The search is on for book learning professionals

The search is on for Scotland’s top teacher or librarian.

Nominations have now opened for the Scottish Book Trust’s Learning Professional Award 2019.

Now in its third year, the award recognises a teacher or librarian who has had a powerful impact on the reading culture of young people and adults in their community.

The award was created by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing and is run in partnership with Browns Books for Students.

School teachers and librarians across the country are urged to nominate inspiring colleagues who are passionate advocates of reading and writing in their place of work, for the award which will be presented at an event in March 2019.

Eileen Littlewood, head teacher of Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh, received the 2018 Learning Professional Award for transforming the reading culture among her pupils and their parents.

Before Eileen started in the post, the school library had been dismantled and the nearest public library was not within safe walking distance for the pupils.

In order to create her vision of a fine, in-house library catering for all ages, Eileen applied to the SG Access to Education Fund and the Foyle Foundation. By securing over £10k of funding, Eileen was able to start a reading community within Forthview and West Pilton.

Eileen has established a paired reading initiative and also organised visits to the school from authors including John Fardell and Lari Don. Eileen is passionate about the idea that reading can change the lives of pupils, and has ensured her staff are trained to deliver excellent reading projects.

Eileen also runs a lunchtime book club for pupils who are keen readers, as well as regular writing workshops. She also ran a book club for parents of the school, and worked with some of the adults on a book about their mental health.

This year there is an added incentive to nominate as the school or library where the winning Learning Professional works will receive £500 to spend with Browns Books for Students.

Eileen, last year’s Learning Professional Award winner, said: ‘I was thrilled to learn that colleagues thought that my passion for and commitment to reading merited being considered for the Learning Professional Award and that they had taken the time out of their busy lives to nominate me.

‘When I subsequently learned that I had won the award, it was the most exciting thing to happen to me. I know how much this award meant to me and my school, so if you know someone who is passionate about and dedicated to reading then do take the time to nominate them.’

Marc Lambert, CEO at Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Teachers and librarians are the backbone of any strong reading culture in the life of young people and adults. At Scottish Book Trust, we work with so many passionate teachers and librarians, and this award allows us to celebrate their hard work.

‘Every year, we receive so many inspiring stories, and we encourage those who know a book-loving champion to highlight their great work. Many thanks to Browns Books for Students for making this award possible.’

Browns Books for Students also support the Outstanding Achievement Award. Last year’s winner was writer and illustrator Vivian French, who impressed the panel with her hard work promoting books by others, and acting as a mentor to those in the industry.

Claire Smith, sales manager for Browns Books for Students, said: ‘Browns Books for Students is proud to be able to support Scottish Book Trust’s Learning Professional Award again this year. The award represents a rare opportunity to recognise and celebrate the outstanding and inspirational work undertaken by Scottish teachers and librarians each and every day.

‘As a specialist educational supplier we love hearing about the impact of successful reading projects, so if you know someone who is passionate about inspiring a love of reading in others and whose innovation has transformed the reading culture in your school or community, then take some time to nominate them now.’

Nominations can be made online at www.scottishbooktrust.com/sbta.