Julie is Crowned Library Champion

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Thursday October 26 2017

Julie Thomson, who runs the community library in Unst, has been awarded the title Public Library Champion 2017. Picture By: PMLG

The award is conferred by the Public and Mobile Libraries Group of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

It recognises “the achievement of outstanding frontline public library staff that make a real difference to the people who use their library.”

Julie only found out she had won a week before the awards ceremony in Stafford, but managed to make it down to pick up her award in person.

She said she felt quite overwhelmed – not just by receiving the award, but by the response to her success, which included hundreds of positive comments on Facebook.

“I want to stress that it helps so much to have such a strong, supportive community here in Unst,” she said “and it is the connections here that make so much possible.”

One such connection is Julie’s work with Nordalea Care Centre, where she holds some of her early years Bookbug sessions, bringing together the generations to share books, rhymes, songs and games.

“That is a really notable achievement”, said Library manager Karen Fraser.

“Julie got a lot of recognition for those sessions, and was asked to speak at the Bookbug conference in Glasgow earlier this year about how she involves the wider community in Bookbug.

“She also runs the school library in Baltasound, so she really only has a few hours a week for public library work but her community connections and enthusiasm put the library at the centre of things.

“Baltasound school is also very supportive of community access, and this year they’ve improved the space available for the public library books.”

Julie met Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP at the awards ceremony and said he was particularly friendly and encouraging:

“He knew a lot about Shetland Library already and commented on all the publicity we got during Libraries week, particularly through our ongoing Twitter battles with Orkney Library!”



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