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Librarian at Addey & Stanhope School awarded School Librarian of the Year

Kristabelle Williams of Addey & Stanhope School, has been awarded the honour of School Librarian of the Year 2020/21 by the School Library Association (SLA).

A Manga Club, book “tasting menus” and Books Up (a mash-up of the games Taboo and HeadsUp) are just a few of the strategies Kristabelle has invented to build a thriving reading culture.  She is the only member of staff in the Learning Resource Centre at Addey & Stanhope, a 300-year-old co-educational school for Years 7 to 11 in Deptford.

Kristabelle impressed the panel with her “unremitting and consistent focus on ensuring the best futures for her students, making reading, researching and library use the norm”.

The judges’ award citation on the SLA website added: “Kristabelle has been instrumental in celebrating how reading for pleasure and mental health/wellbeing are intertwined, never stopping adapting and innovating to engage and encourage students.”

The library service not only survived but thrived during the pandemic as Kristabelle included books in lockdown care packages for families, delivered weekly live lessons remotely and supported students in all year groups with remote learning and reading.

Jan Shapiro, Headteacher of Addey & Stanhope, said:

“The entire Addey’s family are absolutely thrilled that Kristabelle has received this honour.  We are incredibly proud of our Librarian who ensures that each and every student and family has access to a thriving school library.  Kristabelle promotes a reading culture for all, without exception.

“This culture has thrived during the pandemic due to her creativity and a determination to keep reading alive and relevant for all our children.  Kristabelle’s work has a hugely significant impact on the well-being of our students and this award is well-deserved.  We could not be prouder.”

Councillor Chris Barnham, Lewisham Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“As a child, my local library was so important to me and my family. I know the value of a skilled and dedicated librarian in opening doors to learning for young minds. So I am really pleased for Kristabelle and Addey & Stanhope in winning this award.  Reading for Pleasure is an important life skill to develop in children and young people, and the benefits are clear to see with proven links to higher attainment. 

Reading also has many emotional benefits and can improve wellbeing, so I am not surprised Kristabelle has been commended for her hard work in keeping the reading culture going at Addey & Stanhope during this difficult time.”

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