East Lothian Library Services has won the SLIC (Scottish Library and Information Council) Library Service Excellence Award 2022.

Staff continue to demonstrate the value they place in the service they provide to our communities

The award, which was presented at the 2022 SLIC Awards on Friday 28 October, is in recognition of the Library Service's outstanding contributions to its local communities.

East Lothian’s Library Services entry ‘Championing the Local Community’ described their commitment to involving the whole community, notably through the creation of two new Community Librarian posts. The entry also highlighted clubs, events, author visits, imaginative use of digital and other activities which together delivered a thriving local library service.

The service has 12 local branches, six secondary schools libraries, a local history centre and a Library HQ. Between July 2021 and June 2022, the service welcomed 4,584 new members and facilitated 243,538 loans (an increase of 60 per cent from the previous year) across local sites.

The awards recognise the commitment, creativity and value libraries across Scotland offer the people and communities they serve, acknowledging exceptional innovation and service design between the period from June 2021 to June 2022.

SLIC Chair, Professor Ian Ruthven, who led the awards judging panel said the quality of entries for the 2022 competition had been exceptional.

He said: “We were all really impressed by the range of innovations and commitment to local communities shown by the nominations. What was characteristic of each of the entries was this strong relationship between libraries and their communities; identifying local needs, working with communities to use the skills of libraries and library staff to improve people’s lives, and putting libraries at the heart of their communities.

“So often when reading the entries, we thought ‘only a library can do this’. Last year we found it hard to select a winner, so this year we created two awards, one for ‘Project of the Year’ and one for ‘Library Service of the Year’. This only made it harder…so for the first time, we have a winner in each category and a highly commended award. Huge congratulations to all involved.”

Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Cllr Colin McGinn, said: “Last year our Library Services won the inaugural SLIC Award for ‘a sustained, imaginative, and ambitious response to the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic’. To retain the top award for a second year running is testament to the strong work and commitment by our library staff across all settings to provide exceptional services to our local communities. The creativity, innovation and resilience shown by all staff continues to demonstrate the value they place in the service they provide to our communities. It has been a challenging year with the Library Service affected by periods of staff shortages but they have managed to use resources wisely to continue to offer a top service. I would like to add my own personal congratulations and thanks to the team.”

 The Judging panel included SLIC Chair Ian Ruthven, Ruth Plowden, writer, fundraiser and Chair of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and Catherine Salmond, Editor of The Herald.

Published: Tuesday, 1st November 2022