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Emirates Literature Foundation has announced that nominations are now open for the annual School Librarian of the Year Award, which recognises librarians who have made a significant impact in their schools. Winners will be announced and honoured during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2020.

In its fourth edition, the award granted by Emirates Literature Foundation and The Executive Council of Dubai, celebrates the important role that school librarians play in promoting books, literacy, knowledge, and most importantly in encouraging youth and children to read more.  The award also aims to honour librarians who made a difference to literacy in their schools and demonstrated outstanding commitment in sharing their passion for books, inspiring a new generation of readers.

Shumous Bin Faris, Coordinator of Reading Initiatives in Dubai, said: “Developing a culture that appreciates literacy,  knowledge and books is a key factor in building a culturally rich and empathetic society, which is important for the future of our nation”.

She added: “Reading elevates our understanding of the world, helps us keep an open mind and be thoughtful of the universality of the human narrative. We experience the same joys and sorrows, fight the same battles, and celebrate the same victories. Librarians are the key to nurturing the love for reading and literacy, which is why we continue to sponsor The School Librarian of the Year Award proudly. This initiative, among others, such as The National Strategy of Reading, reinforces our commitment to support and promote literacy among our youth and children”.

The 2020 School Librarian of the Year Award has two categories – school librarians working in public (government) schools in the UAE and school librarians working in private schools in the UAE.  All nominees will be registered in a one-day professional development session at the Sharjah International Book Fair/ American Libraries Association conference in November 2020.

“Developing love for reading progresses children’s education and benefits their well-being”, said Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation.  “Books don’t just entertain us through captivating stories, they also satisfy our curiosity about the world beyond our home environment, helping us to understand humanity. Through this Award, we honour those Librarians who are exceptionally skilled at imparting their love of books, and spreading the love for reading”.


More than 116 nominations were submitted from all over the UAE for the 2019 awards, recording the highest number of entries ever received. Over the previous two years, more than 175 nominations have been submitted from the UAE. Nominations can be submitted by any individual that knows the nominated librarian, including colleagues, headteachers, students, governors and parents. Self-nominations are also encouraged.

Eligibility Criteria

All schools are eligible for nominating. Nominations must be entered online in Arabic or English. Shortlisted nominees from both public and private schools will be judged on the library’s role within the school and wider community in line with the following criteria:

  • How does the library environment promote reading?
  • Does the library make the best use of the resources available to it (including the physical library collection and use of technology)?
  • What is the librarian’s, and the library’s role in raising academic and literacy standards in the school?
  • How does the librarian promote reading for pleasure?
  • What is the library’s role within the school and the wider community?


Each prize will be awarded to a librarian in a public school library and to a librarian in a private school library:

  • First Place:
    • Trip to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter for 4 people,  covering fees for flights, accommodation and entry to the studio tour.
    • A visit to the British Library; a voucher for library furniture worth AED 4000; a voucher for AED 2000 for library books.
  • Second Place: Visit to Dubai Parks and Resorts for 4 people including two nights’ accommodation at a Dubai hotel; a voucher for AED 1500 for library books
  • Third Place: Voucher for AED 1500 for library books

All three winners in each category will also be awarded registration to the Sharjah International Book Fair/ American Libraries Association conference in November 2020.

The last day for nominations is 27 October 2019. For more information and to enter the competition, visit

More information about the Emirates Literature  Foundation can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.