The Maurice Saxby Award recognises service to children’s and/or young adult literature by an individual, team or organisation that has displayed excellence and passion in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW. The 2021 recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales Maurice Saxby Award is Tamara Reads.
Tamara is currently the NSW Premier's Programs Officer, Reading and Spelling. In her tenure as NSW Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC) Officer, she developed a range of resources to support student engagement in reading as part of this prestigious program and in 2018 launched the PRC student site to provide an improved interface for students to search for books as part of their PRC experience. Tamara’s passion for connecting young people with reading materials saw her create the PRC Student Advisory Committee to promote leadership opportunities for the students involved, further empowering these young readers and often, budding writers. The inclusion of student interviewers for the PRC Author and Illustrator Digital Showcase, is one example of Tamara’s excellence on display in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW.
As part of the Sydney Writer's Festival in 2019 and 2021, Tamara had a profound impact on students' passion for reading and writing young adult fiction. Student librarians from a public high school were invited to interview the authors presenting at the Primary and Secondary school days of the festival. This experience led to students recounting their experiences in their own school and on Instagram to inspire their peers to participate in the PRC.
There has also been significant growth and expanded reach in Tamara’s promotion of reading via the social media platforms she administers for the PRC and for teacher librarians in NSW via NSW School Libraries Matters.
Tamara’s efforts align with the objectives of the School Library Association of NSW and its members congratulate Tamara on the receipt of this award.
This award will be presented at Representation Matters: Embracing diversity and inclusion Professional Learning Summit on March 19th, 2022.