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.