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Previous Learning Professional Award Winners

The Scottish Book Trust Learning Professional Award showcases how one person can have an amazing impact, not just on a school, but also on a whole community.


Julie Paterson and Gail Abraham (joint winners)

Julie Paterson (Literacy and Languages Development Officer) and Gail Abraham (Social Work Practice and Process Development Co-ordinator) were recognised for their outstanding efforts to develop early literacy and ensure access to books for children and young people across Renfrewshire – including their inspiring work with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which has seen more than 63,000 books gifted to children across the local authority in the last two years. Their work resulted in Renfrewshire becoming the only Scottish region to offer monthly books to all 2–4-year-olds through the Imagination Library, in addition to the local authority's existing programme for care-experienced children.

The Learning Professional Award, now in its seventh year, is a national award that recognises the hard work learning professionals do to bring the magic of reading to young people. The winning duo will also receive a prize of £500 worth of books from the award's sponsor, Browns Books.


Haley Milne (highly commended)

Vicky McCauley (highly commended)


Julie Sutherland (winner)

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.

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.


Irene Lumsden (highly commended)

Jill Queen (highly commended)

Claire Gilligan (highly commended)


Moira Foster and Elaine Hallyburton (joint winner)

Elaine Hallyburton and Moira Foster work together in the library and education services in Dundee. They are the first ever dual winners of the Learning Professional Award.

Between Moira and Elaine, hundreds of books have been gifted through The Dundee Wishing Tree, in partnership with Waterstones. They pioneered The Two Moons Festival, which focused on links between literacy and wellbeing. For ten years, they have collaborated on the Dundee Picture Book Award which engages approximately 800 children across year groups throughout Dundee. Moira and Elaine are particularly noted for the strength of their partnership, and they are respected and celebrated in their community by teachers, pupils and authors.


Lorraine Napier (highly commended)


Yvonne Manning (winner)

Yvonne was nominated for the award by her colleagues, who have described her as an "inspiration to all who work with her". Yvonne manages the Learning Resource service which supports schools to develop a reading for pleasure culture. Despite cuts to the Falkirk Library service, Yvonne’s passion and hard work has had a significant impact on every educational establishment in the Falkirk Council area.

Yvonne is well-known for establishing and running the RED Book Award for Falkirk high schools. As Bookbug Coordinator, she models Bookbag gifting events for nurseries and trains staff and parents on storytelling. As former CILIPS President, Yvonne is a well-respected member of her sector, trusted to lead the children’s library services through difficult times.

Video Yvonne Manning

Emma Philips (highly commended)


Deena Wren (winner)

Deena has over twenty years’ experience as a librarian and sits on the senior management team at Beeslack Community High School, Midlothian. She has created a library that is used as a shared learning space by all, and is a welcoming and accessible area for students.

‘As a librarian, Deena goes above and beyond her role. She inspires a love of reading with her personal knowledge of books and through her amazing ‘Read for the Future’ programme. In addition, Deena has produced and delivered wonderful literacy classes that children remember even years later. The sheer popularity of reading in the school speaks for itself: the library is packed all the time. Every pupil has been supported by Deena – she’s the beating heart of the school.’ - Karen Atherton, Teacher of English.

Video Deena Wren

Sheila Borys (highly commended)

Emily Sinclair (highly commended)

Emma Ritchie (highly commended)


Eileen Littlewood (winner)

Eileen has affected real change during her time at Forthview Primary School. Some of her amazing achievements include creating a vibrant school library and transforming attitudes to reading and writing in the wider community by engaging parents in creative writing projects. 

‘Before Mrs Littlewood took me for reading every day, I didn’t enjoy reading but now I know the genre of books I like and read every day.’ - Pupil

‘Eileen talked to me about the book café, but it’s no my thing, but she said try it and I tried it.... I related to the girl in the book 'cause she had depression too, like me. It made me want to read more…. It’s helped my mind and my health.’ - Parent

Video Eileen Littlewood

Shelagh Toonen (highly commended)

Claire Dancer (highly commended)


Susan Morton (winner)

Susan is school librarian at Inverclyde Academy. In just one year at the school, Susan revitalised the school library, created a comic club to attract reluctant readers and secured a fully-funded residency with a local author.

'Susan took on a library that had been closed for a number of years and in less than a year has made fantastic strides forward with an array of projects for pupils...Susan is a truly inspiring professional.' - Panel judge Sean McNamara of CILIP in Scotland

'I’m now writing my own [graphic novel]. Miss Morton is a truly inspirational person. She encourages me every day.' - S6 pupil.

Video Susan Morton