Booking a place at librarian Oscars

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 May, 2007, 12:00am

The librarian from a local international school has been shortlisted for a British award for the best in her profession.

Amanda Gough, librarian at Kellet School in Pok Fu Lam, is the first teacher from outside the British Isles to be given a shot at winning the School Librarian of the Year award.

Ms Gough said she was overjoyed about being one of six librarians on the honours list. 'It's a bit like the Oscars for librarians,' she said. 'The children keep saying to me, 'You're the best librarian in the world.''

She is also the only primary school librarian on this year's honours list.

The award is organised by the School Library Association, which covers schools in both Britain and Ireland, and was launched in 2004 as a means to celebrate best practice and to encourage higher standards in the profession.

'Librarians are sometimes the unsung heroes in schools, so I think it is a great idea to have this award,' Ms Gough said. 'For me, it is important because it means I have earned the respect of my peers.'

Ms Gough said recommending the right books to students was a key aspect of her job at Kellet School, a British-styled international primary school in Wah Fu estate where she has worked for the past three years.

'Finding out their interests is always useful,' she said. 'If a student is a member of the chess club or likes sports then they will enjoy reading books about that. Because this is a primary school, the children do talk with me a lot.'

A team of British judges visited the school earlier in the year.

'They talked to everyone - the principal, the deputy principal, the teacher who nominated me and the school's literary co-ordinator,' she said. 'They also talked to the children and sat in on some of my lessons. They loved our children. Children from Kellet are always such good ambassadors for the school.'

Ms Gough said she disagreed with the general perception that in this age of iPods and internet, children were no longer captivated by books.

'My biggest achievement has been getting lots of children interested in reading,' she said. Events like the 'Battle of the Books' - where students pitted their favourite works against their classmates' choices - had been most effective at whipping up students' enthusiasm.

'They like getting hooked on a series of novels,' Ms Gough said. 'But then it is always difficult when they read the last novel in the series, especially when it is by an author who is no longer with us.'

The overall winner of the award will be announced on May 16.