CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Presidents Scottish Library Association (SLA)/CILIPS

The information on Presidents from 1908 to present was found using information compiled by Audrey Walker and from previous SLA and CILIPS newsletters and the CILIP and CILIPS websites.

1908-1910 F.T. Barrett, LL.D
Librarian, Glasgow

1911-1915 Al H. Miller, LL.D.  
City Librarian, Dundee

1915-1919 Hew Morrison, JP, LL.D.  
Principal Librarian, Edinburgh

1919-1921 G.M. Fraser, JP  
City Librarian, Aberdeen

1921-1925 John Minto, MA  
Librarian, The Signet Library

1925-1927 Ryrie Orr, MA, FEIS, JP  
First non-Librarian President 

Chairman of the Greenock Public Library Committee and managing director of the Greenock Telegraph

1927-1928 Septimus A. Pitt
City Librarian, Glasgow

1928-1929 Frank C. Nicholson, MA, LL.D.  
Librarian, University of Edinburgh

1929-1931 Ernest A. Savage, FLA
Principal Librarian, Edinburgh

1931-1932 Septimus A. Pitt, FLA City
Librarian, Glasgow

1932-1935 George W. Shirley  
Librarian, Ewart and Dumfries

“Mr. Shirley was a founder-member of the Scottish Library Association and a member of its first council…While interested in all phases of librarianship, he was particularly concerned with the urgent need of obtaining new legislation which would remove encumbrances from public library work in Scotland, and enable it to achieve greater cohesion, harmony and a fuller development.”
-SLA News, August 1952

1936-1937 Robert Bain  
City Librarian, Glasgow

1938-1941 Alfred A. Ogilvie, ALA  
County Librarian, Lanarkshire

Trained at Dundee, where he became a branch librarian at 19 and latterly reference librarian at the Albert Institute, he returned from war service in the Middle East to find that county libraries were being set up all over the country.  Attracted by the challenge, he was appointed to Midlothian County in 1920 and found the library to consist of one room, one desk, one table, one typist, and empty shelving for 2000 books…. In 1928 he moved to Lanarkshire where his energy, enthusiasm and experience were utilised in building a new headquarters and in developing the library service.  Some years after his retiral in 1950 he moved to near his daughter’s home in the South of England… His many professional writings and addresses were read and listened to with great respect and his work for the Association over many years was fittingly rewarded by his election to the President’s chair.
-SLA News, March/April 1963

1942-1943 Robert Butchart, MA, FLA  
Principal Librarian, Edinburgh

1944-1946 William E.C. Cotton, BA  
Dunfermline Public Library
Scottish Central Library for students

1947-1948 Angus G. MacKay, FLA  
County Library, Midlothian

“Born in Glasgow in 1899, he was educated at North Kelvinside Higher Grade School and, at the age of 16, began his career in The Mitchell Library.  Apart from a period of 15 months which he spent in the Army, he remained in The Mitchell, engaged in a variety of duties for ten years.  In May 1925 he became District Librarian, first at the Anderston District Library and later at Shettleston and Tollcross District Library, with added administrative duties in the Superintendent’s Department.  In January 1931 he was appointed County Librarian to Midlothian in succession to Mr. Robert Butchart” where he remained for 31 years.
-SLA News, November/December 1962 

1949-1950 Lauriston W. Sharp, MA, PhD  
Librarian, University of Edinburgh

1951-1952 James W. Forsyth, MA, FLA  
Burgh Librarian, Ayr

Jimmy Forsyth joined the profession in 1921 as a junior assistant in Midlothian County Library, under the benevolent and exacting supervision of the redoubtable Alfred Ogilvie.  These were pioneer days, when it required strong enthusiasm and firm faith to get things moving in face of inertia, lack of interest and parsimony.  The enthusiasm and strength of purpose thus early engendered activated Jimmy Forsyth throughout a long and productive professional career, divided between east and west, as Burgh Librarian of Dunfermline and subsequently of Ayr.
-SLA News, Nov/Dec 1972 

1953-1954 Andrew B. Patterson, MC ALA  
City Librarian, Glasgow

“Andrew Patterson was an impressive personality.  While his interests and activities were numerous and varied, it is for the lifetime he spent in the library service, devoting himself to the improvement and extension of library facilities, that he will always remain in our memory and esteem.”
-SLA News, June/July 1961

1955-1956 William B. Paton, OBE, MA, FLA
County Librarian, Lanarkshire

“To assume the high office of President of the Scottish Library Association is an exciting prospect in any circumstances; it is doubly so at this juncture when the promise of new development in library affairs is bright and the professional atmosphere is livened with an exhilarating breeze of expectancy portending great events.”
-William B. Paton, SLA News, March 1955

Born in Glasgow and educated at Allan Glen’s School, he began his library career in the Mitchell Library in 1925.  After a brief interval at Watford, he was appointed Chief Librarian of Airdrie in 1931 when only 24 years old, and for the rest of his library career, he was based in Scotland.

When Mr. Paton moved to Greenock in 1939, three months before the outbreak of war, his concentration on library affairs was interrupted, at first partially by the blitze and his duties as administrator of the Emergency Relief Organisation, and then totally when he joined the Royal Artillery… When the Scottish School of Librarianship was set up in 1946, Mr. Paton became its first and only full-time lecturer…I do not know if Mr. Paton took over Lanark County Libraries in 1950 with a sense of freedom; but he certainly trapped like a whippet.  The system to which he succeeded was ripe for consolidation, modernisation, and all three proceeded with speed and urgency…  

Throughout his distinguished and eventful life, William Bryce Paton was a man of integrity, a warrior who stood up and spoke up for all he believed in.  He fought a good fight, he finished the course and he kept the faith.
-SLA News, September/October 1988

1957-1958 Charles S. Minto, FLA
City Library, Edinburgh

Photograph of Charles S. Minto

“The needs of the future can best be met by taking the measure of the demands of the present and to do this effectively is surely a needful endeavour for 1957-or any year.  Let 1957 be a year in which we concentrate our energies on raising our profession in public esteem and on ensuring the disappearance, as and when that can be accomplished, of all practices which at present contribute to a false and unflattering appreciation of our merits.”
-Charles S. Minto – January/February 1957

Born in Brighton in 1905 he spent his youth in Edinburgh, where he attended the Royal High School, and where his father, John Minto, was the eminent Librarian of the Signet Library.

Minto was appointed to Edinburgh Public Library as a junior assistant in 1923 by Ernest Savage, himself appointed as Librarian a year earlier.  Minto, together with many others appointed at that time, spent their entire careers in the City.  He became a Fellow of the Library Association in 1931 and held a number of key posts during the rapid development of the service, notably in cataloguing and classification, in the Reference Library and for some years in the newly-created Fine Art Library.  He was appointed Depute Librarian in 1942, Principal Librarian in 1953, and to the newly-created post of City Librarian and Curator in 1954.

Much of his senior career was pursued against a background of wartime and post-war austerity. No funding for development on any scale was available and it was not until 1963 that Edinburgh was to have its first new post-war building.  Financial restraints also precluded much-required development at the Central Library and it was only in 1958 that Minto was able to create the novel Central Fiction Library, to be followed in 1961 with the re-housing of the Local Collection and the complementary Scottish Library.  Many other successful new services were introduced, including Scotland’s first Housebound Service and, in the Museums Service, the now internationally-renowned Museum of Childhood.  During many years of service on SLA Council, Minto organised a number of post-war summer schools, and served as President in 1957 and 1958.  In 1948, for the SLA and the Carnegie UK Trust, he undertook a survey of library services in the North of Scotland.  While his report was warmly-welcomed and influential, the evidence from it formed input to the Advisory Council on Education whose 1951 report received a cold reception from the profession in Scotland.  In 1969, he represented the Convention of Royal Burghs on the ground-breaking working party on Standards for the Public Library Service in Scotland.
-SLA News, November/December 1996

1959 Alexander Dow, FLA
County Librarian, Coatbridge

Photograph of Charles Dow

Mr. Alex Dow, Burgh Librarian of Coatbridge, retired in October after 44 years’ service in the library profession.  To mark the occasion, a dinner in his honour was held in Glasgow on 11th October and was attended by nearly 70 guests… Certain outstanding events in his career were referred to-his Secretaryship of the Association followed by his two years as President, the Strathclyde Librarians’ Club Dinner at the LIbrary Association Conference in 1951, where he distinguished himself as chairman, and the now famous dash to London with Messrs Purdie and Paton which culminated in the passing of the Public Libraries (Scotland) Act, 1955.  -SLA News, September/October 1967

1960 William Beattie, MA, LL.D.
National Library of Scotland

Photograph of Dr. William Beattie

“Some new ideas turn out to be quite old after all.”
-William Beattie, January/February 1960



1961 John B. Purdie, FLA, FRSA  
County Librarian, Renfrewshire

“As we look around us in this age of sputniks, beatniks, rock and roll crooners, television, and similar attractions or distractions according to one’s point of view, it may seem extraordinary to some that the reading of books is still increasing.  There is nothing extraordinary about it.  The library service has made considerable progress since the era between the two world wars, and it is a simple fact that people are becoming more conscious of the facilities at their disposal.”
-John B. Purdie, January/February 1961

He began his career in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, and later moved to England where he soon became Depute Librarian of Bristol City.  After a successful scholarship to the United States he returned to Scotland as Burgh Librarian of Clydebank.  He moved across the Clyde in 1954 to become County Librarian of Renfrew County and over the next twelve years of his occupation to this post he made significant contribution to Scottish librarianship in establishing comprehensive library service.”
-SLA News, January/February 1976

1962 Matthew C. Pottinger DSC, JP, FLA
Librarian, Scottish Central Library, Edinburgh

Photograph of SLA President Pottinger, LA President Paton and Librarian Hostess Miss Niven

SLA President Pottinger (second from right), LA President Paton (front, third from left) and Hostess Librarian Miss Niven (extreme left)

A native of Shetland, Mr. Pottinger was educated in Glasgow, and gained experience of library work in Glasgow and Fulham before going to Newcastle, where he was chief librarian of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophic Society.  Mr. Pottinger served in the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1945, and was awarded the D.S.C.  He was appointed Librarian of the Scottish Central Library in October, 1946, when he succeeded Mr. W.E.C. Cotton, B.A., who retired after 21 years’ service.  

In 1950, Mr. Pottinger attended an international Unesco library conference in Sweden as a Government nominee, and in 1951 toured libraries in U.S.A. on a Fulbright Fellowship.
-SLA News,  November 1953

1963 Richard Buchanan, JP, FLA
Treasurer City of Glasgow Council

Photograph of Richard Buchanan and Bill Alison

Richard Buchanan and Bill Alison

“You are the worthy custodians of that happiness for millions of people.”
-Richard Buchanan, January/February 1963

Richard Buchanan requires no introduction in Scottish Library Association Circles.  A former Chairman of the Glasgow Libraries Committee and former City Treasurer of Glasgow, he served as a member of the S.L.A. Council prior to his term as President in 1963-a term in which he was largely responsible for the streamlining of the Council’s Committee structure.

His keen and continuing interest in libraries has been much in evidence in a series of questions on Scottish and other library matters which he has raised in Parliament since his election in 1964.  Despite Parliamentary commitments, however, he maintains close contact with Scottish librarianship through his Chairmanship of the Scottish Central Library Executive Committee, and is a regular attender at Conferences and meetings of the Association.

His own highly individual ‘President’s Parties’ which he arranged at the Elgin and Arbroath Conferences demonstrated his versatility as an entertaining and engaging personality, and these qualities are reflected in his chairmanship and guidance on more formal occasions.

In appointing the second Honorary President in its history, the Association is indeed fortunate in its choice of Dick Buchanan.  It is at once appropriate recognition for outstanding past services to Scottish librarianship, and a promise of a happy and profitable relationship for many years to come with one of our most distinguished Honorary Members.
-SLA News, May/June 1969

1964 William Scobbie, OBE, JP, ALA  Burgh
Librarian, Airdrie  

Given the Freedom of the Burgh of Airdrie 1971

Photograph of William Scobbie receiving the scroll of the Freedom of the Burgh from Lord Provost William Ferguson

William Scobbie receiving the Freedom of the Burgh from Lord Provost William Ferguson 

“It is a rare (if not unique) occasion for a serving librarian to be offered the Freedom of his Burgh, so the ceremony which took place in Airdrie Town Hall on 21st December last when just such an honour was bestowed upon the Burgh Librarian is indeed something to shout about.  According to the invitation card, the gentleman to be created a burgess was Honorary Sheriff William Scobbie, A.L.A., J.P.-a somewhat formal and unfamiliar description for the breezy, friendly colleague we know as Bill Scobbie, but his previous appointment as a Justice of Sheriff might be regarded as preliminaries to the crowning honour of the Freedom ceremony, since all three stem from the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow townsfolk.”
-SLA News, January/February 1972

1965 William R. Aitken, MA, PhD, FLA
Lecturer Scottish School of Librarianship

Photograph of William R Aitken

Born at Calderbank, Lanarkshire, before county libraries existed, but translated to Fife before he was able to notice the fact, Bill Aitken was a son of the manse.  Reared in Lochgelly, educated at Dunfermline High School, he graduated in Arts at Edinburgh University, editing The Student on the way.  Thus the pattern was set for what was to follow.  No matter where he has pursued his library career, he has filled the unforgiving minute with some literary work on the side.  His first professional appointment was at the Scottish Central Library for Students at Dunfermline under the legendary W.E.C. Cotton and more specifically under the tutelage of a former schoolmate, Betty Murison.  Following the old adage “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” he joined Betty in matrimony just as war broke out, and the subsequent years were spent in the R.A.F. where he ended up as a technical librarian of the experimental establishment at Boscombe Down.  After demobilisation, the first step on the ladder-county librarian of the ‘Wee County,’ then a step over the (county) border to the ‘Big County.’  Experience gained in Clackmannan and Perthshire paved the way to Ayr County and lastly, or rather should we say presently, to the University of Strathclyde, to the School of Librarianship, where his accumulated knowledge and experience are helping to turn out future librarians.
-SLA News, January/February 1965

1966 R. Ogilvie MacKenna, MA, ALA
Librarian, University of Glasgow

Photograph of Provost H A Nicholson, Mrs Nicholson, R. O. MacKenna, Mrs MacKenna

Provost H A Nicholson, Mrs Nicholson, R. O. MacKenna, Mrs MacKenna

He is a “Paisley man who proceeded from the Grammar School to the University of Glasgow, where he graduated with First Class Honours in Classics, in a year in which several athletes distinguished themselves in their Finals.  His first post was in the Library of his old University where he was appointed Assistant Librarian early in 1936, becoming the Sub-Librarian in charge of the Brotherton Collection of Rare Books in Leeds University Library ten years later.  However, this interval was marked by a period of over six years’ service in the Navy, from which he returned with the rank of Lieutenant Commander… In 1947 he became Librarian of King’s College, Newcastle, then part of the University of Durham, and those who have visited the University Library in Newcastle, as it now is, may see the MacKenna extension now dwarfed by the massive addition of the early 1960’s.  From Newcastle he returned to become Librarian and Keeper of the Hunterian Books and Manuscripts in the University of Glasgow in 1951.
-SLA News, January/February 1966

1967 Marcus K. Milne, ALA, FSA Scot.
City Librarian, Aberdeen

Photograph of Marcus K Milne

“When I became the youngest member of the staff at Aberdeen Public Library in 1920, the then City Librarian, Mr G. M. Fraser, was the President of the Scottish Library Association.  If I had little thought then that I should succeed him as City Librarian in 1938, I certainly never thought I should one day be honoured by becoming President of the S.L.A.  It is an honour which I value most highly coming, as it does, very nearly the end of my career in librarianship.”
-Marcus K Milne, January/February 1967

1968 James W. Cockburn, FLA
City Librarian, Edinburgh

Photograph of James W. Cockburn

Jimmy Cockburn, Edinburgh’s Depute City Librarian, at 6 feet 3 ½ inches is probably the tallest Council member ever to be elected to the Scottish Library Association’s top office of President… Educated at George Heriot’s School, Jimmy joined the Edinburgh Public Libraries service as a junior assistant in the Savage Era and became successively Branch Librarian, Reference Librarian, Superintendent of Branch Libraries, and then Depute.  He was elected a Fellow of the Library Association in 1931 and is Assistant Senior Examiner for the L.A.’s Part I, Paper I (Organisation of Knowledge).  His career was interrupted from 1941-1946 when he served with the Royal Signals in England and abroad during world War II… P.S.-This profile, in deference to Jimmy’s abhorrence of the long-winded, has been deliberately shortened.
-SLA News, November/December 1967

1969 William Stewart, ALA, FSA, FRSA
Chief Librarian, Hamilton

Photograph of William Stewart

In his earlier years, William Stewart belonged to that group of assistants in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, referred to by a prominent librarian in the south as the “younger Glasgow school” which would make a distinctive mark in the profession.  Whatever the others of those days may have done, William Stewart has certainly made his presence felt in a way that has been recognised and appreciated by a wide circle of colleagues and friends in many parts of the country.

Born in Glasgow, his service in the Mitchell commenced in 1927, and his grounding in the technique of librarianship could not have been gained in a better field.  He remained there until 1940, when he was appointed Burgh Librarian in Hamilton.  Thus the road he took was from the west, slightly to the east, which is not the way the ancients said that wise men travel.  His work over the years at Hamilton, however, has proved him a man of many interests as well as a librarian of resource and energy… Mr. Stewart’s development of the library service in Hamilton is well known to all.  His remodelling of the Central Library and inauguration of branches have provided the townsfolk with facilities of the highest order and book provision which is second to none.
-SLA News, November/December 1969

1970 William E. Tyler, MA, FLA

Photograph of W.E. Tyler

W. E. Tyler, the first Englishman to become President of the Scottish Library Association for almost a quarter of a century, like his distinguished predecessor, W. E. C. Cotton-another Bill-has qualified himself for the office by identifying himself closely with the profession in Scotland over a period of some twenty years.  In was in 1950 that he was chosen to succeed W. B. Paton-a third Bill-as Head of the Scottish School of Librarianship, as it was called, in the old Glasgow and West of Scotland Commercial College.  At the time of his appointment, Bill Tyler was deputy city librarian of Salford where he had begun his career in librarianship as an assistant in the reference library.  His period at Salford had been interrupted, inevitably, by his five and a half years’ service in the Navy, service that was to have a decisive influence on his future, since he then met and married the Scots girl we know and love as Marie Tyler.  On his return to civilian life, Bill attended the Manchester Library School for two years when Clem Harrison was its Head.

W. E. Tyler, then, came to Scotland and the Scottish School of Librarianship in September 1950, and like Mr Paton before him he at first ran  the school single-handed… How the Scottish School of Librarianship evolved into the Department of Librarianship in the University of Strathclyde is a story we know well, but it is difficult to overestimate the part W. E. Tyler played in this development… It is his conviction that the study of librarianship in a university context should proceed side by side with the study to normal graduate standards of the students’ academic subject, and he deplores the creation of special ‘academic’ courses such as ‘English literature for librarians,’ ‘history for librarians,’ ‘German for bibliographers’ and the like.
-SLA News, November/December 1969 

1971 Neil R. McCorkindale, DFM, ALA
Chief Librarian, North East Scotland Library Service

Photograph of Neil R McCorkindale

“The aim of every librarian must be to foster through the reading of more and better books a wider, more discerning public able to exploit education and knowledge to enrich more fully their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.”
-Neil R. McCorkindale, November/December 1970

A native of Port Glasgow, Neil McCorkindale was educated at Port Glasgow and Greenock High Schools, before starting his career in Greenock Public Library in 1939.  He joined the R.A.F. in 1940 and served as a navigator in Bomber Command.  He was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Medal during 1943, and in 1946 Flying-Officer McCorkindale became a ‘founder member’ of the Scottish School of Librarianship- the ‘Creamery.’

After a period as a branch librarian in Greenock he spent three years in Stoke Newington, seventeen years as Burgh Librarian of Galashiels, six years as County Librarian of Aberdeenshire and two-and-a-half years as Chief Librarian of the North-East of Scotland Library Service.  As a practising librarian, he was very liberal and co-operative in his attitudes; shunning the parish pump and ruthlessly removing pettifogging restrictions, he ran his libraries with the minimum of regulation and rule.
-SLA News, January/February 1978

1972 David M. Lloyd, MA

Photograph of David M. Lloyd

David Myrddin Lloyd arrived on the Scottish library scene in 1953 (unheralded, with not even a mention in the SLA News).  He came from the National Library of Wales, where he had been a Senior Assistant Keeper, to take up an appointment as Keeper of Printed Books in the National Library of Scotland-a position he still holds with the added status of Keeper (National Scale) and, of course, with considerable distinction.  A few eye-brows were raised at the thought of a key library post in Scotland being given to a Welshman, but they were quickly lowered again when it was realised what a friendly colleague had arrived in their midst.  It was soon obvious, too, that his scholarship was of the very highest standard and that an excellent choice had been made in the appointment.
-SLA News, November/December 1972

1973 Duncan M. Torbet, FLA

photograph of Duncan M. Torbet

“The first half-century of the public library’s existence can be described as the period of benefaction, when private citizens made liberal gifts for buildings, fittings, books, and art and museum specimens.”
-Duncan M. Torbet, March/April 1973

“We should shake off some of our hesitations in using the words ‘recreational’ or ‘amenity,’ because we think that they are inferior descriptions of our work as compared with ‘educational,’ when educationalists are prepared to describe the extended use of their buildings and resources for the purpose as ‘amenities’.”
-Duncan M. Torbet, May/June 1973

1974 Elizabeth A. Liversidge, MBE, FLA  
First Female President  

County Librarian, Stirlingshire

Photograph of Elizabeth A. Liversidge

Betty’s professional career began in Glasgow Public Libraries in April 1932, where she worked as a junior assistant in the Mitchell Library. She moved on from Glasgow to the Borders, where for a few short months immediately after the war she was the County Librarian of Roxburghshire. In keeping with her modest personality she accepted that she still had much to learn about county library work and moved to an assistant’s post in a larger system. In Fife, she developed her skills and then moved to Stirlingshire in 1948, first as deputy and for the remaining years as chief… Betty closed her Presidential Address as the local government reorganisation of 1975 approached by saying, ‘I just find reading an essential skill, essential for the survival of the community and the individuality of us all.’-SLA News, December 2005

1975 William A. G. Alison, FLA
City Librarian, Glasgow

Photograph of William Alison

“We stand on a threshold of a year of change; a year during which everyone employed in public libraries will be affected to a greater or lesser extent; a year which will witness the greatest upheaval in the year of Scottish public libraries.  It will be a year of challenge for those entrusted with the task of directing the new services which will come into being in May; a year calling for the employment of professional skills of the highest order; a year requiring qualities of adjustment and, above all, leadership.”
-William A.G Alison, November/December 1974

An administrator with an artist’s eye he was the sort of caring librarian we do not have these days – and we are the worse off for that.”
-Andrew Miller, August 2005

1976 Matthew W. Paton, FLA
Librarian, Grampian Region Schools

Photograph of Matthew W Paton

“With each year that passes more teachers see the library resource centre as an extension of their classroom.  Even the examination system is evolving in a way which encourages research and self learning instead of class teaching.”
-Matthew W. Paton, January/February 1981

Our President, M.W. Paton, FLA, began his career in Clackmannan County and, after war service in the forces, he entered the Scottish School of Librarianship in Glasgow.  He returned to Clackmannan for a short time and then moved to take up the post of Burgh Librarian of Buckhaven/Methil.  From there he went on to become Aberdeen County Librarian.  His interest in the school library service, which was reflected in his work at Aberdeen, was given further impetus when he moved to Renfrew as County Librarian and inherited an already well established schools’ service.  This he developed further and it can be said that his experience in county libraries and his work for this Association, particularly on the Stimpson Committee make him an authority on library service to schools.  His insistence on the employment of qualified librarians in school libraries has ensured an effective voice for the Scottish Library Association on the Stimpson working party.  He is now Regional Schools Librarian for the Grampian Region.
-SLA News,  January/February 1976

1977 Walter McK. Murray, ALA
County Librarian, Clackmannanshire

Photograph of Walter Mck. Murray

Walter McKissock Murray was born and educated in Motherwell.  On leaving school in November 1928 he entered the library service of Lanarkshire County in Hamilton when the late Alfred Ogilvie was County Librarian.  He served with the Royal Air Force at home and in Europe from 1940 to 1945 and thereafter continued his career in Lanarkshire County till May 1949 when he was appointed to his present post as County Librarian with the new District Council on the re-organisation of Local Government Scotland.

He served on the County Libraries Group of the Library Association for a few years and was also a member and one-time President of the County Library Circle (Scotland).  He was first elected to the Scottish Library Association Council in 1957, carrying out the duties of Hon. Treasurer of the Association from January 1965 till December 1974, continuing as a Vice-President of the Association in 1975 and 1976, and now as President in 1977.
-SLA News, January/February 1977

1978 Peter Grant, ALA
City Librarian, Aberdeen
Burgh librarian, Falkirk

Photograph of Peter Grant

Peter Grant, a weel-kent figure in Scottish librarianship, was born and brought up in Greenock.  His professional career commenced in his home town where he worked in the Public Library from 1946-1950 with a year as a full-time student at the Scottish School of Librarianship in 1948-49.  He then progressed to Lanark County Libraries from 1950 to 1968 with a year in Brooklyn Public Libraries, U.S.A., in 1956-1957.  He was appointed Depute City Librarian in Aberdeen in 1968 and City Librarian in 1973.

His professional activities cover a wide span of interests.  From 1959-1967 he was a part-time lecturer at the Scottish School of Librarianship.  He edited SLA News from 1961-1966, was Press Officer for S.L.A. Council from 1969-73, was Secretary of the North of Scotland Branch from 1967-72, was elected to S.L.A. Council in 1974 and became Vice President in 1975.”
-SLA News,  January/February 1978

1979 W.H. Brown, ERD, MSc, FLA
City Librarian, Edinburgh

William started his library career in 1948 in Edinburgh Public Libraries and moved to become Assistant Librarian at the Scottish Office in Edinburgh in 1958.  He took up the post of Librarian at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh in 1960. William became the Deputy to the University Librarian at Heriot Watt University in 1967 and Principal Librarian at Moray House College of Education in 1969. He moved to the National Library of Scotland as Assistant Keeper in 1973 and was promoted to Keeper in 1974. William retired from the NLS in 1986 and went to live in Australia.
-Information Scotland, August 2003

1980 Alan G.D. White, FLA, FBIM
City of Edinburgh Libraries

Photograph of Alan D White

Alan White made a huge contribution to librarianship and made friends in the process. Educated at George Watson’s College, he worked briefly in the family motor business, then joined Edinburgh City Libraries in 1956, spending his whole career there. He worked as Branch Librarian, Scottish Librarian and Reference Librarian before becoming Depute City Librarian. He always retained an interest in branch libraries and enjoyed working with architects, designers and booksellers to build or restore a library; several libraries still testify to his flair.  It is for his contribution to our professional organisation that we owe Alan most. Throughout his career, he held office in the Scottish Library Association (SLA) and the Library Association (I adopt the terminology in force when Alan served), and was proud of what he called his ‘professional triple crown’ – the presidency of the Association of Assistant Librarians (1972), the Scottish Library Association (1980) and the Library Association (1989). Elected an Honorary Member of SLA in 1977, he was also an Honorary Vice President of CILIPS.
-Information Scotland, October 2006

1981 Alex Howson, ALA Burgh
Librarian, Falkirk

Photograph of Alex Howson

“Improvement will come in the field of public librarianship in Scotland.  It will not be brought about by legislation, but by people in individual libraries working with enthusiasm and conviction.”

“If we concentrated more on some of the publicity tricks which are used by department stores and others to sell their wares we might find that libraries would be used by larger numbers of the public than they are at present.”
-Alex Howson, January/February 1981, January/February 1981

Alex Howson was educated in Motherwell in the 1940s and 1950s, where he attended Dalziel High School.  In 1956 he began work as a Library Assistant with Lanark County Library, which he claims was the most active library service in Scotland.  W.B. Paton was the County Librarian at the time. There was an immense amount of encouragement to younger people to show initiative, and that enthusiasm  and energy rubbed off on him. After completing his National Service in the early 1960s, he went to library school. Upon graduation, he wanted to broaden his library experience.  He left Lanark County after a brief spell working as a part-time lecturer at the Scottish School of Librarianship to go to Stafford County Library where he worked as the Students’ and Reference Librarian for 2 years.  His next job was the Depute County Librarian of Aberdeen County Library for another two years. Following that, he became the Burgh Librarian of Falkirk.  He began his activities in the professional field by becoming Honorary Secretary of the Scottish Division of the Association of Assistant Librarians and was the Editor of the SLA News for two years in 1970-1971.  When elected president of SLA, he worked as the Director of Libraries and Museums, Falkirk District Council.
-SLA News, January/February 1981

1982 Michael C. Head, BA, ALA
School of Librarianship, Robert Gordon Institute of Technology

Photograph of Michael C Head

Michael Head had a mandatory stint in the National Service, after which he worked in several positions until 1964 when he started working for Leeds Reference Library.  In 1970, he took the train north and began work at Robert Gordons University. He was secretary of the SLA between 1976-1980. He was a Senior Lecturer and an Open University graduate at the time of his presidency.  After ten Aberdonian winters under his belt, he became an English President of the Scottish Library Association in 1982.
-SLA News, January/February 1982

1983 J. Michael Smethurst, BA, ALA
Librarian, University of Glasgow

Opening Conference officially, Mike Smethurst delivered his Presidential Address to a sizeable audience.  Mindful of the Association’s past, Mr Smethurst found time to call for ‘a new dynamic approach to library and information work and services.’ While he saw legislation as a possible means to reshaping the future of libraries in Scotland, he emphasised that progress could be achieved by ‘strengthening our cooperative regional or area groupings to break down unreal barriers, by a much greater sharing of costs and effort’.
-SLA News, July/August 1983

1984 Andrew Miller, MA, FLA
City of Glasgow Libraries

Photograph of Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller, former Director of Libraries and Archives, Glasgow City Council, was one the outstanding public librarians of his generation. Born in Hamilton, he started his long career in Hamilton Public Library in 1954. After serving two years in National Service, he returned to Hamilton, completed his professional qualifications and took up the post of branch librarian. He moved to Glasgow in 1962, working in the Mitchell Library when, in 1965, he was appointed Depute Burgh Librarian of Motherwell. In 1967 he became a Fellow of the Library Association.  In 1974 he returned to Glasgow Corporation as Depute City Librarian under Bill Alison. Following local government reorganisation in 1975 he was appointed Depute Director of Libraries for the new Glasgow District Council. In 1981, on Bill Alison’s retiral, he became Director of Libraries, a post he held until, as Director of Libraries and Archives in the new unitary authority of Glasgow City Council, he retired in 1998.
-SLA News, December 2006

1985 Gavin N. Drummond, MBE, ALA
Angus Public Libraries

Photograph of Provost John McGhee, Richard Stewart, Lady Provost Mrs McGhee, Norman Turner, George Cunningham, Gavin Drummond, Robert Craig at the official opening of SLA offices

Provost John McGhee, Richard Stewart, Lady Provost Mrs McGhee, Norman Turner, George Cunningham, Gavin Drummond, Robert Craig

He started his library work in Dunfermline, then moved to Perth and Kinross where he had a break while attending library school in Glasgow, in those long distant days when there were only two members of staff.  After a short stay in Perth City he moved to Bedfordshire for an enjoyable five years as Area Librarian, first at Houghton Regis, a London overspill area, and then at Dunstable. He moved back to Scotland in 1970 to Aberdeenshire, and had four ‘lively’  years at a time of considerable expansion of all aspects of that service, with new branches, additional mobile libraries, and great school library developments. Working there with the late Neil McCorkindale was, Gavin considers, a great experience.   1973 saw the move to Angus, first as County Librarian where he was the first professional librarian in post, then in 1974 as Director of Libraries and Museums for Angus District.
-SLA News, January/February 1985

1986 James (Jimmy) Orr, MA, FLA
Robert Gordon Institute of Technology

Photograph of Jimmy Orr and the Prizewinners

Photograph of Jimmy Orr and Prizewinners

James (Jimmy) Orr MA FLA was an outstanding figure in Scottish librarianship.  An adopted Aberdonian, he was born in Motherwell on 19 August, 1926. He entered the Fleet Air Arm in 1944 an, on his release, joined Lanark County Library in 1947 as trainee.  He obtained his professional qualifications, as was then the norm, through part-time study and it was during his stay with Lanark County that he began to acquire what was to become a lifelong interest in professional education, undertaking part-time teaching at the then Glasgow Library School from 1951.  In 1957, having obtained the Fellowship of the Library Association he moved to Loughborough Technical College to lecture full-time and then, in 1965, obtained a senior lecturer post at Manchester Polytechnic.  In 1967 he was appointed as the first Head of the newly-formed School of Librarianship at the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology in Aberdeen. During his 20 years as Head of School, Jimmy Orr orchestrated many significant innovations, including an honours degree, a postgraduate diploma and higher degrees by research
-SLA News, May/June 1998

1987 Alice A. MacKenzie, FLA  

Photograph of Alice Mackenzie

“How does one summarise the wealth of experience and pleasure which has been contained in this my Presidential year.  When Jimmy Orr said to me that if I had such a year as he had I could be in Wonderland, I was able to respond that working in libraries had always been to me like Wonderland.”
-Alice A. MacKenzie, January/February 1988

1988 Joseph D. Hendry, MA, FLA, FSA Scot., FBIM
Renfrewshire Public Libraries

Photograph of Joseph Hendry

“It is not our job merely to lend books: it is our job to encourage people to read, to think, to decide for themselves, to have the information they require to help them cope with everyday life.  That, in my view, is our job. We must appreciate, and believe in, the importance not merely of books-but of what books contain-and their contribution to the quality of people’s lives.”
-Joseph D. Hendry, May/June 1981

1989 A.R. McElroy, MA, MBA, FLA
Napier College

Photograph of A. R. McElroy, James Blair and George Mo

A. R. McElroy, James Blair and George Mo

“Whatever a President’s person interest and experience may be, he heads an Association concerned with libraries of all types.”
-A.R McElroy, March/April 1981

Rennie McElroy has spent his career in college libraries, serving since 1968 at Napier College where he is the Chief Librarian.  He chaired the Libraries in Education Committee where he coined the acronym LIE, from its establishment until 1985. “He sees a relationship between individual members and the professional body which can benefit each in turn.  A strong professional body, supported by able people, is better able to plead the case publicly for the whole profession; this makes for a better funded, better staffed libraries. In their turn, more members will support a body see to be effective, and thus make it easier for the body to help them.
-SLA News, March/April 1986

1990 H.J. Heaney, MA, FLA  
University of Glasgow-Hunterian Books & Manuscripts

“By the privilege of fronting the Association from Glasgow in its year as European City of Culture, I am deeply honoured.”                           

H.J Heaney-January/February 1990

Henry Heaney, Librarian and Keeper of the Hunterian Books and Manuscripts at Glasgow University.  It would be a mistake, however, to underestimate this most genial Irishman, who hold double degrees and the Fellowship of the Library Association.  From his early days as an assistant librarian at Queen’s University, Belfast, he has progressed at a steady rate, advancing from the post of Deputy Librarian of the New University of Ulster, Assistant Secretary of the Standing Conference of National and University Libraries (SCONUL), Librarian of Queen’s University, Librarian and Director of the School of Librarianship at University College, Dublin until taking up his post in 1978.
-SLA News, January/February 1990

1991 Margaret J. Toppin, (nee Sked) BA, ALA  
Strathclyde Region-Education Resources Services

“In particular, during the last decade, I have witnessed the growing awareness of the need for high quality resourcing in schools to match the needs of the modern curriculum.  It has been a great pleasure to note the development of an appreciation in education authorities for the potential and expertise of information providers.”
-Margaret. J Toppin, January/February 1991

1992 Brian D. Osborne, BA, ALA, MBIM, FSA Scot.
Strathkelvin District Libraries

Photograph of Brian Osborne and Alan Massie

Brian Osborne and Alan Massie

“Guidance note to future Presidents. Leap years give you an extra day to be a success or failure in. I would recommend 1996 and 2000 to the ambitious and far-sighted.”
-Brian Osborne, January/February 1992

Brian’s involvement with research, writing and publication had started with local history titles produced by Dumbarton Libraries. He continued this interest in Midlothian where he enthusiastically introduced a publications programme which featured both facsimile reprints of out-of-print local works and new titles based on original research. At the same time, as the SLA’s Publications Officer, he broke new ground, commissioning new Scottish-interest titles which often provided a showcase for the local studies collections of Scotland’s public library authorities.

Thereafter, Brian really got into his stride; he published three biographies – Braxfield, the hanging judge?, The Ingenious Mr. Bell, The Last of the Chiefs; these were highly original works in contrasted fields. He collaborated with Ronnie Armstrong in the compilation of various Scottish literary anthologies; he edited, introduced and annotated many of the works of Neil Munro and wrote several other books on different topics. He was also a regular contributor of articles on matters of Scottish heritage and history to a number of journals, particularly The Scots Magazine. Two plays, again written with Ronnie Armstrong, were staged at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews and at Perth Theatre. All of those activities have secured for Brian a lasting place in Scotland’s cultural life. His final full-length work, a study of the Home Guard in Scotland is due for publication in the spring of 2009.
-Information Scotland, August 2008

1993 I. Joy Monteith BA, ALA, FSA Scot.
Inverclyde District Libraries

Photograph of I. Joy Monteith and Charles Deas

Joy Monteith and Charles Deas

“The association of ideas, however, makes me ponder on the word association, and its significance in the term SLA.  In my first two months as President I have had the good fortune to encounter various strands of activity which make up our organisation.”
-Joy Monteith, March/April 1993

Joy Monteith obtained the title Chief Librarian and Cultural Services Officer of the Inverclyde District Library Authority in 1978 and readily admits to ‘loving her work.’ She started her career as a trainee in Greenock in 1967, and after attending RGIT during its pioneer days of 1968-1970 she returned to Greenock to be involved with reference and music library work.  Appointed Depute Chief Librarian of the new Inverclyde District at reorganisation, she gained an OU degree in the Arts prior to her present appointment. For relaxation, Joy loves music, especially classical and rock, and keenly anticipates each Edinburgh Festival.
-SLA News, May/June 1986

1994 Ellen Dickie, BA, ALA
Central Regional Council School Library Services

Photograph of Ellen Dickie

“I certainly sometimes feel that if I am not altogether in with the bricks, then at least I might be part of the foundations.  It is certainly testament to the democratic process that someone who dares to move that there be no smoking at SLA Council meetings should ever become President! I was only following in the footsteps of Comenius who, as you all know, said that there was nothing in your mind that had not come first through your senses.”
-Ellen Dickie, January/February 1994

1995 Ann Saunders, BA, ALA, MIMgt
Renfrew District Council Libraries

Photograph of Anne Saunders

“There are two aspects to the new technology question for librarians – first of all we must consider how new technology can improve the services we offer to the public, and secondly how we can help to make new technology, particularly in the field of computing, less intimidating to the man in the street.”
-Ann Saunders, November/December 1984

“The time is ripe for us to cast off our traditional shackles of modesty and diffidence, and demonstrate that we have the confidence to go for it – whatever it may turn out to be – Slainte!”
-Ann Saunders, May/June 1995

1996 John Hunter, ALA
Shetland, Isles Council Libraries

Photograph of John Hunter

“As for myself – to avoid the rigours of winter as a painter’s assistant I accepted a post as library assistant in the then Zetland County Library in 1968, completing my LA examination at the Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology, School of Librarianship in 1992.

I was fortunate enough to become branch librarian of Tranent thereafter opening a custom-built building in the centre of the civic square – then moving on to Library Headquarters as Assistant County Librarian in 1974.

Then came 1975 and re-organisation – new staffing structures, increased staff, larger book fund – it was wonderful. But, within 18 months, back to Shetland as Chief Librarian and here I have stayed.”
-John Hunter, January/February 1996

1997 William N. Bell BA, ALA
City of Glasgow Libraries

Photograph of William N Bell

“I am the Depute Director of Libraries and Archives for Glasgow City Council, for whom I have worked since 1963.  Over the years, I have worked in a variety posts and in many different areas of the city. Since 1982 when I took up my present position I have been fortunate to be involved in managing, what I consider to be one of the finest public library services based in the UK.  Biased, moi?”
-William N. Bell, January/February 1997

1998 Ian McGowan BA
National Library of Scotland

Photograph of Ian McGowan

“I have been extremely fortunate in that my career in the National Library, which I joined in 1971, has allowed me to take on a variety of jobs.  Most of these have brought me into contact with colleagues from other types of libraries throughout Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”
-Ian McGowan, January/February 1998

1999 Elizabeth (Liz) J.B. Knowles MA, ALA  Perth &
Kinross Council Libraries

Photograph of Liz Knowles

“I believe it’s important to get involved in professional matters when we can and to work together in developing our role, raising our profile and building a sense of professional identity.”  “My professional life has been in schools education – starting out as a school librarian, and now working as an Educational Development Officer. At times, it’s seemed a difficult and frustrating task but overwhelmingly, I’ve found it challenging and stimulating – certainly never dull!  Along the way I’ve been privileged to work with some very talented and dedicated colleagues, who have helped to shape my view of schools, libraries and learning. As a result, my commitment to the development of school libraries has continued to strengthen.”
-Elizabeth J.B. Knowles, January/February 1993

2000 Colin D. Will PhD, BA, FLA, MIInfSc
Royal Botanic Gardens 

Photograph of Colin D Will

“New Year, New Millenium, New President, and the first thing new prezzies always have to grapple with is the business of trying to make the column as readable as John MacRitchie’s.  Not an easy job.”
-Colin D Will, January/February 2000

“I have a confession to make: I am an indexer, no, I am an Indexer, a fully-fledged member of the Society of Indexers, one of those unusual beings who sits alone in darkened rooms, in front of a flickering screen, looking for obscure and arcane words.  The job has changed a lot since I started indexing in the ‘70s, when many indexers had to cut up little strips of typescript paper and put them in order, working in rooms where you couldn’t open a window for fear of draughts undoing all your good work.”
-Colin D Will, March/April 2000

2001 Stuart James BA, FRSA, FCLIP
University of Paisley Library

Photograph of Stuart James

“The last few years have been a useful prelude to my presidential year: in pursuance of University policy I first involved our library service with various FE colleges, then with nursing colleges across Ayrshire/Arran and Argyll/Clyde.  Now, in the last couple of years I have become involved with school libraries through the University’s PASS scheme, and with public libraries across West and South West Scotland as we take higher education out to the local community.”
-Stuart James, Issue 85, 2000

2002 Derek G. Law, MA, FLA, FKC, FIInfSc
University of Strathclyde

Photograph of Derek Law

“So, born in 1947, school in Arbroath and later Edinburgh (Knock knock.  Who’s there? Emma. Emma who? Emma Watsonian), medieval history at Glasgow University then library school at Strathclyde.  Conventional progression through the ranks at St Andrews, Edinburgh and London before returning to Strathclyde University in 1998.  Turned my hand to most things – cataloguing, serials, reader services, medical libraries, IT of various sorts. A big mouth and a taste for bad jokes led to LA Council, IFLA, travelling, writing and lecturing.  Hobbies: naval history (writing); reading (detective fiction, Patrick O’Brien, Flashman, naval history…); suffering on behalf of Arbroath FC and West Ham, good restaurants; a bottle of Scapa; Eric Clapton and Bessie Smith.”
-Derek G. Law. Issue 91, 2002

2003 G. Alistair Campbell MA BCom MCLIP  
Moray Council Libraries

In short, I am incredibly fortunate to work for a local authority and communities which recognise the importance of public libraries in their daily lives. Professionally I am privileged to be working in libraries at one of the most exciting times in their history.”
-G. Alistair Campbell , February 2003

2004 Moira Methven MCLIP  
Dundee Council Libraries

Peter Reid & Moira Methven

“Who am I and what do I do? I’m Senior Manager in the Communities Department of Dundee City Council. As well as being Head of Library and Information Services, my other responsibilities include adult learning, community centres and youth work. My mother worked in libraries too, so they have always been an important part of my life.”
-Moira Methven, February 2004

Huge congratulations from all at CILIPS to Moira Methven, SLIC Company Secretary, who has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to Libraries in Dundee.”
-Information Scotland, June 2016

2005 Alastair R. Johnston BA, FSA Scot., MCLIP  
Operation Manager, Dumfries & Galloway Council Libraries  

“I am sure you will agree with me that libraries have already played a major role in making Scotland’s people both smarter and more successful.”
-Alastair R. Johnston June 2005

2006 Ivor Lloyd, BA, DipLib, MLIB, MCLIP  
University of Abertay

“I firmly believe that librarians are among the most collaborative of all the professional groupings and the environment is now such that we should be exploiting this strength to the full.”

“For those of you who do not know me, I’m Depute Principal at the University of Abertay Dundee, where I’ve worked for over 20 years, first as Depute Librarian, then Librarian, and then Head of Information Services. Before that I was an Academic Librarian at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Assistant Librarian at Kirkcaldy Technical College and in the long and distant past as a trainee in Hawick Public Library. I was Honorary Treasurer for the Information Services Group for many years, was on the old SLA Council, and have served on the Scottish Library and Information Council Management Committee. I have also been a Trustee of the National Library of Scotland for over five years, a fascinating experience given the enormous organisational change in the NLS over that period.”
-Ivor Lloyd, February 2006

2007 Christopher Phillips BA, MCLIP  
Highland Council Libraries

“For those of you who may not know me here is something about what I do and how I’ve got here. My pre-library school experience was at the University of London Library but after qualifying I cut my professional teeth in public libraries as a Reader’s Advisor in Hereford where I also had responsibility for the music collections. From there I went to Northamptonshire for a joint post in the Leisure and Libraries Service promoting concerts and supporting music organisations in the county as well as managing music and audiovisual library services, later taking the responsibility for forming and managing a new Resources Section. From there I migrated north to manage support services for Highland Libraries. My main priority was to automate the library system and it was exciting to be at the forefront of developments in EDI. Since then I have progressed through a number of jobs in Highland, each gaining wider remits.  My current job is as Lifelong Learning Manager for the Highland Council where I am responsible for Libraries, Information, Archives, Adult Learning and Adult Literacy. I work within an integrated Education, Culture and Sport Service and so a good deal of my time is spent in partnership working. It’s good to be able to make links across sectors even if breaking out of silos takes more time and effort than I expect!”

“We’re so used to dealing with information day-by-day that we may overlook the impact it has on us and our customers. What to us is routine information may be life-changing to them.”
-Christopher Phillips, February 2007

2008 Alan Hasson, MA MBA, DipLib, MCLIP  
Scottish Borders Council Libraries

“To those of you who don’t know me, a brief resume. Following university, I started work in the Special Collections of Glasgow University Library, recording – cataloguing would be far too grand a word – collections of Whistler-related letters and ephemera. Towards the end of the project the offer of a position in the Sudan came up, and Kate and I went off to Rufaa, about 100 miles up the Blue Nile from Khartoum. I retain from that time gratitude and respect for the vast majority of the people we met, who were generous with what they had and made a stranger welcome. I also became very aware of just how privileged Scotland is in having local and national democracy (annoying though that can be for us bureaucrats) and that the BBC is a jewel. On my return I started working for Renfrew District. I had the good luck to be sent, as my first professional post, to help open the new Ferguslie Park Library in a team which included librarians, youth workers and teachers. It was what a public library should be, indeed what local government should be: a service which evolved, was innovative, above all it was relevant to the local population and therefore was heavily used by them.

I had various positions in Renfrew District, before being appointed as Chief Librarian at Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and then at local government reorganisation as Head of Service in East Ayrshire. A prominent lesson I learnt in all these and later posts was perhaps simple, but it’s a constant: structures and policies, checks and balances, are there to support the talent of staff to deliver to the needs and wants of their communities, but, they have a siren like danger of becoming the prime concern.

I came to the Scottish Borders in 1998 and since then have changed jobs four times. Currently my title is Head of Community Services, which takes in Libraries, Museums, Arts, Community Learning and Development, Sport and Physical Education and various multi-disciplinary initiatives.”
-Alan Hasson, February 2008

2009 Margaret Forrest MA MSc, FCLIP, FSA Scot, FHEA  
University of Edinburgh

“I’d like to introduce myself, tell you something about my history, interests and the key themes which I hope to explore as President of CILIPS.  Anyone who is familiar with Aileen Paterson’s Maisie books will have an inkling of the suburb of Edinburgh where I grew up, went to school and joined the local library. My gap year between school and university was spent working in the Undergraduate Reading Room of Edinburgh University Library, a wonderful introduction to the library which I would be using for the next few years as an undergraduate student. A postgraduate year of library studies at Strathclyde University followed and it was during this time that I read and was greatly influenced by Mona Going’s book, Hospital Libraries and Work With the Disabled in the Community.

Over the next 25 years I worked in a wide range of health care libraries, starting with the Medical Library of Edinburgh University at the Western General Hospital and later moving on to my first professional post as Hospital Librarian of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where I was responsible for library services to patients in addition to a number of departmental libraries. During a brief ‘career break’ when I was at home looking after my two daughters, I began working freelance for a number of health educationalists. By 1991 I was working for the Health Education Board for Scotland (now NHS Health Scotland) and became Library Services Manager there in 1994. A highlight of my time at HEBS was working with a winning library team which gained Charter Mark, the Government’s award for excellence in public service in 1998 and 2001.

I moved into higher education in 2003 when I took up the post of Fife Campus Librarian at the University of Dundee. At this university I was privileged to work with some very inspiring people in learning and teaching and it was there that I completed my Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education. Last year I was delighted to return to Edinburgh University, to take up my current post of Academic Liaison Librarian for the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.”
-Margaret Forrest, February 2009

2010 Chris Pinder BA, Mlib, FCLIP
Napier University

Photograph of Chris Pinder

“Times are indeed difficult but I believe that CILIPS is capable of rising to the challenge and has already acknowledged through its strategies and plans where it needs to prioritse for success.”
-Chris Pinder, Annual Report 2010

You can also read more on our President blog archive

2011 Alan Reid MA, MCLIP

Photograph of Alan Reid

Alan grew up and went to University in Dundee (graduating in Modern History). His first post was a trainee Librarian with Lanark County Library Service where he was based in Bishopbriggs Library for a year before pursuing a postgraduate librarianship qualification at Strathclyde University.

Thereafter he returned to the local authority as Assistant Librarian working for six rich and varied years in reference, local studies, archives and museum services before taking up a promoted post as Senior Librarian, Reference Services with Moray Council.

After five years or so Alan joined Midlothian Council as Depute District Librarian, working with Brian Osborne, who he succeeded as Library Services Manager.  Alan remained at Midlothian Council for the next 20 years before taking early retirement.

Alan is an Honorary Member and Honorary Vice President of CILIPS. He was appointed CILIPS President in 2011 and served as Chair of CILIPS Trustee Board in 2012. Throughout his professional life and  into retirement, he has retained a particular interest in local studies and the support that public libraries can give to local creative writers.

For many years Alan served as  CILIPS’ Honorary Publications Officer and oversaw the publication of a number of titles of both professional and general Scottish interest.  In recognition of that work, he was awarded Honorary Membership of CILIPS in 2000. Since his retirement he has been involved in several editing projects, of which ‘Voices of Scottish Librarians’ is one.

“Undoubtedly, there remains issues for us to address, particularly in terms of further developing working together as a profession and of CILIPS’ engagement with members.  Nevertheless, many CILIPS members have a clear understanding of the importance of their services.”
-Alan Reid, Annual Report, 2011

You can also read more on our President blog archive

2012 Peter Reid BA(Hons), PhD, FSA Scot   
The Robert Gordon University

Peter Reid & Graeme Hawes

“I chose Enriching Society as the theme for 2012 and this was because I felt it summed up what libraries do.  They are catalysts for change and enhancement in a way that is perhaps quite unlike any else.  I also chose that theme because I felt it was important, when the economic situation is so gloomy, that we celebrate the contribution which our services and our people make to wider society.”
-President’s Blog, January 2013

Peter Reid served as President throughout 2012 in one of the most difficult periods of CILIPS’s history – the disaggregation from the working partnership with SLIC. Peter played a key role in setting the new direction for CILIPS as well as carrying out his presidential duties. Throughout he provided a model of professionalism and good humour while never ducking away from some difficult decisions. His love for the profession is clear in all that he does and CILIPS is extremely proud of the presidential example he set. His dedication to CILIPS is evident in all that he does and the level of support he has given (and continues to give) to our organisation. When not working for CILIPS Peter is Professor of Librarianship and Head of Department of Information Management at Robert Gordon University where he is responsible for the academic direction of the Information Management discipline within the School. He leads the Information Services module and jointly teaches the Information Governance module on the MSc Information Management. Peter is also responsible for the specialist Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module on Local Studies Collection Management.”
-Honorary Member Announcement 2013

You can also read more on our President blog archive

2013 Audrey Sutton, MA(Hons), DipLib, PhD, MCLIP
North Ayrshire Libraries

Audrey is currently Head of Service (Education and Skills), Community and Culture at North Ayrshire Council but it is for her work as CILIPS President in 2013 that we are honouring her today. Audrey took up the presidency in a year of great change for CILIPS and carried out her role with professionalism and care. Audrey’s theme for her presidential year was ‘Making a difference’ and she certainly did that by planning one of our best attended conference ever. During her year she visited Branches and UK conference always making sure that she used every opportunity to remind all our stakeholders just how important libraries are, and providing all the arguments as to why libraries should continue to be a priority, using her wider experience to set them in the context of early intervention, prevention and community empowerment.”
-Honorary Member Announcement 2014

2014 Robert Ruthven MA, DipLIS, MCLIP
Director of Library Services Glasgow Caledonian University

Photograph of Robert Ruthven

Robert is currently Director of Library Services at Glasgow Caledonian University although his career has seen him hold posts across schools, public libraries and higher education. As CILIPS President he was a key member of the Public Libraries National Strategy Group.
Honorary Member Announcement 2015


2015 Jeanette Castle MA(Hons) DipILS, MCLIP
West Lothian Council Libraries

Photograph of Jeanette Castle

2015 was very eagerly awaited for me as I became President of CILIP in Scotland. I cannot say just how proud I am of holding this office and my mission is to support the profession in Scotland and to speak up for the value that librarians bring to all our communities, both in our workplaces and in our living places. Those of you that have met me already, will know just how much I care about making a positive difference in people’s lives through libraries.”
-Jeanette Castle, March 2015

Jeanette is Library Services Manager at University of West of Scotland

Jeanette was previously Head of Library  and Heritage Services for West Lothian Council.  She has senior management experience in both South Ayrshire  and West Lothian Councils. Jeanette is a passionate believer in the power of  public libraries to make a difference in people’s lives, and in free, open and  accessible access to reading, learning and information to all people.

2016 Theresa Breslin MCLIP
Award Winning Children’s Author

Photograph of Theresa Breslin

Theresa is being honoured today for her work in promoting reading and libraries.   In her role as a children’s author  she has published over forty books and won the Carnegie medal. She has served on the Board of Scottish Book Trust, the Advisory Committee for Public Lending Right in the UK and coordinated the Scottish Writers Project. During 2016, in her role as CILIPS President, she has offered encouragement and inspiration to the membership throughout Scotland and continues to contribute to the work of CILIP in Scotland as a member of our Trustee Board.

-Honorary Member Announcement 2017

2017 Liz McGettigan BA, MCLIP
Director of Digital Libraries Experience, SOLUS UK

Photograph of Liz McGettigan

CILIP in Scotland President has been featured in the Tech 100 as well as being named as a ‘Woman of Inspiration’ on the Association of Scottish Businesswomen Honours List 2017.

“An inspirational self-motivated leader in the digital, library and information world. Liz has a proven track record of driving and delivering outstanding leadership capabilities at a senior level.  Dedicated and passionate about libraries.  As Head of Libraries and Information Services with City of Edinburgh Council Liz delivered dynamic change and led rapid strategic business development and performance improvement.  Success in culture, literacy, electronic information, web design and content development, ICT learning, digital and social inclusion.  Liz has hands on experience of designing and developing digital initiatives to improve performance modernisation, efficiency and transformation of services.  Liz delivered Scotland and Edinburgh’s first ever fully online service and social media suite and demonstrates examples of improving the education and learning process via the utilization of ICT and to reinforce the 21st century skills to build an ICT-based community. 

Liz McGettigan is Director of Digital Library Experiences at SOLUS UK, an award-winning Digital Library and Information Specialist and a leader in the future library and transformation movement.”
-CILIP website

2018 Margaret Menzies BA, MLib, MCLIP
Library Services Manger, Scottish Borders Council

After receiving her PGDip in Librarianship Margaret began her career as a trainee librarian with Dunfermline District Council, at the Central Library in Abbot Street. After three years in Dunfermline, Margaret gained her Chartership and was appointed by West Lothian District Council to the post of Branch Librarian in Bathgate where she remained for 18 years, as a branch librarian, a Staff and Stock Manager and latterly as an Area Manager, before moving to Scottish Borders Council as Library Services Manager in 2000.

Margaret joined CILIP at library school, and served on the CILIPS East Branch committee for approximately 20 years.

2019 Yvonne Manning MA, DipLib, MCLIP

Principal Librarian, Falkirk Council

In her role as Principal Librarian, Yvonne manages the Learning Resource Service and is part of the Curriculum Support Team. She is also the Bookbug Co-ordinator, key contact for the Read Write Count initiative, rep on the National Literacy Network (Education Scotland) and a member of the Regional Improvement Collaborative group on Creating a Reading Culture.

Yvonne’s love of working with schools has continued throughout her successful career during which she has worked as a school librarian for Biggar High School, a primary librarian in Central Region and in the Falkirk Council school library service. At the start of her career, she spent two years working as a librarian at the National Library of Sudan.

Yvonne has long been an actively engaged member of the wider profession. She is Chair of the CILIPS Central Branch, has been a CKG judge and has been chair of Youth Libraries Group Scotland. She also chaired the CILIPS School Library Advocacy Group.

2020 Martina McChrystal BA, MCLIP

Director of Library Services, University of Glasgow

After completing her BA in Library and Information Studies with Music, Martina went on to become Principal Library Officer for Music at City of Edinburgh Council, before being appointed Partnership and Information Manager in 2007. From 2013-15, she served as Edinburgh’s Libraries and Information Services Manager, the strategic lead for all aspects of public library provision in Edinburgh with responsibility for the direction, development and promotion of 28 libraries. Martina became a Trustee for Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust in January 2014, and in 2018 she served as Chair of the Scottish Government’s National School Library Strategy Advisory Group. Her current role is as Director of Library Services at the University of Glasgow.

Follow Martina on Twitter here.

Click here for our International Women’s Day 2021 Twitter thread celebrating our woman Presidents from 1974 to the present day. 

2021 Cleo Jones 

Lifelong Learning Strategic Officer (Libraries), City of Edinburgh Council

Cleo JonesCleo is a senior Library Manager with a background in Schools and Children’s Libraries. In her current role as Lifelong Learning Development Officer, she has a wide remit that includes Children’s, school’s and mobile libraries. She is actively involved in Edinburgh’s Literacy Improvement Team and works hard to ensure that there are the best opportunities for all children and young people to develop their literacy to improve their life chances. She is also responsible for MacMillan @ Edinburgh Libraries and further health and wellbeing work in areas like Dyslexia, Autism and Hearing loss awareness. Cleo is currently chair of ELISA (Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency) and is co-chair of the Information Literacy Community of Practice.


2022 Amina Shah

National Librarian of Scotland

Amina has more than 25 years of experience in the library sector, including in public and academic libraries. As Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Library and Information Council, she led on the development of Scotland’s first National Strategy for Public Libraries, and as Director of Programme at the Scottish Book Trust, she worked to promote literacy and a diverse reading and writing community in Scotland. Amina has a strong interest in diversity and inclusion and in the role that libraries, literature and culture play in empowering individuals and communities. She became National Librarian of Scotland in October 2021, the first woman and the first person of mixed heritage to hold the post in history, and she will lead the Library as it celebrates its centenary in 2025.


2023 Richard Aird

Director of Service Delivery & Change at the University of Stirling

CILIPS 2023 President Richard Aird.Richard is the Director of Service Delivery & Change at the University of Stirling, where he is responsible for a wide portfolio of services including the University library and archives, IT service desk, Programme Management Office (PMO), digital learning and academic development. Richard has worked in higher education for over eight years and prior to that spent over a decade working in and managing public and school libraries. As an active contributor to the profession, Richard was a CILIPS Trustee between 2014 and 2022, including five years as Honorary Treasurer, and he is the current Chair of Academic & Research Libraries Group Scotland (ARLGS). He is a registered Assessor and Chair for the ‘How Good is our Public Library Service’ (HGIOPLS) standards framework and was the HE-sector representative member of the working group which supported the development of ‘Ambition & Opportunity’, the first ever National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland. Richard is currently a member of the management boards for both the Scottish Universities Press (SUP) and the HEFESTIS Unidesk shared service. Outside of work Richard has two young children, is a Scout leader and is the Chair of his local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

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