The winners of the School Librarian of the Year Awards 2021 were announced today at a special awards ceremony.  In association with the Executive Council of Dubai, the prestigious accolades were presented by Emirates Literature Foundation to recognise the individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to promoting reading for pleasure among students over the past 18 months. Distance learning, in-school safety measures, have made this the most challenging year since the launch of the awards, and judges were particularly impressed with the nominees efforts to raise academic and literacy standards within the restrictions.

Shumous Majid Bin Faris, Strategic Development Advisor at the General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai, said: “These librarians have played an essential role in promoting literacy amongst students, and enriching their knowledge and education, and they have all gone the extra mile during these challenging circumstances  to reinforce education standards and enable students through knowledge.”

“School librarians are in a unique position to influence children to read books for pleasure, and we know this is one of the most important gifts we can give the next generation. Reading for pleasure enhances their literacy, their comprehension of the world, and enhances their critical thinking skills,” said Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. “It is important not only for their education, but also for the huge lifelong wellbeing benefits it can bring. Every year I am impressed by the school librarians who enter, but never more so than this year. In the face of insurmountable and severely limiting circumstances brought on by the pandemic, these individuals  have made heroic efforts to bring the joy and solace of books to the children in their schools.”    

Exceptional evaluation

Nominations were received from schools across the seven Emirates and assessed by a panel of judges. For the first time this year, judges visited the shortlisted librarians virtually ahead of the final decision, in line with the Covid safety guidelines. The award was judged in two categories– school librarians from UAE public schools and school librarians from UAE private schools.

The winners are:

Private schools

1st            Sonia   Alnahawi, Aspen Heights British School (Abu Dhabi)

2nd          Teejay Button, Raha International School (Abu Dhabi)

3rd           Jessica Scherneck, German International School (Dubai)

Public schools

1st           Hend Al Ateeqi, Madinat Khalifa A School (Abu Dhabi)

2nd                Ekramy Ahmad Sayed, Secondary Model School (Sharjah)

3rd                 Afra Al Yammahi, Al Dhait School - Cycle 1 (Ras Al Khaimah)

Special recognition:         Jericho Diano, Summit International Schools (Abu Dhabi)

Source: Four Communications

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