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BEM, who me? You have got to be joking! New challenges and more advocacy for school Libraries.

Guernsey Press release

I don't really know how to write this post or if it is the right thing to do. I pondered long and hard as I did not want it to come across as BEM, look at me! However, I have decided to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their kindness and explain how I intend to use this honour to help school libraries in the future.

At the end of last year I found out that I had been nominated and awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to libraries.

I had been visiting my children and the letter from the Cabinet Office had arrived whilst I was away. My husband and myself open each others mail as a matter of course and as such he opened this one. He could not believe what he was reading and thought it was a hoax, although by the time I arrived home he had begun to think that maybe it was real after all. He kept it secret until I got home and made me sit down and read the letter whilst he opened a bottle of champaign. It was a very special moment that I will never forget!

To say that I was shocked is an understatement. I could not believe that someone had thought that the work I was doing was worth spending so much time in order to nominate me. I work with a lot of very talented librarians both in public and school libraries and have been very lucky to have the opportunity to do a job I love. To be awarded for this seemed unbelievable!

I had to keep this news a secret for nearly 6 weeks. My husband and I talked about it a lot. Was it real? Could it be a hoax? Who had nominated me? What had I done to really deserve this?

We knew that the honours list was going to be announced at 10.30 on the 27th December and after a frantic search for my name, where I honestly believed that I was not on the list, we eventually found it. This was real! I had been awarded the BEM! How amazing was that!

It was lovely to tell my family and friends on the Saturday morning and then my social media exploded. I had many messages of congratulation and I hope I managed to reply to them all but if I didn't... Thank you!

So what does this mean for me apart from letters after my name? I will:-

  • Continue writing and talking about why school libraries are so important to our students, teachers and the wider society.

  • Use my voice to advocate for equality across schools and the need for every school to have a school library with access to a professional librarian.

  • Share my knowledge and understanding why information literacy and inquiry learning is an essential tool in education.

  • Continue to offer CPD for school library staff for my own and others learning journey.

  • Give my time to promote school libraries through #GreatSchoolLibraries campaign and CILIP SLG group.

Please join me on this journey, it is not about one voice but about all of us together. I look forward to talking and sharing ideas about school libraries with you all throughout 2020.

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