CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Meet the Shortlist – Jennifer Horan

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

Jennifer Horan, Community Librarian, South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture 

Jennifer has recently submitted her MPhil dissertation in Children’s Literature at the University of Glasgow, researching librarians’ understanding of bibliotherapy and how it is facilitated in a school library setting. Following this research, she supported Edinburgh and Glasgow school librarians to establish and implement their bibliotherapy programmes by delivering training sessions to librarians and pupils. Jennifer has also contributed articles to CILIP’s Youth Libraries Review journal, highlighting to a UK audience the work being done to support reading for wellbeing in Scottish schools, and she has presented sessions on reading for empathy at Youth Libraries conferences. She contributed a chapter on the role of Youth Libraries Group to the forthcoming book Literacy and Reading Programmes for Children and Young People: Case Studies from around the Globe. Jennifer is also currently representing Scotland’s school libraries in the Young People’s Regional Review Project pilot programme, run by Newcastle University and Seven Stories, which aims to teach critical evaluation skills to pupils shadowing the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.

This year whilst employed as a school librarian, Jennifer worked to set up a partnership between the school and public libraries in her authority, including an S1 library card drive. Jennifer has also worked with public library staff to develop a volunteer training programme for senior pupils, and to provide volunteer opportunities for their pupils’ community engagement award, such as assisting with Bookbug and supporting members of the public with ICT. During the last school term, Jennifer contributed to the first Teachers’ Reading Group run by her authority, supporting teachers to develop their knowledge of current children’s literature, and she has been invited to support a neighbouring authority’s TRG in the coming term.  In September this year, Jennifer began a seconded post in South Lanarkshire’s public library leadership team.

Jennifer has been an active member of the Youth Libraries Group Scotland committee since 2014, serving as social media editor, CKG representative, CILIPS representative, vice chair and chair (2018-2021), and currently as national representative. She has also been a member of the National Youth Libraries committee since 2018, and will this year take on the role of chair of judges for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. Jennifer represented YLG at CILIPS Council for two years and contributed blogs for the CILIPS website to celebrate Scotland’s influence on the Carnegie Medal. She has also chaired several children’s author events on behalf of YLG and CKG at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Wigtown Book Festival, and she will soon guest on the Royal Society of Literature’s ‘Only Connect’ podcast. Jennifer has been a CILIP Chartership mentor and a regular contributor to Scottish Book Trust, writing blogs promoting library services, creating school learning resources based on children’s fiction, and being appointed a ‘school champion’ when she was funded to hold a school event celebrating poetry. She also contributed to the School Library National Strategy Health and Wellbeing working group, as well as SLIC’s ‘How Good Is Our School Library’?

Our award shortlist judges were unanimous that Jennifer was a highly impressive candidate, highlighting the strong links she has created across diverse areas of the profession and the amazing amount of work involved in going over and above what her day job entails. The judges especially admired Jennifer’s commitment to professional outreach, branching out beyond the sector to engage and connect in ways that are of great benefit to libraries in general.

Many congratulations to Jennifer for her remarkable achievements this year and a very well-deserved place on the shortlist. For more on Scotland’s Library & Information Professional of the Year Award, please click here.

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