The General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai and Emirates Literature Foundation Announce the Winners of the First School Librarian of the Year Award

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06-03-2017

Dubai, 6 March, 2017: The General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai and Emirates Literature Foundation awarded the 10 winners of the School Librarian of the Year Award for their transformative work in encouraging students to read, develop their creativity and enhance the importance of reading in the schools of the UAE.

The ceremony was held at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City alongside the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and in attendance were Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Vice Chairman, Emirates Literature Foundation and His Excellency Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General at Dubai Culture. The prizes were presented by His Excellency Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani – Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai and UK President of the School Library Association and author Kevin Crossley-Holland.

Winners

International School Librarian – Winners
  1. Sheila Seiler
GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi
  1. Michelle Plant
JESS Arabian Ranches Secondary
  1. Vikki Gilzean
Rashid School for Boys
  1. Emma Fisher
JESS Jumeirah
Highly Commended: Kate Riddle Deira International School (Primary)

Prizes

  • First Place: Trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter for four people, to include flights, accommodation and entry to the studio tour; visit to the British library; visit to a school library in UK; an item of library furniture; voucher for AED 2000 for library books
  • Second Place: Visit to Legoland Dubai for four people including two nights’ accommodation at a Dubai hotel and voucher for AED 1500 for library books
  • Third place: voucher for AED 1500 for library books
  • Fourth place: voucher for AED 1000 for library books
  • Highly Commended: voucher for AED 500 library books

All four winners, plus the highly commended librarian in each language, were also awarded registration to the 3-day Sharjah International Book Fair/ American Libraries Association conference in November 2017.

Recognising and Honouring Persons of Merit

HE Abdullah Al Shaibani delivered a speech at the beginning of the ceremony; he said: ‘Today is a very special day! We meet to express our gratitude to some persons who have been, until recently, unknown soldiers. Working silently with passion and humbleness to give their best for our children in school classrooms and outside the classrooms and also reassure that we will never use the term ‘unknown soldiers’ about them after today.

‘We have a bright exemplary leader who is always keen to acknowledge the merit of those who deserve it and honour them wherever they are, whatever their contributions are.’

He also added: ‘No one would question the importance of reading culture on student’s achievements, and on building a positive, balanced and effective personality. Yet few of us realize what the librarian’s efforts provide to our generations.

‘School libraries are ideal ‘sanctuaries’ for children to start wonderful journeys between and through the pages of the books that nurture their lives and imagination equally. Librarians are enhancing that positive spirit, and are leaders who encourage consideration and commitment. Those who open the magic gate that we passed through one day have not returned yet!

Shaibani concluded by congratulating the winners: ‘I congratulate the winners today. For us, all of you are winners from the moment a student, a father, a mother, or a colleague nominated you. That is the moment that should be unforgettable, because it expresses our sincere gratitude.

‘Congratulations to all of you.’

Librarians are the Key to the Success of Writers

A delighted Abulhoul, said, ‘This award ceremony has been a most extraordinary experience. The enthusiasm of the nominees and the spirit of camaraderie here today at the prize giving is extremely heartening. We should never underestimate the importance of libraries, and especially librarians, as they have been key to the success of many of our favourite writers. As we in the UAE look to build and develop a love of literature and reading, we must look for more ways to support the arts. This award is just the first step to recognising the daily efforts of many who love books and share that message with all those around them. We wish all the winners the best and hope the rest of the shortlisted and nominated librarians continue their exceptional work and enter the competition again next year.’

100 Nominees for School Librarian of the Year Award

The award ceremony follows the judging of the 100 school librarians whose nominations were announced last February. Out of these, 14 were shortlisted for the final round of judging by Fahad al Mamari, Director of Public Libraries Department, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority Shaikha Al Mehairi, Cultural Research Centre Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture and Ahmed Al Hashemi, Government Communication, The Executive Council of Dubai, and chairperson Yvette Judge, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Literature Foundation. The eventual winners were chosen for their influential and creative efforts in inculcating a love of reading among students in their schools.

Panel Discussion

The ceremony followed an insightful panel discussion on the importance of school librarians with Crossley-Holland, UK President of the School Library Association and author, Fahad al Mamari, Director of Public Libraries Department, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Shaikha Al Mehairi, Cultural Research Centre Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture. They discussed the impact of libraries and librarians to enrich the knowledge of people and to spread the culture and promotion of reading.

The Festival continues till 11 March with more sessions, panels and workshops for all age groups.

Ticket prices for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature start at AED 40 and many children’s events and activities are available free of charge. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website (tickets.emirateslitfest.com) or via the ELF Dubai app, available on the iOS and Google Play app stores and at Magrudy’s outlets around the UAE. Become a Foundation Friend and enjoy benefits throughout the year, including priority booking on Festival tickets, as well as exclusive discounts at selected Emirates Literature Foundation events and workshops and retail outlets in the UAE.

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

ENDS