Meet The Judges

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Judges 2016

Sioned Jacques

Chair of Judges 2016

I have been working in libraries for twenty years, starting with a voluntary post at my school library. After completing a degree in Information and Library Studies and Education at Aberystwyth University I became an Assistant Librarian at North East Wales Schools Library Service. The post provided me with the opportunity to develop my love and knowledge of children's literature and become involved with Youth Libraries Group.

I recently started a new job as Children's and Welsh Librarian at Cardiff Central Library Hub. My role includes managing the children's and young adult department and developing readers of the future through school visits, displays, stock selection and recommendations.

Apart from being lucky enough to be now doing the ideal job (for me anyway!) a highlight of my career was representing Wales as judge in 2010 and 2011.

I have always been a reader and when I look back at the books I read and enjoyed Carnegie and Kate Greenaway winners are prominent so to be Chair is an honour and I look forward to working with the judges to hopefully choose winners that will also be enjoyed.

Ellen Krajewski

YLG Eastern

I started working in Libraries 15 years ago as a Saturday Assistant in a local college. After three years I moved to a secondary school as a Library Assistant and embarked on a distance learning degree in Library and Information Studies with Aberystwyth University, graduating in July 2011. I have been in my current post as Librarian at The Hemel Hempstead School in Hertfordshire for nine years and have run a successful Carnegie Shadowing Group, which is growing all the time, for the last eight years.

I have always been an avid reader and love discussing books with my students. It’s a wonderful feeling to see children “fired up” and enthusiastic about books, especially books that I have recommended to them.

Tracey Frohawk

YLG East Midlands

I have worked in school libraries since 2001 and enjoy it immensely. The highlight of my career was winning the Best School Library in Northamptonshire 2010/2011 as my hard work and dedication had been recognised and appreciated by our local School Library Service – Learning Resources for Education; who ran the initiative.

I have also been a judge on Chris Evan’s Radio 2 500 Word Competition for the past 3 years and have been selected to be a World Book Night Giver twice. My choices were The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher.

I like to think of myself as a bit quirky and passionate about inspiring students to read, I have been fortunate enough to invite Stormtroopers to an event in my school Libary and have also been lucky enough to run a ‘TopGear’ event for World Book Day; spending the day with ‘The Stig’ who was an ideal Library user – he was VERY quiet! Okay, so don’t get too excited, the students had to race a toy car around the school Library and collect ‘Stigs’ from the books……I have a feeling I may have been duped because I’m sure I didn’t get to meet the real Stig!

I have taken part in Time Travel by having a bespoke TARDIS made for me and my students and have enjoyed reading with an unusual ‘enemy – Derrick the Dalek!

I have recently changed schools and becoming a CKG Judge is so important to me. I am looking forward to representing CILIP and sharing my love and knowledge of books and authors with my new students; it really is exciting times ahead!

Matt Imrie

YLG London

I started working in Libraries as a student in 1995 running holiday activities for children young adults, I graduated from the Cape Technikon in Cape Town with a degree in Library & Information Science in 2008 and have worked mostly a Children’s Librarian since then.

In 2003 I invaded the UK and, although I started working as a reference librarian, slid sideways into working with teens and found that I enjoyed it more than ref. work. Since then I have worked in a variety of Libraries around London with Teenagers. I run the Teen Librarian website which offers book reviews & information aimed at people interested in working with young people in libraries. I am currently a School Librarian working in South East London and am involved with the YLG London Committee.

Lucy Carlton Walker

YLG North Eastern

For the last 9 years I have been lucky enough to work within learning and community engagement in the Cultural Sector. This has included roles in libraries, museums, galleries and the heritage sector. My current role as the Children & Young Person's Librarian at Stockton-on-Tees Library Service is diverse, exciting and has provided me with the fantastic opportunity of being a judge in this prestigious award. As part of my role I co-ordinate the children's and young people’s events and activities across the borough, this includes national, regional and local projects. This also includes the annual Stockton Children's Book of the Year for children aged from 9 to 11, where librarians short list 5 books and then work with local schools for children to vote for the winner as well as meeting the authors. One of my favourite parts of my role is being able to provide children and young people with the opportunity to meet authors and illustrators, to listen to their questions and see them inspired and enthused by an experience that will be become a lifelong memory. It is always an enjoyable and enlightening experience to talk to children and young people about the books they love and hate, to hear the debates they have, and explore their ideas with them.

For me reading has been a passion since I was a child; I love to escape into a book, to stay up late or miss my bus stop, as I can’t put a good book down, as I need to finish that page, chapter or the whole thing. So I can’t wait to start reading for these awards!

Jillian Connolly

YLG North West

I have been working with or in the library service for 10 years, since completing my MA in Information and Library Management in 2005. During that time my specific area of study was children engaging with the library service and particularly focused on the national Bookstart scheme. Prior to my MA, I worked in primary education and was also a children's bookseller for Waterstones. Whilst studying for both my degrees I worked as a student support worker at UCLAN and Liverpool John Moores University; assisting all types of students with their studies. For the past 6 years I have worked as the Reading and Learning Manager for Lancashire County Councils Cultural Services Department, with a special remit of working with Children and Families.

I have always been interested in children's books and have been privileged to work in roles that have allowed me to develop my skills in this area. My particular areas of interest are picture books and interpretations of fairy tales.

Tanja Jennings

YLG Northern Ireland

I have always had a passion for stories. One of my favourite books is my great-grandmother’s copy of the Arabian Nights because it smells of history and is full of strange and fantastical happenings. This has led to me working in libraries and completing an MA in English, an MSC in Econ and Library Information Studies and a PG Dip in Children’s Literature. Since 2004 I have been delighted to be the school librarian at Wellington College, Belfast sharing my love of books, organising reading promotion events and author talks, assisting students as a Reading Partnership tutor and contributing book reviews to ‘The School Librarian’, Which Book and The Book Bag. I am also the Northern Ireland Co-ordinator for the Kids’ Lit Quiz and have had the pleasure of coaching teams since 2006 with a global win in 2007.

I am honoured and thrilled to be involved with such a prestigious award as CKG. I am excited about working with the other judges and feel spoiled for choice with the wonderful range of teen fiction on the market today.

Jennifer Horan

YLG Scotland

I love books and I love libraries, and truly believe I have the best job in the world fusing the two.

I qualified as a librarian in 2011, after spending six years working as a library assistant in public libraries. My first professional post was as a school librarian, working in the sector for 2 ½ years before starting my current post as a Network Librarian. Although based in a secondary school, I enjoy much variety in my job – my typical day ranges from teaching students information skills and organising school reading groups to running a reminiscence session in the local care home and leading a Bookbug session in the local library.

Before studying librarianship, I trained as a primary school teacher and spent an incredibly humbling seven years volunteering in a children’s hospice.

When not hanging about libraries or reading copious books, I enjoy baking, singing and walking in the countryside.

I’m really excited about my first year as a Carnegie judge.

Elizabeth McDonald

YLG South East

I work for Wokingham Borough Libraries, where I am a Reader Development Officer for Young People and Families. I work with all age ranges across 10 libraries including; organising and running rhymetimes and storytimes for the under 5’s, leading school visits with primary school children, organising author visits with schools, chatterbooks reading groups, teen reading and writing groups, workshops with parents and more. Being creative and inventive with books and sharing stories is at the heart of all of this and knowing what authors, series and genres to read and recommend to children and adults alike is essential.

In 2007 I joined the committee for the South East branch of YLG, undertaking the roles of secretary, vice-chair, chair and now CKG Judge. It has been an inspirational experience to be on this committee.  I have provided training courses on relevant topics and organised the south east Carnegie and Kate Greenaway training days for other South East based libraries. 

My passion is for promoting and experiencing the magic of children’s literature, which I have been doing for the past 10 years. It’s fantastic to have had the opportunity to meet so many enthusiastic authors, illustrators, publishers and librarians who, through their creativity, bring the joy of reading and stories to children.  A love of stories has always been a huge part of my life and I am privileged to read books as part of my job. Having an excuse to read even more books can never be a bad thing!

I am looking forward to my second year as Carnegie Kate Greenaway Judge.

Jan Foss

YLG South West

After spending 10 rather unrewarding years working in Guernsey’s finance industry, a tour of the local public library in 2002 changed my life. I was the only person on the tour and ended up chatting to the Chief Librarian about a career in Librarianship. Three months later I started in the Schools’ Library Service as a Liaison Officer, working as a trainee peripatetic librarian in Guernsey’s schools. I also began a distance learning Masters degree in Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University which I completed in 2006. In August 2005 I became the Children’s Librarian at the Guille-Allès Public Library, and have been there ever since. I honestly cannot think of a job I would rather do (apart from professional tennis player, a dream I gave up on around the age of 10). Talking to children and young people about books, encouraging them to try something new, hearing them say ‘Yessss’ when they find the book they are looking for, all contribute to a very rich, rewarding career. Being a Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judge is really the icing on the cake; a huge honour and something I have wanted to do for some time.

Martha Lee

YLG Wales

I’ve loved reading, books and libraries since I was a child. My mother, who is also a librarian (I guess it must run in the family!), inspired me to read widely and was influential in turning me into a devoted reader. Some of my best memories are of tagging along to author events in the library with my sisters and seeing some of my favourite authors talk at the Hay Festival and on some occasions actually meeting them – star struck! I can remember vividly when she brought me home Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; I was 10 years old and I think it actually changed my life, as an adult they are still some of my favourite books.

I’ve worked in libraries for over 10 years, starting when I was 16 years old as a supply assistant during the school holidays. I went onto University where I studied History of Art, which was incredibly interesting but not an area I wanted to pursue as a career. I came back to libraries after I graduated in 2010 and realised this was where I belonged. I began an MSc in Library and Information Studies via distance learning at Aberystwyth University which I’ve recently completed, luckily just in time to start reading for the awards! I’ve been working as a Community Librarian for the past year so I’m pretty new to the profession. I joined YLG after chatting to one of my colleagues who is on the committee, she made it sound so interesting; the perfect way to develop professionally and also build on my interest in children’s and young adult literature. After attending YLG meetings where Kara (a previous judge and committee member) was talking about her experiences I knew that I had to do it, the whole process sounded like such an adventure in reading. I can’t describe just how excited and privileged I feel to be a member of the CILIP Carnegie/Greenaway panel of judges this year and I can’t wait to get started.

Isobel Powell

YLG West Midlands

After qualifying I originally worked for the NHS as a librarian, specifically with training medical staff in using research databases and evaluating evidence to inform best practice. I then moved to a secondary school as the Library Manager where I set up a new library and created many reading initiatives including their first CKG shadowing group and an after school reading club. Next I became the Advisory Librarian with Coventry SLS and began working mainly with Primary Schools. I stayed in this role for many years and was involved in the creation of the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards, the evolution of the Year 6 library Quiz and the running of the West Midlands heat and 2 UK Finals of the Kid’s Lit Quiz. In this role I was heavily involved in many reading promotion activities, including author events, Book Bouts and the Literally Coventry Book Festival. I am now the Manager of Coventry SLS and my work in giving the children of Coventry many opportunities to enjoy reading continues. I have been a children’s librarian for 13 years and I love children’s literature and read constantly! I use this book knowledge to recommend books to schools and run a termly reading update service for both our Primary and Secondary schools. I co-wrote a new version of Riveting Reads for age 9-13 (published July 2013) and I am a book reviewer for the School Librarian.

Tracey Acum

YLG Yorkshire & Humber

I have worked for Hull Libraries for 13 years now, before that working in a local Sixth Form College for 10 years. My work covers from cradle to grave, but I specialise in working with children. Until recently I co-ordinated the Bookstart provision in the city. I am also one of the organisers of the James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Awards which is very rewarding and stands me in good stead for this process within CKG. I am looking forward to working with the other judges from around the country and discussing the wealth of exciting children’s literature that is currently being published.