Big names in children’s literature back pupils who assist in school library

Bestselling children’s author Charlie Higson and multi award-winning illustrator Chris Riddell have joined school librarians and publishers to back the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award; a joint venture between the CILIP School Libraries Group and the School Library Association.

A seven-strong shortlist has been selected following a total of almost sixty nominations received for the inaugural award. The young winner will be announced by Higson at a special ceremony in London on Thursday 12 March, whilst Riddell is producing a dedicated artwork for the award logo.

Riddell said:“Librarians and libraries truly form the backbone of a school and it is fantastic to have a new award that recognises the young librarians and the role that they play in this.  I am delighted to be involved in the first ever Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award by illustrating the logo and I hope it encourages more and more pupils to get involved with their school library”.

Recognising the valued assistance of pupils aged 14+ who help within their school libraries, the initiative is being 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.

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.

This award gives CILIP SLG & the School Library Association the opportunity to celebrate that work and achievement.  The quality and number of the nominations received is a positive indication that such an award is needed and appreciated by the sector.”

Alyx Price, Communications Director at Macmillan Children’s Books said:
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to sponsor the inaugural Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award. Macmillan already sponsors the School Librarian of the Year Award and this was a natural next step for us. Every school library needs vibrant young people who help to keep the library at the heart of their school, and many pupils volunteer in their own time to ensure this is the case. We are so pleased that there is now an opportunity for these young library assistants to be recognised and rewarded for their commitment.”    

Ray Dyer, MD of Peters Books and Furniture said: “At Peters, we understand the importance of ensuring children and young people have access to books and a vibrant school library is an essential part of this.  Recognising and celebrating the contribution, commitment and achievement of the Pupil Library Assistants both in their schools and beyond can only result in positive messages about the power of libraries, reading and young people. We did not hesitate to lend our support when we were approached and are proud to be a sponsor of the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year 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 seven young finalists now have to submit further evidence which will be considered by the panel between now and the winner’s announcement. 

The seven shortlisted pupils:

Morgan Boswell - Wilsthorpe Community School, Nottingham
Olivia Bowes - Antrim Grammar School, Antrim, NI
Abbie Craske -  Aylsham High School, Norfolk
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
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.

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:

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).

Chris Riddell
Chris Riddell is an accomplished artist and political cartoonist for the Observer. He is well known for his collaborations with the author Paul Stewart on books such as Muddle Earth, and has also illustrated several picture books for younger children. He writes and illustrates Macmillan's award winning and captivating OTTOLINE young fiction series. He has won many awards for his work, including the Nestlé Gold Award and the rare honour of two Kate Greenaway Medals.