bsLA library awards

The Inaugural Edition


The Bandana Sen Library Awards (BSLA) envisions the library at the heart of our school communities as an enriching learning space that catalyses the development of early critical thinking skills by providing a continually evolving, dynamic and joyful environment that encourages discovery.


By honouring the work of the librarian/teacher-librarian, BSLA aims to motivate and promote the library as a space for nurturing young students’ imagination, critical thinking abilities, the development of a collaborative spirit, and the encouragement of innovation.

About Bandana Sen

Bandana Sen
(1943 - 2018)

Bandana Sen (14.09.1943 - 01.06.2018) was a pioneer in the field of children's libraries and reading programmes in India. Born and raised in Darjeeling, Ms Sen began her career at the American International School in Calcutta. She spent close to four decades managing libraries at the American Embassy School in New Delhi and then another 12 years setting up libraries at Pathways Schools across the NCR. She believed the library to be the sanctum of an educational institution, and the hub of a vibrant reading culture essential to society. During her lifetime, Ms Sen helped create world-class libraries and reading programs across the country, nurtured a love for reading in thousands of children while mentoring an entire generation of librarians to carry on her exemplary work.


  •   Two CBSE & ICSE board schools across the country
     to two Heads of Schools and their respective Librarian / Teacher-Librarian;
     for excellence in best practices in nurturing learning environments;
     A cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 will be made payable to the awardee schools along with a trophy for the use of the winning librarian/library teacher.

  •   One Community Library in the National Capital Region (NCR); for nurturing their community library spaces

  •   The BSL Awards will comprise of
     Two  INR 50,000 cash awards for use by the winning teacher - Junior Library and Middle/Senior Library and School head, made payable to awardee’s school along with trophies.
     One INR 25,000 cash award to a community library

About the Awards:
The Bandana Sen Library Awards (BSLA) are dedicated to the memory of Ms Bandana Sen. They serve to recognize & honour Librarian/Teacher Librarian and School Heads who nurture the readers in their learning ecosystems.
By empowering and encouraging the work of librarians and teacher-librarians, we hope to propel the development of critical-thinking skills of young readers. Such skills are necessary tools to effectively deal with, and flourish in, the changing informational fabric of our societies.
Additionally, the BSLA awards celebrate the idea of libraries as enriching, learning communities within school environments. School libraries of today have the potential to not only support the school curriculum, but also be classified as collaborative learning zones that center on critical-reading activities.

VENUE: India International Center, New Delhi
November 9th, 2019
6:00pm to 7:00pm
CBSE & ICSE schools India

Launch date: 15th July, 2019
Last date for submission of school forms: 5th September, 2019
Announcement of finalist: 15th October, 2019
Final award ceremony: 9th November 2019

This year, BSL Awards will be awarded to :

These awards are available to full-time librarians /teacher-librarians in grades K-12 in the CBSE / ICSE affiliated boards in India and will be awarded to librarians / teacher librarians who:

  • Foster a passion and love of reading in students through programmes and curricula that are innovative, and original,

  • Exhibit innovative practices in presenting books and literature or poetry to students in a unique way,

  • Are committed to help reluctant readers, and are visionary in their methods of reaching out to them,

  • Are re-defining their libraries as centres of learning presenting active and engaging activities for students, teachers and the community.

About the judges

Abha Adams

Abha Adams, an alumna of Lady Shri Ram College, has created an enviable reputation as an innovative educationist. A prolific writer on education and an accomplished orator, she has spent over 35 years in education, media and arts management both in India and the UK. She has been a Features Editor with the BBC and Director of Aditi at the Arts Council. On her return to India, she spent 14 years as Director of the Shri Ram Schools and subsequently founded and developed Step By Step School Noida. A leading educational consultant, she works with several national and international educational, arts and training organizations. She serves on several Boards and is a well-known columnist writing on matters related to education, parenting and careers.

"A Librarian and Libraries forge communities – of learning, collaboration and discovery. Their roles are even more significant today as we attempt to develop empathy,understanding of cultures and differences, and give space to our young to imagine and create a world of emotional well being."
Abha Adams  

Ruchira Ghosh

Ruchira Ghosh is a passionate education professional with over two decades of experience in the school sector and is currently leading the strategic growth and credibility of Cambridge Assessment International Education as Regional Director, South Asia. Prior to Cambridge, she had some fantastic opportunities to work with a diverse range of schools, from municipal and zilla parishad schools to private national and international curriculum schools through some unique and challenging projects during her 11-year career at the British Council. She is especially interested in learning about the teaching practices that enable every single student in class to become a self-directed learner. She says of late she has become a voracious reader. She has little patience with fiction, but can spend hours reading on topics ranging from philosophy to cognitive sciences and self-management..

“Celebrating libraries and librarians will lead to celebrating the richness in life. In order to encourage curiosity. In order to keep the child within us always alive. In order to build communities of lifelong learners. In order to honour the rich literature and languages from around the world.
The awards is one way to recognize the effort and commitment of those professionals who are doing outstanding work in their role as creators and housekeepers of imaginative learning spaces and gatekeepers of rich and diverse resources in the form of books and other reading and learning materials”
Ruchira Ghosh

Peggy Sood

Peggy Sood, an Elementary teacher licensed by the State of New York, holds an MA in Indian history and an M. Ed. in Supervision and Administration. She taught at the American Embassy School, New Delhi, for 13 years before becoming the Assistant Principal for 18 years.
Presently, she conducts workshops and teacher training in schools in Delhi, Jaipur and Bangalore. Her focus is mainly on developing strategies for early literacy and integration of the curriculum. She also presents workshops for parents on reading to children, the importance of play and guidance vs. hovering.
Originally from New York, she has lived most of her life in India, having married into an Indian family. She combines her passion for India with her passion for education, and in both she has played large and memorable roles.

“Bandana Sen, a larger-than-life artistic personality, was a dedicator educator and librarian. The Bandana Sen Library Award has been established in her memory and to inspire librarians across India as they work to make their libraries “the heart of the school”. Bandana’s passion for bringing books, illustrators and authors to young readers as well as for making the library an open, welcoming learning space truly brought her mantra, “the heart of the school”, to life. It is our hope that the Bandana Sen Library Award project will inspire and support your librarian and draw your students to a life of reading, critical thinking and enjoyment.”
Peggy Sood

Dr. Shabbi Luthra

Dr. Shabbi Luthra is Founder and CEO of Consilience Education Foundation, a non-profit company that supports schools to create systems, practices and tools that sustain innovation in an accelerating change environment. She has worked for over three decades in various teaching and leadership roles in the fields of educational technology and innovation leadership at international schools. Her expertise includes envisioning, deploying, and providing guidance in the areas of technology integration programs, staff-development, building technology leadership at all levels of a school, and innovation leadership and management in schools and organizations.

“Bandana Sen believed that reading catalyzes childrens' imaginations and that libraries open windows to the world. She created amazing libraries that nurtured creativity, imagination and a love of reading in children. During her lifetime, she mentored several generations of librarians. The BSLA celebrates libraries and librarians that nurture a vibrant reading culture in our society.”
Dr. Shabbi Luthra

Dr. Shalini Advani

Dr. Shalini AdvanI is the Director of Pathways School, Noida. Previously, she was Principal of the British School, New Delhiand Director Education of Learn Today.
Dr Advani was a member of the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) Steering Committee for the revised English Curriculum; on the editorial group for its English textbooks, and a member of NCERT Special Committee to develop reading cells in government schools in the Mathura district. She has been a presenter at various events including the Salzburg Global Seminar, IB Asia Pacific Conference 2015, the IC3 conference on Career Counselling, at the India International Centre on Adult Literacy, and as the valedictory speaker at the Ed Tech Review 2016. Her publications include Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow,(Orient Longman) Educating the National Imagination (OUP) and as special editor of an issue of Contemporary Education Dialogue, on the National Curriculum Framework 2005.

“A school library is the soul of good education practice – a good library allows students to meander and discover for themselves, teachers to direct and guide students towards research and finding out more, a physical space which both encourages quiet reflection and stimulates curiosity. By remembering Bandana Sen, one of the country’s great librarians, we celebrate what true learning should be”
Shalini Advani

Dr. Shalini Advani

Donavon Reinsmoen started his international education career in 1978 with Taipei American School. In 1983, he joined the American Embassy School in New Delhi. This was where he first met Bandana. After various academic endeavors, Donavon returned to The American Embassy School, New Delhi in 1998 as Elementary Principal. Here, he was warmly welcomed back by Bandana and many other staff members. Presently, he is serving as interim School Head at Collegiate American School- Dubai, a school he opened in 2012.

“I find Bandana’s spirit in the books. Books were always a treasure to her and auditing and discarding old books was like giving up prized possessions. She wanted every child to love books. Her energies brought many famous authors to New Delhi to inspire our students to read more books. Her Book Fairs were big events which put books into the hands of all students. Libraries today need librarians who enthusiastically promote reading. Holding events to provide opportunities for students to celebrate the books they enjoy helps draw in more students to join in the adventures of reading. We need to meet the big challenge of how to get our students turn on to books and turn off the games.”
Donavoan Reisman


Paro Anand

Paro Anand, an award-winning author, is a fearless writer who tackles difficult subjects for young readers with sensitivity and empathy. Known for her path-breaking writing for young adults and as a performance storyteller, she has been invited to speak at forums and festivals all over India and the World, including Harvard University. Her books have been translated into various languages including German and Spanish.

“A library can be a dreaded place to go for detentions as it was for me, or an empowering, fun place of adventure and exploration. School policy, support and the open mind and heart of the librarian make all the difference. It's crucial to honor innovation in school libraries and spread the good that reading and books bring.”
Paro Anand

Sanjna Kapoor

Sanjna Kapoor  is co-founder of Junoon, a social enterprise that aims to create platforms for theatre in India. Sanjna is well known for her passionate work with theatre over two decades, and for having built Prithvi Theatre into one of India’s premier cultural hubs. Shehas also played a key role as a catalyst for theatre for children. Her vision,commitment and enthusiasm ensure that she keeps bringing the richness of theatre into people’s lives in multiple ways. She currently spearheads Junoon’s School Programme, and continues the legacy of both the Kapoors and the Kendals to take theatre to people across the country. Sanjna has also been responsible for initiating the India Theatre Forum network for theatre practitioners.
Her current focus is working towards an all-India theatre alliance, based on a practical sharing of resources and ideas, as well as consolidating and strengthening theatre practice in India. She is one of the core team member and facilitator of SMART India, Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre a theatre management training programme.

“I was lucky. My school library was a warm friendly space that taught one to respect silence but also let you in to the comforting world of ideas. But then I came from a home where books covered our wall space and my mother would drag me off to the British Council Library every so often to return her books and reissue new ones. Where the daunting dark gray corridors of books overwhelmed me. At school our cosy library is where I found playlets to direct for inter-house competitions. Where encyclopedias opened up worlds and where mothers chatted quietly with you as they did their weekly librarian duty. Our library was an extension of our school ethos. Intimate and personable. This experience leads me to seek out libraries in schools I visit, as an example of the school's core values. I am delighted to celebrate Bandana Sen's magnificent contribution to libraries with this Award that celebrates the people who breathe life into these precious spaces in schools.”
Sanjna Kapoor

Usha Pandit

Usha Pandit is a thought leader and wears many hats. She is the Founder CEO of Mindsprings that provides academic consultancy to schools in curriculum development and pedagogy. She trains teachers pan India, and speaks at educational fora. She has taught classes from K to 12 in four countries. Usha is the author of 18 textbooks in English used in top schools. Mindsprings runs an award-winning educational initiative for children afflicted with cancer at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. Usha has two Masters Degrees in English and Education, a Teaching Certificate from New Zealand, and a TEFLA from Cambridge University.

”I am delighted to be a part of this wonderful initiative because I believe that libraries in schools need to be fluid hubs of energy, access and enquiry. The librarian must be empowered to link and promote diverse media and dynamic programs with knowledge seekers to create communities that learn, support, and enable progress. The endeavors and struggles of librarians and schools to reach these goals needs lauding. I also see the awards having a bigger purpose and opportunity in articulating and exploring road maps on how to invigorate and refurbish the spirit of future-aspiring libraries.”
Usha Pandit

Himali Sodhi

Hemali Sodhi has spent over two decades in publishing, and most recently in a leadership role leading brand strategy,marketing, communications and children’s publishing with Penguin Random House.As publisher for the Children’s and Young Adult lists, she was responsible for defining the publishing strategy for the brand and imprint. In Puffin, she has developed one of the most successful publishing Imprints in India.
Passionate about growing readership, she has conceptualized and executed several award-winning campaigns for both adult and children’s authors. She has created marquee events and new platforms that have focused on bringing authors and readers closer by creative immersive experiences through festivals and events. Hemali lives in Gurgaon with her husband who also works in publishing, and is a dog parent with an ever expanding canine family.
Hemali lives in Gurgaon with her husband who also works in publishing, and is a dog parent with an ever-expanding canine family.

“Libraries are portals which open up magical new worlds of discovery and learning. Growing up, one of the most essential tools for a child is access to a good library - a place where their imagination is broadened and nurtured, where they make new friends, travel to new worlds, enhance their learning and their skills - the possibilities are endless with access to a wide range of books in a conducive environment.
A librarian is the gatekeeper to these magical portals and can contribute immeasurably to guiding and widening the horizons for young minds.
We need to give libraries their rightful place and restore their significance and their glory in the universe of a child.
Every child should have access to and look forward to going to an imaginative, well curated, friendly library space to inculcate the reading habit and to make new friends through the world or books. The habit of reading starts young - get a child to become a reader, and you have a reader for life.
Bandana Sen, an untiring champion of the library worked relentlessly towards making this space recognised and the awards are a dedication to her and a promise to take forward her commitment.”
Hemali Sodhi

Himani Dalmia

Himani Dalmia is an entrepreneur and author. She created the iconic household brands, Leonardo Olive Oil and Hudson Canola Oil, under the banner ofher family’s company Dalmia Continental. Himani is also the author of Life is Perfect, a bestselling and critically acclaimed novel published by Rupa & Co. in 2009. Himani was formerly a member of the Times of India Edit Page team and has contributed widely to newspapers, magazines and journals. In addition, she has been a student and performer of Hindustani classical music in the style of the Patiala gharana since the age of six.
A scion of one of India’s oldest industrial families, Himani graduated with honors in English from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, and holds a Master's in South Asian Literature from the University of Oxford. Himani and her husband, Akash Premsen, are parents to two girls, 4-year-old Devika and 1.5-year-old Yamini, who are already avid book lovers following in the tradition of their grandmother and Himani’s mother-in-law, Bandana Sen.

"Having known Bandana Sen intimately for 20 years and growing up under her umbrella, I saw with my own eyes what one person's passion and vision could do to an oft ignored field. At a micro level, I saw the precise ticking of her mind in the way she set up an atmosphere of books for her tiny granddaughters and, at a macro level, I saw her dream for the library as the sanctum of a school and cornerstone of any thinking society. She pioneered the establishment of international standard children's libraries in India and inspired a whole generation of librarians to rise to the task of being custodians of knowledge."
Himani Dalmia

Kirandeep Kaur

Kirandeep Kaur is an educator with more than 23 years of experience who began her career in a CBSE school and is currently leading the academic programme at an International School. Since Kirandeep has worked both within the Indian academic system and an International one, her work reflects a deep understanding of 21st century skills. Kirandeepis a trained International Curriculum Leader and Coach. She believes that the need of the hour is to encourage children to become ‘thoughtful and discerning individuals’ so that they can face challenges today and in the future as well.

‘Progressive libraries are learning environments which promote learning not only for the students and the teachers, but also for communities at large. 21st century schools need to promote and nurture transformation of their spaces into vibrant centers which encourage both local and global interactions so learners can be empowered.’
Kirandeep Kaur

Mr. Mahesh Rao

Mahesh Rao is a novelist and short story writer. His short fiction has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Baffler, Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar. His debut novel, ‘The Smoke Is Rising’, won the Tata First Book Award for fiction. ‘One Point Two Billion’, his collection of short stories, was published in 2015, and his second novel, 'Polite Society', was published last year, earning critical acclaim.

“A good library can be one of the most rewarding ecosystems we have created: a place of learning, entertainment, rest, reflection and solace. And as the custodian of this shared space, a good librarian will enhance its qualities by making it as welcome and useful a place as possible.”
Mahesh Rao

Preeti Gill

Preeti Gill is an independent editor and literary agent. In her new role as a literary agent, she is handles around thirty well known, critically acclaimed writers of fiction and creative non-fiction. Her special focus is on translations from Indian languages as well as writings from the North East of India. She has worked on a number of documentaries as a scriptwriter and researcher, including Rambuai: Mizoram’s ‘Trouble’ Years which she co-produced with Sanjoy Hazarika. Preeti Gill is the Founder of Majha House, a literary and cultural space in the city of Amritsar. She organizes the Majha House Literature and Culture Festival.

Heeru Bhojwani

Heeru Bhojwani is currently the Information Curator & Coach/Librarian at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India. She is interested in sharing her knowledge and experience to help build and design Libraries. She is a strong advocate of assisting librarians in developing strong literacy skills along with information & media literacy skills to meet the needs of present day students. She has presented several workshops both Internationally and locally, describing the role of the library in its varied facets. She appreciates the value of teamwork and global inter-connectedness. She believes that education is the most important element in raising the bar of human existence and quality of life.

About the organizers

go to Oneup library websigte

The Bandana Sen Library Awards are organized by One Up in memory of Ms. Bandana Sen, to celebrate school librarians and libraries in our ever expanding, dynamic learning ecosystem.
One Up
believes that all children deserve a library community to nurture their learning needs. Libraries are the perfect setting for trying out new ideas and innovations and expanding skills. We envision libraries as safe havens with books that children can retire to, whether it is to seek information and knowledge, or seek guidance and solace. Libraries have the higher purpose of nourishing souls, and all children  deserve a librarian who believes in them,and can help them grow their bond with books.


For Children Community Libraries
Send us a write up about your library, your community and the children you serve  and meet. Share with us your challenges, your needs and requirements.Share photographs of your library space and programs.
Please send this write-up in the form of a word document (up to 400 words) in Hindi or English. The write up must include:
  Name of the library, Address, Library supported by government/ NGO or private sponsorship. Mail the filled out and finished word document along with supporting photographs to bsla.awards@gmail.com
  The Community Library should be in Delhi/NCR region only.

Last Date of Application -  5th September 2019

For Schools

Mail the filled out and finished form along with supporting media to bsla.awards@gmail.com

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