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The winners of the School Librarian of the Year Awards 2020 were announced at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which will run until February 9th.  In association with The Executive Council of Dubai, the prestigious awards were presented by Emirates Literature Foundation, to recognise the individuals that showed exceptional commitment to promoting reading for pleasure among students, and to raising academic and literacy standards.

Commenting on the occasion, Shumous Majid Bin Faris, Strategic Development Advisor at the General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai, said: “Librarians played an essential role in promoting literacy amongst students, and enriching their knowledge and education. This falls in-line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, that aim to reinforce education standards and enable students through knowledge.”

She added: “The Award is part of an initiative in Dubai, dedicated to elevating the community culturally and educationally by positioning literacy as a cornerstone. Consequently, our wise leadership invested heavily in school libraries and librarians to enhance students’ literacy, research skills, and innovation; fueling their imagination and curiosity”.

“Influencing children to read books for pleasure is one of the most important responsibilities there is in preparing the next generation to become well-rounded citizens,” said Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. “It is important not only for their education but also for the huge benefits it can bring to their wellbeing throughout their whole lives. School librarians can help make this happen. Igniting and nurturing  a love of  books is a priceless gift and it is wonderful that through this award those that excel can be recognised.”

More than 123 nominations were submitted from around the country. Finalists were assessed by a panel of judges. The judges visited the shortlisted librarians to make their final assessment ahead of the final decision. The award was judged in two categories– school librarians from UAE public schools and school librarians from UAE private schools. The winners were presented with their awards by Aisha Abdulla Miran, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategy, Management and Governance with the Executive Council of Dubai; Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and authors Lucy Strange and Hussain Al Mutawaa.

The winners are:

Private schools

1st:         Alan Jacques, Uptown School (Dubai)

2nd:        Caroline Lewis, RAK Academy (Ras Al Khaimah)

3rd :        Jessica Raeside, Dubai International Academy – Emirates Hills  (Dubai)

Public schools

1st:         Suhair Jalal Abdulrahman, Rawdat Al Oula  (Abu Dhabi)

2nd:        Marwa Magdy Ali Mohammed, Baya’at Al Radwan (Ghayathi, Abu Dhabi)

3rd:        Sheikha Ali Saif Bin Abed Almari, Salma Al Ansariah Primary School (Dubai)

Special recognition:         Yasser Mohammed Abdul Mutalib Ibrahim, Majd Model School (Sharjah)

The prizes for each category are:

  • First Place: Trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter for four people, to include flights, accommodation and entry to the studio tour; visit to the British Library; an item of library furniture; a voucher for AED2000 for library books
  • Second Place: Visit to Dubai Parks and Resorts for four people including two nights’ accommodation at a Dubai hotel; a voucher for AED1500 for library books
  • Third Place: Voucher for AED1500 for library books

All three winners in each category will receive registration to the three-day Sharjah International Book Fair/American Libraries Association conference in November 2020.