It’s great to see public librarians being recognised for their exceptional service.  Well done to those who received the awards and for all those others who were nominated.  This is the first year that the awards have taken place and I hope that this becomes a firm tradition, with benefits including improving the standing of the winners in their communities and also for the profession as a whole.


Librarians of the Year awards

The CILIP PMLG Public Library Awards formally recognise the individual approach and achievement of outstanding library staff employed in different capacities across the public library service, highlighting the value they bring to their employers and the difference they make to service users. Nominations are made by employers and must be endorsed by community partners, colleagues and public library service users. Winners are:

  • Librarian of the Year (Recognising the achievements of outstanding library and information professionals working in a public library): Jacqueline Cooper, Librarian at Newbury Library, West Berkshire Council.

“Jacqueline was nominated for her absolute participation at the very centre of her community, where she is noted for bringing the library service out into the local area with a visible energy across community events, local projects and other activities. She is recognised for her contribution to the wellbeing of the library, its users and the town of Newbury.”

  • Public Library Champion of the Year (Recognising the achievements of outstanding frontline public library staff that make a real difference to the people who use their): Gareth Hatton, Information Services Assistant with Wrexham County Borough Council.

“Gareth has provided vital help and information to new and growing businesses in the local area for over ten yearsand was nominated in recognition ofhisoutstanding information retrieval skills and efficiency, combined with a providing valuedcustomer service support to his users, many of whom credit his assistance for helping their businesses to thrive and grow.”

  • Mobile Library Champion of the Year (Recognising the achievements of outstanding mobile library assistants, drivers or librarians who make a real difference to the lives of the people who use their services): Fiona Litscher, Relief Mobile Driver for Essex County Council

“Fiona works across all of Essex County Council’s 11 mobile libraries, providing cover for leave and sickness and bringing a friendly and trustworthy service to residents when their usual drivers are not available. She was noted in particular for her dedication and reliability, having ensured vital library services continued to reach Essex users during periods of gales and heavy rain earlier this year; as well as her strong attention to detail which ensures continuity of service and efficiency during cover arrangements.”

  • Public Library Champion runners-up: (1) Kate King, Service Development Leader at Edinburgh City Libraries for transforming prisoner engagement in the library service at HMP Edinburgh. (2) Jo Norris, Deputy Library Supervisor at Sible Hedingham Library in Essex, who was applauded for her continuous innovation and marketing of new library events and activities in order to appeal to as wide as possible a range of interests and needs.

The three were presented with their awards yesterday by Baroness Diana Eccles of Moulton, MP, at a special ceremony as part of CILIP’s two-day International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Satellite Conference in Birmingham.

See also National awards show off the contributions public and mobile library staff make – CILIP (press release) and CILIP names 2014 library staff of the year – BookSeller.


  • Behind the headlines: How Gwent libraries are facing changing roles as the cuts bite – South Wales Argus.  Looks at the libraries in Gwent’s five authorities.
  • Edinburgh festival 2014 review – Spine: angry blast at society that denies knowledge – Guardian. “Unexpectedly moving and bubbling with anger, this is a play with backbone which asks urgent questions: why do we write off teenagers like Amy? What do we mean by community? What kind of society is it where we accept that people no longer have free access to knowledge as libraries are closed down? “Of course they want to close them down,” says Glenda, “they’ve nothing for sale.” Rosie Wyatt gives a heroic performance, bringing both Amy and the old lady into mesmerising, vivid life, in an hour that reminds that we can change the world beginning with ourselves and our own community.”
  • It’s good to…listen – Leon’s Library Blog. “Martyn Wade has released a statement (reproduced below) to the effect that there will now be two separate proposals at the AGM in relation to the Governance model. This is a commendable decision and shows that Council have listened to the concerns expressed by members. I am heartened that the issue has been debated so robustly and will continue to be so at the AGM. Such debate is necessary for the democratic wellbeing of the organisation and shows that people care strongly about the future direction of Cilip. Equally, thanks should go to Martyn and the rest of Council for taking note and for being willing to amend proposals in light of the concerns raised. This sends a positive message that Cilip is a mature and democratic body that listens to its membership.”

“All this energy being spent by the CILIP leadership on changing the structure of its Council at this time is appalling when the library service faces a major crisis and thousands of librarians are losing their jobs. Fiddling with the composition of council at this time is not going to help anyone, neither CILIP, its staff. CILIP members or the public that libraries exist to serve. No one would be affected if the changes were put off for a year or two while everyone focused on ensuring that a library service is available to the millions of people who need it.” Desmond Clarke over the CILIP governance debate raging on LIS-PUB-LIBS and elsewhere in recent months.

  • Warning over Care Act’s ‘unintended consequences’ – Local Government Chronicle. ““Wider universal wellbeing services that councils provide (such as libraries or swimming) are precisely those that are being cut as local authorities attempt to protect essential frontline, statutory services.”


  • At a Tipping Point – Education Learning & Libraries – OCLC (USA). PDF. Digital changes, especially in learning, mean that education is “at a tipping point”.  The report looks a the changes, how libraries are responding and suggested further actions.
  • Four libraries nominated for new architecture prize – Kulturstyrelsen (Denmark / Global). “Foreign libraries are also included in the competition to win a new architecture prize established by the Danish Agency for Culture and sponsored by the Danish architecture firm schmidt hammer lassen architects.” … nominations include the Library of Birmingham, Criagieburn (Australia), Spijkenisse (Netherlands) and Orestad (Denmark).
  • National Co-ordination of Libraries – National Library of Sweden (Sweden). Powerpoint.  Sweden, e-books and doing it better.
  • Why the Public Library Beats Amazon—for Now: As E-Book Subscription Services Grow Their Catalogs, the Age-Old Institution Trumps All – Wall Street Journal. “Amazon recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a $10-per-month service offering loans of 600,000 e-books. Startups called Oyster and Scribd offer something similar. It isn’t very often that a musty old institution can hold its own against tech disrupters. But it turns out librarians haven’t just been sitting around shushing people while the Internet drove them into irrelevance. Over 90% of American public libraries have amassed e-book collections you can read on your iPad, and often even on a Kindle. You don’t have to walk into a branch or risk an overdue fine. And they’re totally free.” … “Of the Journal’s 20 most recent best-selling e-books in fiction and nonfiction, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited has none—no “Fifty Shades of Grey,” no “The Fault in Our Stars.” Scribd and Oyster each have a paltry three. But the San Francisco library has 15, and my South Carolina library has 11.”


UK local news by authority

  • Bradford – Libraries owed a ‘staggering’ £100,000 in fines by borrowers – Telegraph and Argus. Council “has been criticised for the “staggering” £109,000 it is owed in outstanding library fines. The debt, which has soared by 30 per cent in the last ten months, should be collected and used to keep library services running at full capacity, say opposition councillors. The amount outstanding has increased from £83,842 last September to £109,810 up to July 31 this year – a hike of £25,968.” … “Deputy leader of the Conservative group in Bradford, Simon Cooke, said the Council needed to do more to collect the cash. He said: “It’s concerning. We do need to get to the bottom of why this is happening. “This is a false economy really. The Council needs to spend more time collecting the money for outstanding fines, rather than telling us how many they are issuing per month.””
  • Bromley – New library to open in Penge town centre – News Shopper. “A new library is due to open in Penge town centre. The library will open on August 26 in Green Lane and will provide more modern facilities. The new facilities will include touch screen self-service and a state of the art Bibliotheca Smart Locker – available from October – which will allow people to check out and return books in Anerley using their library cards.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Mad science and creepy crawlies come to Winsford libraries – Winsford and MIddlewich Guardian. Animal handing and science for kids events in Wharton and Winsford Libraries.
  • Devon – County council praises positive response to Devon library consultation – Exeter Express and Echo. “Never has the Council had such a level of responses to previous library consultations, in terms of numbers and quality of feedback, the Council says. 5,500 returned questionnaires; 2,500 attendees at local library drop-in sessions; 1,000 people at public meetings; as well as emails, letters and petitions that have been sent to the Council. Results from them all are now being collated, digested, and deliberated over by senior Managers and Councillors, and will inform a report and recommendations that will go before the Council’s Cabinet in October.”
  • Kirklees – Letter: Closing libraries would be a huge error – Batley News. “The proposal to close all but two libraries in Kirklees is 100 per cent wrong, but we do not seem to be able to have our democratic say on this.” … “Closing Cleckheaton Library is another huge error, but this would be compounded if it was moved to the town hall. What would happen to all the events at Cleckheaton’s town hall, would we lose them?”
  • Northern Ireland – Work underway on new library for Lisnaskea – Fermanagh Herald. “The new library, which will replace the existing library at Drumhaw, is expected to be completed in early 2015 and locals can expect a public meeting room, coffee room and multi-purpose shared space facility.”
  • Powys – Anger as cuts on cards for library – Cambrian News. “Three options – headed A, B and C in a council document on public display in Machynlleth library – are on the table. These involve cuts to opening hours, the shutting of some libraries or possible reductions in the mobile service. But at a meeting last week, the town council said they were being faced with “the lesser of three evils,” and criticised the county council for making the cuts in the first place.”

“I use the library regularly and when I saw this on the counter I was so sad and disheartened. The staff there are wonderful and they provide a wonderful service to the whole community. It’s obvious from this report that they are going to cut it.”

“Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson criticised proposals to slash opening hours in the Vale’s four main libraries and to turn the remaining five into volunteer-led organisations. He said: “The Vale library service is a very successful part of the council. Volunteers expect that they are helping to improve a service, not take over somebody else’s job – which is what will happen here.”