Monday, May 14, 2007

The Carnegie Greenaway Medal Book Award

After being a school librarian for almost 8 years I can honestly and truly say that shadowing the Carnegie Medal Book Award has been worth its weight in gold.

The Carnegie and Greenaway book awards were established by The Library Association in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). Carnegie was a self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA. His experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that "if ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries."

Carnegie set up more than 2800 libraries across the English speaking world and, by the time of his death, over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries. It was first awarded to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post. The medal is now awarded by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, which is a new organisation formed by the Unification of the Institute of Information Scientists and The Library Association on 1 April 2002.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book, in terms of illustration for children and young people. The medals are awarded annually to the writers and illustrators of the outstanding books for children. The winner of the awards receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice.

Three years ago I became fascinated with the idea of shadowing one of these book awards and decided to find out more about them. From other librarians I learnt that the Carnegie award is aimed at older children and the Greenaway award is aimed at primary school age children. I also learnt that children can benefit so much from following and participating in with this nationwide book award.

Eager to set to I quickly put together a small team of budding and avid readers in school. It was a very exciting time for us although I did feel quite apprehensive about it and wondered if I could actually fit this in with my already busy work schedule.

After the first meeting with the children I soon realised that it was going to be just fine and that the children were gong to gain so much from this including myself too. The children had turned up eager and excited which gave me the determination to get things going.

I managed to download lots of information from the website and put together a pack for each member. The pack included details of the books that we were going to read over a set period of time, activities that we hoped to do, free bookmarks and review sheets. Armed with all of these resources I felt in control and ready to embark on something that had always terrified me, and something that I thought I could never achieve.

How wrong I was! Now three years on I have just recently launched my new group in my new school. The excitement is still there and I am sure the children pick up on this from me. The discussions are lively and interesting and it’s so good to watch the children form their own opinions about the short listed books. Debates and book reviews are much part of our meetings now creating a wonderful learning environment.

I would recommend shadowing the book award to any new school librarian.

In 2007 the CILIP Carnegie Medal celebrates its 70th Anniversary and the CILIP Kate Greenaway its 50th. Many celebrations will be taking place making the awards even more exciting that what they already are.

Valerie Dewhurst (Member No: 7779)

Use the title link if you want to find out more - Ed

Friday, May 04, 2007


Reading back through that previous article. I can just hear the cynics shouting it down.

I remember once going for a job interview. It was for a promotion if I remember correctly within the company I was already working for. As a result I was a lot more relaxed about the whole thing... My life, my home, food for the children's belly's, and the dreaded bills didn't depend upon my success. It meant I was able to say what i really thought about this whole 'doing a job of work' thing.

In that case it was project management. I was asked what I would do if there was a huge crisis, how would I deal with the situation, how would I resolve the problem... well something like that anyway. I remember saying that there was no such thing as a real big problem that hadn't come about because of a lack of far far smaller actions dealing with far far smaller issues. That life didn't just happen in large 'chunks' so to speak, that it happens in tiny things, tiny shifts of emphasis, tiny actions and reactions. Consider that huge chunk of ice that falls away from the Arctic Ice shelf and wonder about all those tiny decaying ice crystals: At exactly which point does the ice straw break the ice camels back?

Anyway back to reality for the finale: That's how I see my 'job' (if you must call it that!)... "small moves Ellie, small moves"


Thursday, May 03, 2007

What a Lady!

That Emily Pankhurst quote (right) simply blew me away. What courage, what tenacity, what... well I can't say it can I. . . but she would certainly put many of us the 'other gender' to shame on that score!

So you can kill a person, you can brush them aside, avoid them but you cannot, simply cannot, brush aside an idea, a principal, well at least not one based upon the truth.

I know it may sound a strange comparison but that's how I feel about this place, the university. You see, for me at least, it isn't just an 'educational establishment' with all (or whatever little) that entails; all that education stuff and finance stuff; essential I'm sure but a little boring if you ask me. For me it is a principal, an ideal, a dream if you like, a community of learning. What a thing that is! In the coming from and going too flow of human life this place is a place to 'pause for thought', a coming together of learning minds who will one day move onward out and hopefully upward to something, not necessarily better, but something different. It may seem a little strange coming from an agnostic such as me, but I'm on a mission here. It's more than a job, much more. I refuse to do jobs any more, I'm done with them, I'm too old, too sensible for that and life's too short, far too short. I'll play my part in building this community, no matter how small the impact may be, that isn't the point. Truth is I must have, inevitably have, some impact on that.

I'm off to Egypt in the summer. It's a good cheap holiday. Check out I've not seen anything quite like it or as good at such a low cost before. Check out my article in the community News section. If you're not yet registered use the link in the BLOG header and get joined up then you can read it.

Finally, before I go off, anyone out there interested in seeing Shakespeare's Macbeth in open-air theatre!? I'm currently working on a new alumni benefit trying to get the cost down for us. I've already booked myself. Even at full-price I think its' worth it. Can't wait! Watch this and the other Hope Community spaces for more news on this really good offer (well it should be if I can 'win' the negotiations :0)