Libraries Change Lives: 2015 shortlist

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Three library services shortlisted for this year’s Libraries Change Lives award from CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, demonstrate how professionally-led library services make a dramatic difference to life in their communities; driving better social, health and economic wellbeing and supporting councils in delivering their agendas.

Now in its 24th year, the award highlights transformative initiatives developed by library staff and delivered via the library service.

The 2015 finalists are North Ayrshire Libraries, Portsmouth Library Services and St. Helen’s Library Services. The winner will be announced on Thursday 24 September at CILIP’s AGM and awards in London.

North Ayrshire Information and Culture: ‘Appiness’

North Ayrshire’s ‘Appiness’ project co-ordinates a programme of educational apps and digital learning for very young children and their parents or carers, enabling the safe and informed use of technologies to kickstart their child’s learning, in areas including literacy, numeracy, art, music, science and technology. Parents also take part, learning about safety controls and how to evaluate age-appropriate content. The programme was built to offer the earliest possible intervention against considerable problems around poverty, personal attainment, health and employment experienced in the region. Fuelling increased personal and educational attainment from preschool age, local schools also benefit as these young digital leaders come to school already engaged in learning and demonstrating valuable transferable skills across the curriculum. 

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Portsmouth City Council Libraries: Library Services for the Vision Impaired

Shortlisted for their work to provide a comprehensive programme of resources for visually impaired members of the community,Portsmouth City Libraries help the visually impaired community increase their independence and wellbeing; and have formed a strong links into the community to ensure the needs of visually impaired people are taken into account in the planning and delivery of local services. Services include a helpline, a dedicated information offering, translation services into alternative formats, a Braille service and assistive technologies, and group events including a book club and regular events. Thousands have engaged with the service in the past year as visually impaired citizens suffer disproportionally due to reductions in equalities roles within authorities and support services arising from national austerity. The library is working to extend inclusion and accessibility for the visually impaired within the region via partnerships with the region’s schools, community groups and other agencies.

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St Helens Library Services: Cultural Hubs

‘Cultural Hubs’ are helping St. Helens Council deliver its objectives of improving the skills and learning of local people, engaging with the needs of local young people, supporting neighbourhood development and community cohesion and promoting an environment that supports the health and wellbeing agenda, through creative use of the arts across St. Helen’s libraries. The borough is one of the most deprived in the UK however the library service has struck several partnerships that are actively driving a major transformation improving mental and physical health and tackling social care problems in the town via performances and transformative arts projects in the library spaces. Users of the service are typically those accessing adult social care and health services or at risk of needing these services.

Watch the short film