Media release: School librarian, Shelagh, just pipped to the top spot


ONE of Moray’s school librarians just missed out on the top accolade this week.

The UK School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s top honour that highlights the best practice of those whose work is deemed outstanding.

Elgin Academy librarian, Shelagh Toonen, was one of only three finalists from across the country, and the only Scottish one. Although she missed out on the top prize, her work with pupils was singled out as exemplary by judges.

“I was thrilled to be part of the 2017 award and to have my work in Elgin Academy recognised and celebrated,” she said.

“I whole-heartedly thank all in the school community for their support – my headteacher, David Barnett, my colleagues, our pupils, their parents and Moray Council.”

The multi-award winning author and illustrator, Chris Ridell, president of the SLA, presented the awards at the ceremony held on Monday 9 October in Worcester.

He told the audience he enjoyed a film made by Moray Council to support the judging, which he felt conveyed the energy and passion found within Elgin Academy school library. Pupils, colleagues and others took part in the film to show the wide range of activities Shelagh creates within the library.

View the film, here.

He went on to say that every school should have pupils like Jamie and Daniel (featured in the film) and that listening to, supporting and following up on pupils’ ideas is a highly commendable ‘madness’.

Elgin Academy head teacher, David Barnett, travelled to the ceremony with Shelagh and some pupils. After the ceremony, he said: “Shelagh is a winner in every way. She didn’t win today but is a wonderful librarian with a great accolade.

“She’s still the best librarian in Scotland. And some!”

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Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.

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