Eastern 2024 Judge
As a child, I was lucky to have both a mum who read to me at every opportunity, and a thriving local library, with Librarians who created space for both reading and a practical hub at the heart of our community. These ‘gifts’ would become central to my own emerging reading identity. At the age of thirteen, back in the days of ‘card indexes’, when few ‘young adult’ books were published, and those reflective of my diverse Manchester community were even more scarce, I became a regular volunteer, and wore my ‘Librarian’ pin badge with pride!
I began my working life as a qualified Social Worker with young adults, and despite the difference in roles, there were times where the ‘school librarian purpose’ of ‘getting the right book, into the right child’s hand, at the right time’, was a positive support I could offer.
In returning to children’s literature with my own young family, I rediscovered the joys of ‘connection’ found in shared reading experiences, and in 2016 changed career paths to become a High School Librarian. I’m passionate about engaging young people in reading for pleasure, continually working to broaden my knowledge, and ensure inclusive representation in the materials I curate and promote with students. Organising our annual KS3 Carnegie Shadowing Groups was a powerful and dynamic part of this process, through which I observed how access to ‘outstanding’ literature, within a shared reading environment, strengthened both young people’s social connections and empathy development.
In 2021, I moved to New Hall School in Chelmsford as Preparatory Librarian, and now work to support younger children as they start their reading journeys. It is a huge honour to be appointed as the Eastern Region Judge for the 2023-24 Medals cycle.