We’re delighted to announce that Barnsley Libraries are one of the 26 public library services to be shortlisted for this year’s Libraries Connected Awards.
Two librarians have been shortlisted for the prestigious national award, which celebrates the achievements of library workers.
The Libraries Connected Awards recognise individuals or teams that have had an extraordinary impact on their library service, library users or their local communities. The awards are organised by Libraries Connected, the independent charity representing public library services across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Crown Dependencies.
Children’s Award 2023 shortlist:
Marianne Fraser-Hussain, Engagement Officer at Barnsley Libraries.
Marianne is nominated for delivering ‘Stories From Around The World’, a project led by Barnsley Libraries in partnership with Feels Like Home, a local group of refugee and asylum seeker families. Meeting at the Library @ The Lightbox, the group has taken part in story and rhyme sessions and storytelling workshops.
From these creative sessions, they chose their favourite stories from their culture or first language and created their own illustrations with an artist to bring their stories to life.
These stories have been compiled into a multilingual nursery rhyme book which is available to families and library users.
The project promoted diversity and inclusivity, welcoming many families who were not regular users of the library. Through Marianne’s work, Barnsley Libraries have developed their activities and service to be more inclusive of the cultures and languages that make up our local communities.
The addition of the co-created book and special film detailing the process is helping us welcome our borough’s diverse communities, both now and in the future.
Culture and Creativity Award 2023 shortlist:
Emma Tweed, Engagement Officer at Barnsley Libraries.
Emma is nominated for her work in making sure Barnsley Libraries are increasing awareness of environmental issues in their communities.
She has shown her skills in linking culture and creativity with learning. For example, she has included a bee-themed poetry workshop in our activities programme, used sustainable materials for crafting sessions including wildflower bombs and even organised a virtual reality activity where you created a perfect bee habitat!
She has embraced partnership working, delivering sessions with a local Beekeepers Association and working with Barnsley Museums and local poet Ian McMillan.
Emma has also been successful in securing grant funding from Arts Council England to deliver a creative music-themed events programme called Biblio Beats for 2023.
The shortlisted nominees will now be considered by an expert panel of judges, with the winners being announced in June at Libraries Connected’s annual seminar.
Our Libraries service offers a wide range of activities and events for all ages located across the borough’s 15 libraries. Alongside Barnsley Museums, Barnsley Libraries has recently secured its place as a National Portfolio Organisation for 2023-2026.
This funding is a recognition of our continuing work to develop high-quality, accessible cultural programmes. The funding, kindly provided by the Arts Council, will enable Barnsley Libraries to deliver more activities and work more closely with local communities, supporting groups and inspiring people of all ages to engage with culture across our borough.
Councillor Caroline Makinson, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “We’re delighted to see two of our librarians shortlisted for this year’s Libraries Connected Awards. I’m extremely proud of what Marianne and Emma have been able to achieve this year to celebrate our borough’s diverse communities, link creativity with learning and raise awareness of environmental issues in our communities.
“Our libraries are really important spaces in many ways. They are more than just a place to borrow books, they’re the heart of our communities, bringing people together to learn and get involved with cultural opportunities.
“We wish them the best of luck for the winners being announced in June.”
Isobel Hunter MBE, Chief Executive of Libraries Connected, said: “Congratulations to everybody who made the shortlist this year in a very competitive field. The Libraries Connected Awards put the spotlight on some of the amazing staff that make the libraries sector so vibrant and inspiring.
“It’s so important that we recognise the incredible achievements of library workers who show such dedication, creativity and innovation every day.”