Want a good book for the zombie apocalypse? Ask an award-winning school librarian

One librarian invited pupils to attend a zombie apocalypse. Another hosted a dinner party with Mr Darcy. A third has her own double-decker bus.

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These are the librarians who have been honoured by this year’s School Librarian of the Year award.

The awards shortlist recognises five librarians who, according to the School Library Association, “have made a huge difference to the lives of the students and people they work with, igniting a passion for reading, setting students on a learning journey, teaching them essential skills”.

Among those shortlisted is Amy McKay, librarian at Corby Business Academy in Northamptonshire, who has hosted barbecues, sleepovers and staff-pupil battles of the books, in an effort to introduce teenagers to different types of literature. Her library has also been the location of a Comic-Con event and a – presumably fixed-term – zombie apocalypse.

Meanwhile, Rachel Knight, librarian at independent Sherborne Girls’ School in Dorset, hosted a dinner party with Mr Darcy – or a version thereof – as well as putting on a white coat and stethoscope in order to serve as the school "book doctor".

'You're fired...up about reading'

The other honoured librarians include Sophie Chalmers, whose library at Southbrook School in Devon is housed in a double-decker bus. Ms Chalmers has also established a reading-buddy scheme, linking her own special school with the local mainstream secondary.

Alison Tarrant was involved in the library at Cambourne Village College in Cambridgeshire from its inception: her first visit was in a hard hat and high-visibility jacket.

And Lauren Thow complements her work in the library at Portobello High School in Edinburgh with research lessons for pupils, in which she occasionally dresses as Sir Alan Sugar. She has also established a Portobello High literature festival.

The judging panel visited a number of school libraries, before drawing up its honours list. The librarians’ work will be celebrated at a ceremony in London on 3 October, when the overall winner will also be announced.

Nominations for School Librarian of the Year 2017 will open in early September this year. Nomination forms are be available here.

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