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Elgin librarian highly commended at 2024 Bookbug Hero Awards

By Ewan Malcolm

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AN Elgin librarian has been highly commended at the 2024 Bookbug Hero Awards.

Laura Atkinson, a library and information assistant at Elgin Library, has been delivering Bookbug sessions since 2017.
Laura Atkinson, a library and information assistant at Elgin Library, has been delivering Bookbug sessions since 2017.

Laura Atkinson, a library and information assistant, has been delivering Bookbug sessions since 2017.

Bookbug is Scotland’s universal book gifting programme for 0–5-year-olds, through which every child in Scotland receives four free book bags by their first year at school.

Free sessions take place all over Scotland in libraries and community spaces.

The awards recognise those who change lives through reading and writing.

Laura not only delivers free Bookbug sessions but she has also delivered Makaton sessions for Downs Syndrome children which use a special language of symbols, signs and speech to help foster communication skills.

Her dedication does not end there, however, as she juggles her role at the library by working for local charity Step by Step to support isolated and vulnerable families.

Laura said: “I’ve had an awareness of Makaton since my son was small through TV programmes such as Something Special with Mr Tumble and have long had an interest in incorporating Makaton into Bookbug sessions.

“Elgin Library first ran a signed Bookbug session a few years ago (before Covid) which was positively received, and we think this was the first signed Bookbug in Moray.

“When the chance came to deliver some sessions at the fantastic Down Syndrome Awareness Day at Byres Farm last year, I was very keen to be involved.

“I have found that the sessions incorporating signing are well received especially by the preschool children who often already know many signs from nursery.

“I look forward to building on my knowledge in the future and making our wonderful, free Bookbug sessions even more accessible to our community.”

Morag MacDonald, a colleague of Laura’s at Elgin Library, added: “Laura is one of the best colleagues and friends to do Bookbug with.

“She is patient, kind and extremely accommodating to those of us who find doing public events such a struggle.

“She is so positive and friendly with everyone she meets, and she makes sessions delightful and meaningful for everyone who attends.

“I certainly know that my Bookbugs have been much smoother and more confident, which in turn means a better experience for the families, and it is all down to her.”

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