact a school library can have."

Prizes and support for the initiative were sponsored by leading children’s publishers Hachette, Macmillan and Puffin, specialist children’s book suppliers Peters Books and Furniture; and by Authors Aloud UK, a company specialising in organising author visits into schools and libraries. Entries were judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

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.


Abbie Craske -  Aylsham High School, Norfolk


Morgan Boswell - Wilsthorpe Community School, Nottingham
Olivia Bowes - Antrim Grammar School, Antrim, NI
Megan Gardner -  King James’s School, Huddersfield, W Yorks
Francesca Hannay - Derby High School, Derby
Jessica Ince-  Heritage High School, Clowne, Derbyshire
James Kearney- The King’s School, Grantham, Lincolnshire


Press contact

Cat Cooper
Communications and Campaigns Manager, CILIP
Email: cat.cooper@cilip.org.uk
Direct line: 020 7255 0653
Mobile: 07867 455070

Notes to Editors

The judging Panel

  • Barbara Band, CILIP Immediate Past President & Head of Library, The Emmbrook School, Berkshire
  • Sue Bastone, CILIP School Libraries Group National Committee & Head of Learning Resources, LVS Ascot
  • Annie Everall, Authors Aloud UK
  • Dawn Finch, Author & Literary Consultant
  • Susan Staniforth, School Library Association Board member & School Library Consultant


Authors Aloud UK, Hachette Children’s Books, Macmillan Children’s Books, Peters Books and Furniture and Puffin Children’s Books

About the CILIP School Libraries Group

The School Libraries Group (SLG) of CILIP affirms that school libraries and school library services are fundamental to the development of a literate population able to participate fully in a thriving democracy, culture, civilization and economy. www.cilip.org.uk/slg

About the School Library Association

The School Library Association is an independent charity that believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all.  Website: www.sla.org.uk

Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson is a successful author, actor, comedian and writer for television and radio. Published by Puffin, he wrote the phenomenally successful Young Bond series which has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and been translated into over 24 languages and has also written the hugely popular post-apocalyptic, zombie-horror series which began with ‘The Enemy’ and will conclude in 2015. 

His work for radio includes the award-winning spoof radio series Down the Line (BBC Radio 4), which became the television comedy series Bellamy’s People (BBC 2). In partnership with Paul Whitehouse, he went on to create the hugely successful comedy series The Fast Show, in which he also appeared.  Other TV works include The Harry Enfield Television Programme, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Shooting Stars, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, the film Suite 16 and Swiss Toni.  He also adapted the script for ITV’s Agatha Christie drama A Caribbean Mystery (2013), in which he also played a cameo role.  Charlie’s other books include the thrillers King of the Ants (1992), Happy Now (1993), Full Whack (1995) and Getting Rid of Mr Kitchen (1996).


Barbara Band

Barbara Band is a Chartered Librarian and Immediate Past President of CILIP with over twenty years’ experience in school libraries. Currently Head of Library & Resources at a state school in Berkshire, she publishes regularly and delivers workshops on reading, libraries and literacy issues.

Barbara received the inaugural SLA Founder’s Award in 2013 in recognition of her contribution to school librarianship, is an honorary member of the CILIP Youth Libraries Group and was on the SLA School Librarian of the Year Honour’s List in 2009.

In 2012, Barbara organised a lobby in support of school libraries and was impressed with the number of young people who were involved. That was the beginning of the idea for this award, recognition both for the work that students do within their libraries as well as the impact this has on them personally.

Sue Bastone

Sue Bastone is Head of Learning Resources at LVS Ascot, an independent day and boarding school for pupils from 4-18 years.  She is a Chartered Librarian with over 20 years’ experience in school libraries, both state and independent, primary, prep and secondary.   She is responsible for cross curricular initiatives to support literacy and study skills across the school.  She is passionate about encouraging reading for pleasure at all ages, including the staff at LVS, and the LRC holds book groups and literary lunches for staff and students.

Sue is a Library Consultant and Trainer and is a great believer in “developing and using what you have at hand, whether that is staff or pupils”.  The LRC at LVS has a large team of loyal students who help with all aspects of the library.  The team includes the more senior Student Librarians, Library Prefects and LRC Monitors with rewards and clear progression.

Annie Everall

Annie Everall is a Director of ‘Authors Aloud UK’ and a consultant and trainer in the areas of children’s books, libraries and reading. During her career she has developed and managed a range of award winning innovative library services and reading initiatives in the UK including the Children’s Laureate UK tour of libraries, the Derbyshire Big Book Bash for Children in Care, and the Birmingham Centre for the Child.

She is a children’s book reviewer and serves on the CILIP School Libraries Group committee and the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science editorial board. She has been chair of the CILIP Youth Libraries Group and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards.

She is Chair of the Literacy & Reading Section Committee of IFLA (International Federation of Library and Information Associations) and has also been the UK representative on the IFLA Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section Committee. In 2001 she was awarded the OBE for services to children’s books and libraries

Dawn Finch

Dawn has spent over a quarter of a century in libraries (not including the ones she spent a great deal of her childhood in!) She started her career in public libraries and spent over fifteen years in them before moving on to school libraries for ten years.

Dawn specialised in children’s reading and now works with schools and school libraries around the country on school library and literacy matters.  She is an active campaigner for both school and public libraries, and for issues connected to raising national literacy levels.

Recently appointed Vice-President of CILIP, she is a published author and writes fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults.

Susan Staniforth

Susan has worked in public and school library services for 35 years. Her work in public libraries gave her experience of working with a range of different age groups including children and teenagers. She was Manager of Gloucestershire’s School Library Service, (Library Services for Education) from Ap ril 2003 until July 2014, working with both primary and secondary school libraries.

In August 2014 she set up as a school library consultant and now offers a range of services including library support and book banding. In addition to this Susan is Treasurer of the School Library Association.