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Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year 2021

The Scottish Library and Information Professional of the Year Award graphic, showing the CILIPS logo in white in front of a blue, black and white background of a solar galaxy

CILIPS is delighted to announce the shortlist for Scotland’s Library & Information Professional of the Year 2021.

The three outstanding professionals shortlisted for the award are:

Presented by CILIP in Scotland and sponsored by Bolinda Digital, this annual recognition award is a cross-sectoral accolade honouring a CILIP member in Scotland for outstanding achievement and accomplishment in post. Find out more about our shortlisted professionals and their inspirational achievements, as well as a summary of the judging panel’s comments, by clicking on their names above. Many congratulations to Chloe, Jennifer and Alison!

After a challenging and competitive judging process, Chloe, Jennifer and Alison were selected from a longlist of six exceptionally talented professionals. Find details about them below:

  • Chloe Elder, Senior Library Assistant at St George’s School, Edinburgh. Chloe played a key role in the development of her school’s Book a Book recommendation and reservation service, as well as their Digital Reading Passport. Her programme of library lessons has included Navigating Non-Fiction, Exploring Graphic Novels and Celebrating Pride, and Chloe has also supported the diversification of her library’s collection through the production of BAME and LGBTQ+ reading lists, regular displays and listening to student feedback. She and the Senior Librarian presented on working in a school library through the pandemic at the CILIPS 2021 Conference. She has increased her library’s social media presence by 200 followers in just twelve months and is also chair of the CILIPS Students & New Professionals Community, which aims to support those new to the profession in Scotland through events, job postings, and networking.
  • Jacquelyn Else-Jack, Primary Outreach Librarian at Renfrewshire Libraries. Jacquelyn has created many innovative engagement programmes in post, including RIOT (Read It Out Time), in which numerous schools undertook a six week programme based on the work of a local author, Game On, Read On, Write Up! which worked alongside sports services to encourage the link between sport and reading, and Just the Ticket, to encourage P7 library use, which is now being expanded beyond the pilot project. Jacquelyn has also promoted the Summer Reading Challenge with enthusiasm, leading to Renfrewshire being placed 3rd in Scotland for highest sign ups.
  • Jennifer Horan, School Librarian, Biggar High School and Lanark Grammar School. Jennifer has transformed both schools she serves in terms of reader development and information literacy, despite the difficult conditions created by the pandemic, and has been a committee member of YLGS for a number of years, including recently as chair. Jennifer has also been the Scottish judge for the CKG Awards, soon taking up the prestigious position of CKG22 chair. She recently submitted her MPhil dissertation entitled ‘Extending librarians’ understanding of bibliotherapy and its application in a school library setting’, which has involved her training Edinburgh and Glasgow school librarians to deliver the Escape, Connect, Relate bibliotherapy initiative.
  • Alison McAllister, Library and Information Service Manager (North Ayrshire Council). Alison has championed engagement in every aspect of her library service’s work during the Covid-19 pandemic, managing a team who used 3D printers to make visors for NHS staff, worked at community hubs providing information to local residents about food parcels, and supported NHS employees at a mass vaccination centre. Alison led the pandemic digital access project with Connecting Scotland and has also ensured that her staff were supported through regular online meetings and by establishing a ‘Library Links’ newsletter.
  • Joy McLean, Senior Librarian, West College Scotland. Joy made varied and valuable contributions to CILIPS’s #LibrariesAreEssential campaign, including a poem that was featured in a presentation at the Next Library International Festival. Joy also maintains highly successful, active presences for her library on social media. After attending CILIPS21 as a delegate, she designed a wakelet filled with helpful resources for others to catch up on conference items then might have missed, as well as tweets and relevant links.
  • Bruce Ryan, Senior Research Fellow, Edinburgh Napier University. Bruce’s research played a key role in the pioneering and impactful CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project and he also coordinates the Research Impact Value and Library and Information Science (RIVAL) project, about which he spoke to CILIPS21 delegates in a conference parallel session. Despite pandemic restrictions, Bruce successfully transformed a series of four planned RIVAL events into well-received, interactive, novel and productive online experiences, and has inspired the project teams to deliver four outputs beyond what was anticipated in the original funding bid: an article on research-practice links, a RIVAL reunion in November 2021, a funding bid on digital skills development and a project evaluation report.


Our 2020 award winner was Clare Hemsworth, who was nominated for her outstanding contribution to creating a forward-looking school library service in Renfrewshire: working with the school libraries attainment team to enhance young people’s engagement with reading and introducing a variety of innovative digital developments. Congratulations Clare! For more on her achievements as well as those of the other three shortlisted professionals, please click here.

Clare Hemsworth is Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year 2020

Nominations for the 2021 Award closed on 31st July. Please see below to learn the criteria used for nominations and judging.


Nominations provided a short statement (100-300 words) on how they believe the nominee has performed to the highest level leading to outstanding contribution over the past 12 months or so.

Nominations will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Service development and/or innovation;
  2. Sector engagement (e,g public, school, academic, health etc) demonstrating a positive impact in terms of contribution to things like working groups, publications, training, project work etc.;
  3. Commitment to profession: advocacy, involvement in CILIPS Committee work, Council, Branches, Groups etc.

Achievements might include:

  • Responding to community and/or users needs;
  • Making the library and information service central to the mission and success of employing organisation;
  • Effective promotion of the library and information service;
  • Encouragement of reading and reader development;
  • Making a significant contribution to and impact on the sector;
  • Or something else that makes the person really stand out that is not listed above!


  • Must be current CILIPS members

Nomination Process:

CILIPS members can nominate a fellow member each year using our nominations form. Judging then takes place by a panel of experts.

Candidates must be nominated by another CILIPS member and you can only nominate one person.


Following the judging process, the successful candidate will be announced and presented with the award later in the year.

In addition, the prize winner will be given £500 of funding provided by our sponsor that can be used for professional development opportunities in 2022.

Information about our award sponsor: Bolinda Digital

Bolinda Digital is an industry leading audiobook publisher, supplying libraries with audiobook content for over 30 years.  Bolinda’s innovative lending platform BorrowBox, is the number one solution in the UK and offers a complete end-to-end service to libraries, with the best and most exclusive range of eAudiobooks and eBooks, since digital lending began. BorrowBox allows users to browse, download and borrow eContent in one easy to use app. It is the library that never closes.


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