AN INNOVATING secondary school librarian has encouraged people to get nominating for this year's Education Awards.

Helen Ward, the librarian at Cranbourne, then Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College, was the recipient of the first ever Innovation Award last year.

Helen was nominated last year for her work in the library, making the facility feel like a place that students felt welcomed and relaxed. This was in addition to the fundraising that Helen had done, and her enthusiasm for getting children to read.

Looking back on the evening, Helen said: "It was massively nerve-wracking.

"I knew I was nominated for two awards and I didn't know I was shortlisted.

"I was stunned and thrilled to have won, I never had a similar experience, I felt like I was being rewarded for doing a job that I love."

Helen looks to social media to find ideas that inspire the creative spark, with newer ideas including adding small prizes for a certain amount of reading, and using a scratch card-based system for dishing out rewards.

The prizes are hidden behind small pieces of material which are scratched away by the lucky pupil.

Helen added: "I'm willing to try anything to get books in hands. One of the recent rewards is a hot chocolate morning that the pupils can take part in during the school day."

Since the awards ceremony, Helen definitely has not been sitting still.

In fact, her workload has tripled, as in conjunction with her duties at the school's library, Helen has become the school's income generation manager and careers leader.

In her capacity as the income generation manager, Helen is looking after the development of the site's swimming pool, which was announced earlier this year.

Also, the new role as careers leader has been an enjoyable one as Helen helps pupils decide on their next step.

Helen added: "Now that I have started in my new roles, I love them.

"There has been success in getting grants which has led to getting money for a defibrillator, as well as outdoor projects.

"I'm really enjoying the careers side of the job, I love it. While a lot of the younger students enjoy the library, they can drift off as they move into the upper years.

"With the careers side of the case, I get to see them again and help them on the right path.

"There can be so much information available, and I encourage them to ask questions."

Helen said: "I will definitely be nominating this year, just being nominated is special, and I feel such pride for my colleagues."

Nominations are open until May 23, and can be made via our on-line form. To nominate school staff for any of the awards, go to