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Press release: Edinburgh librarian wins Learning Professional Award

Julie Sutherland praised as 'beating heart of school'

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has announced today (Wednesday 25 May) that Julie Sutherland, Forrester High School Librarian has been recognised with the Learning Professional Award. Julie has been praised by her colleagues for her unwavering enthusiasm and energy. In her role as Librarian, she has provided engaging and fun opportunities for all students, bridging both the attainment gap and the poverty gap.

The Learning Professional Award, now in its sixth year, recognises a teacher or librarian who has had a powerful impact on the reading culture of young people and adults in their community.

Julie Sutherland said:

'I am absolutely thrilled to win the Learning Professional Award this year. It's hard to imagine the effect you've had on a young person, but they are the ones that make my day. They challenge and invigorate me and there is no better way to start the day than chatting to a bunch of teenagers, and it's thanks to them that I am receiving this award.

No Librarian is an island, and everything I do is possible because I'm part of a team, working with pupils, teachers, and librarians from other schools. I can do the things I do in school because of that fantastic and supportive network and in my heart this award is for all of them.'

Lindsay Craik-Collins, Curricular Leader of English and Media at Forrester High School said:

'Julie puts her heart and soul into everything that she does, with the pupils at the centre of all of her work. She is the beating heart of our school, reaching out to support all departments and areas within. Her relationships, creativity and determination open millions of doors and experiences for our students and our school community would be lost without her.'

Julie has been recognised for her hard work to encourage pupils to read, designing competitions within and across year groups, which has been hugely successful. These competitions also linked with National level qualifications, allowing students to have fun while learning. Julie was also involved with the school's Accelerated Reader Programme, which supported teachers to track and assess the reading of students. Julie also worked with Advanced Higher pupils and secured an Author in Residence to support them in their course work.

Feedback from pupils describe Forrester High School library as a 'safe space' before and after school. Julie has been commended for treating pupils as individuals and taking the time to get to know their barriers to learning, their personal situations and their personalities, so as to provide a better service for them. Her library is open for so many clubs that she runs herself, including Film Club, Animation Club and Gaming Club. Julie's never-ending enthusiasm and personal interest in the young people of Forrester High School has helped students feel part of the bigger school picture and that their opinions and ideas are important and heard. Julie also supports her colleagues, having built a mini library in the staff room, so that all those working in the school have access to books at any time.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

'Many congratulations to Julie Sutherland on winning this year's Learning Professional Award. It was clear from her nomination that Julie has worked tirelessly to build a reading for pleasure culture in Forrester High School. She has also created a safe, comforting environment for many pupils who need a place to escape into a book. Our thanks to Browns Books for making this important award possible.'

Claire Smith, Sales Manager for Browns Books, said:

'Congratulations to Julie Sutherland on winning the prestigious Learning Professional award! With a supportive team, imagination and hard work, librarians like Julie, really do have the super-power to change young people's lives for the better. Julie is a prime example of somebody works hard for the benefit of the young people she encounters and engagement with reading provides the foundations that allow young people to prosper and reach their goals. Well done from everyone at Browns Books, Julie. Keep up the excellent work.'

Run by national charity Scottish Book Trust, in partnership with Browns Books, the awardee will receive £500 worth of books to help continue their outstanding work.

Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests, please contact Keara Donnachie on keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 07956 773 749.

Extended quote from Julie Sutherland:

'School Libraries and Librarians have been under threat from budget and job cuts across the UK for a long time, I hope that this award will illuminate the positive effect we can have on a young person's life. It's not just about developing literacy and a love for reading, it's about the whole person and being there for every young person that needs your support.'

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity that believes everyone living in Scotland should have equal access to books. Our work provides opportunities to improve life chances through books and the fundamental skills of reading and writing. Access to books and a love of books bring many important benefits from family bonding and advancing children’s learning, to unlocking creativity, helping employability and improving mental health & well-being. Scottish Book Trust aims to support all communities across Scotland, with particular focus on those who are vulnerable and under-represented.

Our programmes and outreach work include:

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

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Browns Books

Browns Books, sponsor of the Scottish Book Trust Learning Professional Award, supplies books, eBooks and DVDs for schools, colleges and businesses.

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Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at the Creative Scotland website(this will open in a new window). Follow us on Twitter(this will open in a new window), Facebook(this will open in a new window) and Instagram.(this will open in a new window) Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at the Our Creative Voice website.(this will open in a new window)