On the 17th of March 2017 Year 13 WCB pupil Rebecca Dunville travelled over to London with her school librarian Miss Jennings, Dr Agnew, her uncle Mr McDonald and fellow student Debi Beqiri for the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year final which was held in the prestigious location of Portcullis House, Westminster. Open to pupils who assist in school libraries across the UK, the award recognises the impact of their work on their school and its library and equally the value of the experience to the children’s lives. Entries are judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

Part of a five strong shortlist, Rebecca was championed by author Eve Ainsworth and rewarded as a finalist for her service and support to WCB Library since 2011 which has included mentoring Kids’ Lit Quiz teams, shadowing book awards and helping to administer Book Buzz, a scheme which gave every child in Year 8 a free book. She received signed artwork from the Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, a framed certificate, a letter from her MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell, signed copies of books from the twenty authors present and Goth Girl merchandise.

Barbara Band, Chair of the Judging Panel and founder of the award said “Week after week many students support the libraries in their schools by giving of their time and effort. Sadly, this is too often unrecognised and unrewarded. Yet these students are not only helping to create a lively and effective library that responds to the needs of its users, they are also gaining valuable skills and experience in the process. This award was created to recognise that work and also to highlight the unique synergy that occurs when a pupil becomes a library assistant.”

Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association said “Pupil library assistants are a valuable element in the running of school libraries – giving service to the school but also gaining skills and confidence from the work they do in the library, which ultimately feeds back into their academic achievement and their motivation.”

As a precursor to the event, drama student Rebecca visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre which she found thoroughly insightful. After the presentation, the lucky finalists were also granted a tour of the sumptuously appointed Houses of Parliament, learning fascinating facts about the design, workings and history of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.