The School Library Association (SLA) Inspiration Award has been running since 2014 and has been awarded annually to the school library space that shows inspiration, innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in its library design and use.

The past two years have seen twelve schools shortlisted from across the UK (and even one in the Netherlands) with four of those schools hailed as the most inspirational.

In order to make the application and judging process as smooth as possible, allowing schools adequate time to submit entries and for longlisted schools to prepare for judges' visits, the SLA has decided to move away from an annual award.

The Inspiration Award will now take place biennially, with prizes awarded in both primary and secondary sectors. The next SLA Inspiration Award will take place in 2017. Entry is now open. Schools can nominate their library space by visiting the SLA Inspiration Award website at Entry will close Friday 10th February 2017.

An opportunity for more schools to take part

The extended entry period will give schools more time to complete their application. Judges' visits to schools that make the longlist will take place from late spring to early in the summer term with the shortlist announced late June/early July. The winners of the Inspiration Award will be announced at a library celebration day alongside the Librarian of the Year Award.

Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association, said of the changes: ‘We have seen some wonderfully inspiring libraries since the Inspiration Award started and we hope the new format provides the opportunity for even more schools to take part in future.’

The award will continue to be sponsored by Gresswell and LFC, part of the Demco Europe family of companies, who will be increasing the prize money to £750 for the winners and £200 for the runners up in each category.
Will Hinks, Managing Director of Demco Europe said: ‘We are proud to support the Inspiration Award as a way of highlighting the importance of school libraries in both the primary and secondary phase.’ He added: ‘To see libraries pupils once described as boring and unexciting transformed into spaces they now say are inviting and make them want to read more reinforces how valuable school libraries are, and we are committed to giving school libraries a platform to be celebrated.’