Once Upon a Time…

Tricia Adams

This is where every story starts so please, let me introduce myself.  I am a librarian, Tricia Adams, and have been lucky enough to have been one for my whole career – though the jobs I have had are like chalk and cheese in many respects!  Having said that, my passion has always been to get people reading and I am often to be seen recommending books, arriving with parcels of books – on loan of course – for sick friends and relatives, and giving books to any children who come into my sphere!  And, then there’s the day job, which is all about supporting people who work in school libraries through the School Library Association – of which I am the Director.  School libraries are a key enabler in helping kids find the books they need and, working in partnership with public libraries, provide the lifeblood of our reading future.

This is why I am so honoured, and just plain thrilled, to be chairing the judging panel in this important anniversary year for the Carnegie and Greenaway Awards.  The fantastic involvement of both school and public libraries in shadowing the awards is so important in involving students in reading, not only in reading for pleasure, but also in placing the very best texts in front of students and encouraging them, perhaps to stretch themselves, to read something they may never have otherwise picked up – and possibly, just possibly, discover a whole new passion!  I do hope so.

I had the pleasure of being Chair of Judges back in 2008, we had a fantastic year, I am looking forward to an even greater year this year!  The judges have already committed an enormous amount of work and effort to their reading – this year we have had the most nominations in the history of either award – 114 Carnegie and 93 Greenaway.  They have worked, and continue to work really hard to produce a Longlist, with the then unenviable task of judging these titles again, to create the Shortlist (published 16th March).  The judges make up a team who fight hard for the books they think deserve to gain the high distinction of being on the Longlist and Shortlist – and every book has had its time in the spotlight.  The quality of nominations was such this year that it was an incredibly hard process to arrive at the Longlist.

The celebrations this year do mean that shadowing will have even more resources available for groups.  There are already historical review pieces on the website that might create jumping off points for discussion.  My Vice Chair Jake Hope is creating a wonderful anniversary blog covering all the winners over the year.  The packs for the Shadowing Groups will have additional anniversary, celebratory materials included in them – and no, I’m not going to tell you what they include, that would spoil the surprise! Make sure your group is registered to Shadow and join in all the fun. Keep watching the website – and I know I shall be looking out to see which books shadowers find the most involving.

Keep reading and discussing – talking about books is almost as important as reading them!

Tricia Adams, Director – School Library Association, Chair – Youth Libraries Group & Chair – Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Award

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