Annie the UK library champion of the year

Devon librarian Annie Brierley has won the national Public Library Champion of the Year Award.

Annie, the supervisor in South Molton, has worked in the library for just 15 months. But in that short time her ideas, enthusiasm, and hard work have led to the number of visitors increasing.

The award is open to all library authorities in the UK, and organised by the CILIP Public and Mobile Libraries Group.It recognises the achievements of outstanding frontline public library staff throughout the UK, who make a real difference.

Annie was presented with her personalised, engraved trophy and a year’s free membership of CILIP at their Group Conference last Friday (9 October).

Since she joined the team at South Molton, Annie has reintroduced the reading group, started a Friends Group, invited local authors in, visited the local schools, held book sales and coffee mornings. She even organised a Star Wars reading day, to encourage children to read.

Annie’s colleagues say that customers regularly comment on the ‘wonderful atmosphere’ in the library and how welcome they feel as they walk through the door.

Before she took up the post she worked in other libraries in Devon and started her career as a librarian in the Midlands in 1978.

Annie Brierley said:

Russell Allen, John McNab and Annie Brierley“I am very proud to be recognised with this award but the whole of the South Molton Library team deserve it too – we all really enjoy our jobs, we have a wonderful library and the South Molton Community is a joy to work with.

“I have worked in libraries nearly all my working life and I love it, whether it is seeing new mums bringing their babies in for their first Bounce and Rhyme session or teaching older people how to use a computer.

“For me library is an essential part of the community, where people can socialise, connect with their community, read, learn and use IT services; it is the hub of a community.

“To see on a daily basis the impact a library can have on a community is hugely rewarding.

“It’s just a fantastic job!”

Each entrant was nominated by colleagues and Claire Barker, a local children’s author who uses South Molton Library, said:

21511559603_95071232e9_k“Annie is everything a librarian should be; experienced, knowledgeable, helpful, and patient.

“She radiates dynamism, diplomacy, discipline, passion and possibility.

“In the short time since she became our librarian, the library has become a place that not only throws its doors open to all, but now also reaches out into the community.

“This has far reaching effects in a small town and her staff are perpetually smiling, because she creates such a positive working atmosphere.

“It is a joy to work with someone so driven to get libraries into the public eye.

“The children adore her and she makes my job very easy. Annie Brierley, or Annie Library as I call her, is a treat.”

Hazel Skinner, the Area Manager said:

“Visits to the library have increased by 10 per cent since Annie arrived.

“We now have a Friends Group in place, and far more people in the town know where the library is and use it.

“We really value all that Annie does, and how she promotes Devon Libraries.”