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Library staff shortlisted for national awards

Written by on 10 September 2021

Four members of Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts service have been shortlisted for a national award.

Projects getting pre-used school uniforms to families who need them, a new Book Chat Group on Facebook and a new digital information programme are amongst the activities shortlisted.

Kerry Hutchings, based at Cannock library, has been shortlisted for the ‘Children’s Award’ for her work to set up the Pre-loved Uniform Market. The project has been running for two years and last year supported over 400 children, helping families save an estimated £20,000 in uniform costs.

Liz Gardener and Hilary Riley from Burton and Stafford libraries respectively, have been shortlisted for the ‘Reading Award’ for creating the Staffordshire Book Chat group on Facebook. The online Book Club now has over 500 members, has showcased numerous book launches, hosts online author talks which are regularly attended by over 200 participants and has helped keep people connected during the pandemic and lockdowns.

Scott Whitehouse, based in South Staffordshire libraries, has been nominated for the ‘Information & Digital Award’ for his efforts in making sure services and resources were available online during the pandemic, when libraries were temporarily closed. Scott also made sure that people who needed support to get online and access services could do so. This included working with colleagues and partners and setting up a new telephone helpline to provide advice and support.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for libraries at Staffordshire County Council said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Kerry, Scott, Liz and Hilary have all been shortlisted for an award. One would have been amazing but four is outstanding work.

“Our libraries staff have all worked incredibly hard in what has been a really challenging 18 months but It’s great to see our work being recognised nationally. Keeping people connected during the pandemic and when the libraries were closed, or running limited services remained a priority and saw us take many activities, events and services online.

“Libraries offer much more than just books these days and in a rural county like Staffordshire, our libraries remain hubs in the heart of local communities. Access to computers and printers, digital resources, book clubs, arts groups and other vital services are all part of the modern library offer.”

The four have been shortlisted in the inaugural Libraries Connected Awards, which were launched to celebrate the achievements of public libraries and the staff and volunteers that work in them.

Winners will be announced in September and people can find out more at  www.librariesconnected.org.uk/news/awards.