The School Librarian of the Year Award, in partnership with The Executive Council of Dubai, was established in 2016 to celebrate the inspiring work of the UAE’s best school librarians in public and private schools. The winners receive fantastic prizes, acknowledging the pivotal role they play in creating the next generation of readers.
Nominations for School Librarian of the Year Award 2020 are now open!
Let’s pay tribute to dedicated and enthusiastic school librarians from all over the UAE.
Nominations close on 27 October, so prepare and submit your entries early!
Click here to enter.
Professional Development for all Nominees
All librarians nominated for the School Librarian of the Year Award are awarded registration to a one-day workshop for school librarians at the Library Conference hosted annually by the American Library Association (ALA) Conference at Sharjah International Book Fair in November 2020.
Each of these prizes is awarded to a librarian in a public school library and to a librarian in a private school library:
Special Recognition may be awarded to a librarian in either or both categories at the discretion of the Judging Panel. The prize for librarians receiving Special Recognition is a voucher for AED1000 for library books.
Winners in each category are also awarded three-day registration to the Sharjah International Book Fair/ American Libraries Association conference in November 2020.
School Librarian of the Year Award 2020
Rules of Entry
Who can be nominated?
Who can nominate?
Nominations are invited from colleagues, head teachers, students, governors, parents and anyone with an interest in school librarianship. We acknowledge that librarians can be unsung heroes and therefore self-nominations are also welcome.
How to nominate?
- Submit your entry by completing all sections of the nomination form below.
- Please give as much information as possible to support your answers.
- Please send us 3 photos and clear descriptions of reading promotion and information literacy work where appropriate.
- Please offer evidence of the librarian’s positive impact on teaching and learning.
- Please submit only one entry per librarian. Only the first nomination received for a librarian will be considered, so please make sure it includes all relevant information.
How is the award judged?
- All nominations are carefully assessed and analysed, and the shortlist of finalists is then drawn up. For advice on writing an engaging nomination entry, please refer to the frequently asked questions.
- A shortlist of finalists in each category is announced in December. Members of the judging panel visit the finalists at their libraries during the first half of January.
- Nominations are judged according to the following criteria:
- Does the library environment promote reading?
- Does the library make the best use of the resources available to it (including the physical library collection and use of technology)?
- What is the librarian’s, and the library’s role in raising academic and literacy standards in the school?
- How does the librarian promote reading for pleasure?
- The library’s role within the school and wider community
- The winners will be announced and the awards presented on Wednesday, 5 February, during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2020 (4-9 February).
Librarians can be nominated in Arabic or in English.
Terms and Conditions
- The competition is open to all school librarians in any stage of school education.
- One candidate can be nominated from each library.
- One candidate can be nominated from each school library in schools which have separate libraries for each stage.
- The librarian and the head teacher must be aware of and approve of the nomination.
- Any librarian can nominate him- or herself.
- Previous applicants who were not awarded first prize in 2017, 2018 or 2019 are welcome to enter again.
- Only one nomination will be accepted per librarian and once submitted, nominations may not be updated.
- Joint nominations must be submitted as a single entry, and the prize would be shared by nominees should they win. Joint nominations are allowed only where the librarian role is performed as a job-share partnership where each librarian holds equal status.
- To be considered for the award, nominees must be employed at the same school listed on their entry form at the awards ceremony in February.
- All nominees receive a certificate of participation. Please ensure nominee names are spelled correctly on the entry form. Certificates are distributed at the awards ceremony in February.
- The deadline for receiving entries for the competition is final. No entries received after the given date will be considered.
- All nominees are offered registration to a one-day workshop for school librarians at the Library Conference hosted annually by the American Library Association (ALA) Conference at Sharjah International Book Fair. This applies to the ALA conference in the November following the annual awarding of the prize in February.
- The prize(s) must be taken as stated and cannot be deferred. In case a first prize winner is unable to travel to the United Kingdom for any reason, a visit to Dubai Parks and Resorts for 4 people including four nights’ accommodation at a Dubai hotel will be offered as an alternative. The prizes are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
- Prizes unclaimed within the specified deadline will be deemed to have been forfeited.
- The first and second-place winners must provide their preferred dates for their visit and the details of their three companions by 10 March 2020. The itinerary will be arranged by the Emirates Literature Foundation. The trip must be taken by 8 September 2020.
- Emirates Literature Foundation does not accept any responsibility for late or lost entries due to the Internet service. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.
- Entrants agree, in case they are shortlisted, to the Emirates Literature Foundation’s use of their name and photograph in relation to related publicity material and activities.
- Schools should be aware that they need to have parental consent for use of student images in any material submitted.
- By entering for this award, nominators are deemed to have the agreement of the nominated librarian and the head teacher of the school to submit the entry and their approval on the content.
- By entering for this award, nominees are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions and to agree to be bound by them.
- Judging decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into with regard to these decisions.
For further details, please click here to read the frequently asked questions.
Frequently asked questions
What are the award categories?
The School Librarian of the Year Award is awarded in two categories:
- Public schools: for school librarians working in public (government) schools in the UAE
- Private schools: for school librarians working in private schools in the UAE
Entries will be judged against other entries in the same category.
Entries can be submitted in Arabic or in English, however the category is defined by whether the school is public or private, regardless of the language of the entry.
What language should the nomination be submitted in?
Entries can be submitted in Arabic or in English, however the award category is defined by whether the school is public or private, regardless of the language of the entry or of the language(s) supported in the school library.
What type of information should be included in the nomination entry?
The nomination entry consists of the response to the three questions in the entry form as well as three photos of the library. The entry should include as much information as possible to answer the questions fully and describe the award nominee and services implemented.
All instructions should be followed carefully.
Statements should generally be supported with corroborating details, such as measurable impact on learning, reading habits and student engagement; descriptions of specific creative projects; innovative use of resources; collaboration in the school and wider community; library promotion and so on.
Personal comments and testimonials can also be included in the answers.
- Bear in mind that the shortlist is determined on the basis of the written submission plus photos.
- Make sure the librarian reads and approves the submission before it is sent in.
- Make sure submissions are complete, clear and concise.
- Make sure that each point in the submission shows what an amazing difference the librarian makes at their school and is directly relevant to how the nominee executes their core mission as a librarian and to the specific question being answered.
- Select photos of library events in action, of enthusiastic students and attractive displays.
- Share examples of the librarian’s enthusiasm and their passion to see children reading for pleasure, as well as serving the needs of the curriculum, within the boundaries of budget and management of the school.
- Demonstrate how the library offers a safe and welcoming learning environment, and show evidence of involvement by the children/students – displays, book reviews, suggestions for book purchases being taken into account.
- Describe the librarian’s knowledge of children’s literature, their awareness of the school curriculum, and how they work closely with colleagues to deliver a positive experience for all.
- Show how the librarian makes every attempt to work with school management and to gain their support for initiatives.
- Explain how the library is inclusive, offering materials for all students including those who require learning support.
- Highlight engagement with others in the community – volunteers (including parents), school support staff and involvement in literature-related events (including Emirates Literature Foundation), especially promotion of the children’s and school events and competitions.
- Let us know how technology is considered – is there a balance between traditional forms of reading and information-finding as well as embracing new ideas and technologies? Librarians should always be keen to innovate wisely to motivate readers.
- Write and save the submission in a separate file and then paste it into the nomination form.
- Include contact information in the answers to the nomination questions. Contact information should only be entered in the relevant fields on the form.
- Include details not directly relevant to the submission, such as the librarian’s age, nationality, address, social media tags, list of job positions, courses attended, etc.
- Mention degrees/certifications/awards unless you can succinctly describe how they contribute to helping you excel as a librarian.
May I submit additional documents to support the nomination via email?
All required information must be submitted via the online entry form. Nominations will be judged solely on the contents of the online entry form and any material sent by email will be excluded.
Will multiple nominations increase a librarian’s chances of winning?
Multiple nominations are not allowed. Only one nomination will be accepted per librarian and once submitted, nominations may not be updated. Only the first nomination received for a librarian will be considered, so please make sure it includes all relevant information.
How are the results announced?
In December, the names of all nominees for the School Librarian of the Year Award are published on the website and the list of finalists in each category are also announced.
Finalists are notified directly as well by email.
The winners are announced and the awards presented during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in February.
All nominees and their head teachers are invited to attend the awards ceremony which includes lunch and a panel discussion.
How are the prizes organised?
The first and second-place winners must give their preferred dates for their visit and the details of their three companions by 10 March 2020. The itinerary will be arranged by the Emirates Literature Foundation. The trip must be taken by 8 September 2020.
Please complete all sections of the nomination form below:
To complete the nomination form in Arabic, please click here.
What our attendees from previous years said
“I am indeed proud to be a resident of this glorious nation and its kind and benevolent Rulers who set new examples of excellence with every passing day. From them I draw my inspiration. Thank you once again for bestowing me with this momentous honour. I promise to work with dedication and the single minded aim to promote the love for books amongst all.”
Veronika Lambova, 1st Place Winner, Private Schools, 2018
“The main lesson I teach is that reading is free and that a book could be a friend whenever and wherever you go.”
Sameh Farouk, 1st Place Winner, Public Schools, 2018
“All librarians adore their jobs and they’re not particularly highly paid and they aren’t generally in the limelight. So it’s very special that in this beautiful building, we have had this ceremony where everybody shows just how grateful we are for all their hard work and enthusiasm.”
Shaikha Al Muhairi, Judge
“It is so wonderful that you are able to host this contest each year. It is a great opportunity for us librarians… Being a fighter, I will continue to work and create future readers.”
Ofelia Gulerez, Finalist, 2018
“Librarians are often overlooked and underfunded as was made clear last night. It was delightful to hear such approbation for school librarians.”
Judith Bonner, Nominee
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