I’m a reader and collector of children’s books. As far as collecting goes, I specialise in girls’ books from the first half of the twentieth century, although I do collect some other things, too, including a personal selection of books from about 1850 to now. Back in the day I was the Chairman of the Youth Libraries Group in Scotland. YLG is the body that awards the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. (CILIP stands for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. You can see why it’s abbreviated!) The most exciting thing I’ve done professionally was to be on the judging panel for these awards. I love reading books and sharing them with other people and meeting their authors.
I’ve just given up my post as Young People’s Librarian at Moray Council in Scotland’s north-east, a job I enjoyed in a place I love. I was able to occasionally sneak out of the office to interact with children and teenagers and talk books with them and there’s nothing better. For nine years I was the children’s book reviewer for The Scotsman and I thoroughly enjoyed doing that too.
Now, I’m freelancing as a children’s book specialist, blogging, reviewing, writing articles and doing odd bits and pieces for BBC Scotland. And chairing events, most notably at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.