Rosalind BucklandRosalind Buckland, MCLIP.
BA (Hons) Information & Library Management
Librarian, Ripley St Thomas CE Academy, Lancaster

Rosalind worked in county and university libraries before moving to the secondary school sector and considers herself fortunate to have a career that involves working with books and young people, a winning combination! She is currently employed in one of Lancashire’s most oversubscribed and successful co-ed, non-selective, 11-18 academies that she is proud to describe as a ‘reading school’ where she manages dual site libraries and delivers timetabled library lessons. In 2016, Ripley, 1,740 pupils on roll, was awarded National Runner-up for the Pupil Premium Awards for schools with published KS4 results. Rosalind is also currently a committee member and publicity officer for Cilip’s School Libraries Group.


Gerry BruenGerry Bruen
Library Team Leader, LSA Technology & Performing Arts College, Lytham St. Annes

I've been School Library Team Leader since 2010. Previously I have worked in academic Libraries in the UK at FE and HE Level, and before that, mentoring students in Secondary Education in Enfield.

SLA membership has been invaluable to me as I adjusted to working with a smaller team in a Secondary School Library. Invaluable CPD training has ensured I feel better prepared to adapt our work as new opportunities and pressures emerge. There is always a 'next step' to look forward to; a fresh approach to liven up the work; guest speakers to share new ideas with a solid network of experienced professionals who support and engage with each other at a pace that suits our needs.

Every Lancashire Branch member shares so many common challenges, and yet each has their own particular edge when it comes to their particular practice.


Valerie LaycockValerie Laycock, MCLIP.
School Librarian, Central Lancaster High School

Valerie has been working at Central Lancaster High School, a mixed 11-18 secondary, for 12 years and has been a member of the SLA since May 2005. She manages the library and has been the Accelerated Reader Co-ordinator since September 2010. She was elected as branch secretary in March 2015.

She started her formal qualifications with an NVQ level 2 in library and information services completing this in May 2007. She followed this with ACLIP, Cilip certification in October 2008 and then MCLIP, Cilip chartership in October 2013 and has been a Cilip mentor supporting candidates through their chartership since August 2016.


Beth SimmonsBeth Simmons

I was appointed the school librarian at Rossall School in April 2010 after having worked as the librarian at Cardinal Allen High School for 5 years. I took on the running of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in 2012.

When I started at Rossall I was told by the headmaster that their library was a 'place where books go to die'. Bringing The Sumner Library back to life was quite a challenge, with a great amount of weeding and a fight for heating after 7 years we are starting to make some progress! I attended my first meeting with the SLA in November 2011 and found the group and people so helpful. I came away fizzing with ideas and feel this way after every meeting. I have recently become a member of CILIP and am hoping to work towards my Certification at the start of the new school year.

Branch Ambassador and Social Secretary

Jo HarwoodJo Harwood, BSc MA MCLIP.

I am a qualified, chartered Librarian with nearly 20 years experience in School Libraries. Though I have recently taken early retirement I continue to support the work of colleagues through my role in the Lancashire branch of the SLA. As branch Ambassador I contact schools in the catchment area to determine how the branch can support them and how they can contribute to the branch activities.

I also arrange social events for the group to foster friendships and strengthen sharing good practice.

AR Facilitator

Val DewhurstVal Dewhurst, BA (Hons)
Head of Library QEGS Blackburn

I have worked in school libraries for 18 years, and education for over 20 (STAR certificate – specialist teaching assistant).  Graduating from LHU with a combined degree in English Literature/IT gave me the passion to follow the career I’d always admired.  As Head of Library for 11 years I am continually filled with the desire to “educate” and “share” my own love and passion for literature.  In school I am Co-ordinator of Accelerated Reader and also have the responsibility of teaching IL and  EPQ skills - empowering young people.
I took on the  role of SLA Lancashire AR Facilitator after serving as Branch Secretary for 15 years.  The role of AR Facilitator was established by the branch. 

IT Facilitator

Gill AinsworthGill Ainsworth
LRC Manager, Hollins Technology College, Accrington

I have worked in education for 17 years and have been LRC Manager at The Hollins for the past 12 years.

I completed my NVQ in Information and Library Services in 2008 and I have enjoyed working as part of a successful team to raise the standards and achievement of our pupils.

In the past I have been responsible for maintaining our school website, so I am hoping that these skills will prove invaluable as our branch takes on responsibility for our own section of the SLA website.