Derek France takes home the Secondary School Librarian Award at the SLA (School Library Association) Awards 2022.

Derek France, School Librarian at Preston Lodge High School, was judged the winner of the Secondary School Librarian Award at the SLA (School Library Association) Awards 2022.

The awards recognise the country’s best school library workers, their achievements, and their work to create and drive incredibly positive contributions to learning. According to a poll of SLA members, over 3 million books were lent to pupils over the last year alone, an average of 18 books per pupil. These annual awards recognise, celebrate and promote the vital role school libraries play within their communities. Considered the most influential accolade in the industry, the annual awards are open to all state, academy and private schools. They are designed to identify and celebrate examples of best practice across the UK.

The panels of judges, comprised of SLA trustees, authors, educational leaders and former SLA award winners, evaluated the entries based on each school’s needs, potential and commitment to supporting education standards.

Judges of the ‘School Librarian of the Year’ award in the ‘Secondary School’ category presented the trophy to Derek because of his engagement with his school’s different departments; bringing the library into the heart of the school. Derek runs fun and engaging research lessons tailored to what each class and teacher needs. The library feels like part of the life of the school.

Preston Lodge High School Headteacher, Gavin Clark said: “Derek has energised a love for literature through many clubs. He empowers the students to start their own clubs including the new feminism club in the library which was proposed by a group of students. He has also organised many online author visits. A science teacher commented that this is the first school where he has taken advantage of the library, not because of the space but because of the librarian.”

 “I’m a bit speechless," said Derek. "It’s so unexpected, delightful and wonderful. The community here is amazing and it’s wonderful to be recognised for the work we do. I just want to say how important it is and let’s keep doing it!

“The Pupil Librarians will be delighted. They have contributed so much to this, and I foresee a library party happening very soon!"

Derek has been at Preston Lodge High School since January 2019 but has been with the East Lothian Library Service for more than seven years including working at Library HQ Digital and Adult Team and at Tranent Library.

Published: Thursday, 27th October 2022