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Press release: Dundee double act receives Learning Professional Award

“Power couple” recognised for literacy and education work

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has announced today (Thursday 13 May) that Elaine Hallyburton and Moira Foster from Dundee have been recognised with the Learning Professional Award. Elaine is the Section Manager for the Children's Library and Information Services at Leisure and Culture Dundee, and Moira is an Education Support Officer for Learning Resources at the Children and Families Service. They have worked together for ten years, and both unknowingly nominated each other for the award.

Elaine and Moira have been described as a “power couple” by Peggy Hughes, Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland:

“Elaine Hallyburton and Moira Foster work tirelessly to deliver programmes for the benefit and pleasure and of Dundee's young people. They are quite simply an inspirational pair – the best collaborators, reliable and fun and completely trusted by their communities and the teachers and librarians they serve.”

Between Moira and Elaine, hundreds of books have been gifted to children and young carers in deprived areas in the city through The Dundee Wishing Tree, in partnership with Waterstones. They succeeded in securing School Library Improvement funding for a new festival for secondary schools, The Two Moons Festival, aiming to link literacy with health and wellbeing. A variety of book events ran across different venues in Dundee for eight weeks in 2019. The festival was well-received by pupils, staff and authors, and a recent project worked with young people transitioning from P7 to S1.

The Learning Professional Award, now in its fifth year, recognises a teacher or librarian who has had a powerful impact on the reading culture of young people and adults in their community. Run by national charity Scottish Book Trust, in partnership with Browns Books, the awardees will each receive £250 worth of books to help continue their outstanding work.

About Elaine

Elaine Hallyburton is Dundee’s Bookbug Co-ordinator and has been recognised by the award for her delivery of training and Bookbug sessions. She also promotes the Dundee Picture Book Award in schools and supports national reading events such as Book Week Scotland and World Book Day. Elaine has worked closely with pupils who were reluctant readers, inspiring confidence and training them in paired reading.

Elaine also adapted her work to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Her decision to invest in BorrowBox provided access to hundreds of books for children across Dundee, who were unable to visit public libraries or in a financial position to buy from bookshops. Elaine has been recognised by her colleagues as passionate and enthusiastic about promoting reading for pleasure. She assists teachers with resources to enhance learning and activities and supports events in schools across Dundee.

Elaine Hallyburton said:

“I am absolutely delighted to win the Learning Professional Award, and I am so happy to be sharing it with my lovely colleague and friend, Moira Foster.”

About Moira

Moira Foster was also one of the creators of the Dundee Picture Book Award, which has been successfully running for ten years. Through this award, Primary 6 children in 16 schools across Dundee read four short-listed picture books. They champion the books to their peers and read them to Primary 1 pupils. Displays featuring the books are exhibited in libraries across the city and pupils vote for their favourite title.

Moira has been praised by school librarians for her sharing of knowledge and experience but also for being a supportive and positive colleague. She is valued by authors, teachers, and pupils in schools across Dundee, supporting cross-curricular projects and events. Moira was also the catalyst for a children's book about Dundee's rich history – Time Tram Dundee (Waverley Books) by Matthew Fitt and Keith Robson.

Moira Foster said:

“I desperately wanted Elaine to win! To discover we had nominated each other was such a surprise but oddly typical. We are such a solid team and great friends. Elaine winning would have been marvellous, winning together is just lovely and we can't stop grinning!”

Marc Lambert, CEO at Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Congratulations to both Elaine and Moira, our first double winners for the Learning Professional Award. It is clear from the many colleagues who nominated them that Elaine and Moira are well-respected, and their commitment to establishing reading cultures across schools and libraries in Dundee has inspired many. Their strong partnership has had a positive impact on the lives of young people, teachers and librarians, and at Scottish Book Trust we are pleased to recognise their hard work over the last ten years.”

Claire Smith, Sales Manager for Browns Books, said:

“Huge congratulations to both Elaine and Moira on winning the much-coveted Learning Professional Award! Their passion and enthusiasm for children’s literacy, along with the desire to reach as many young readers as possible, is second to none. Without people like Elaine and Moira, schools and in particular Scotland’s libraries, just would not be the same. The true definition of a ‘Dream Team’. It is a testament to their hard work and drive that the Dundee Picture Book Awards have gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years. No doubt, that under their expert guidance, the awards will be here to stay for many years to come. Congratulations to all of the other nominees, too!”

Lorraine Napier, Principal Teacher at Bankhead Primary School was also highly commended for the Learning Professional Award. Nominated by her colleague Ann Douglas, Lorraine is described as the ‘Bankhead Laureate’. Under Lorraine’s guidance, Primary 7 pupils have been recognised in the Glasgow Lord Provost Poetry Competition for three years running. Thanks to Lorraine’s efforts the library has a fantastic stock, including dual language books from 18 countries. Lorraine has been particularly successful at engaging the local community, providing workshops for parents and carers to enhance their reading skills.

Shortlisted for the Learning Professional Award


Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests, please contact Keara Donnachie on keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com or 07956 773 749.

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.

www.scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) @scottishbktrust www.facebook.com/scottishbktrust(this will open in a new window)

Browns Books

Browns Books, sponsor of the Scottish Book Trust Learning Professional Award, supplies books, eBooks and DVDs for schools, colleges and businesses. More information on Browns Books website is available at www.brownsbfs.co.uk(this will open in a new window)

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

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