The Public Librarian of the Year award recognises the achievements of outstanding library and information professionals working in a public library service that make a real difference to the communities they serve and the wider public library profession.
I was delighted to attend the CILIP PMLG (Public and Mobile Libraries Group) Chances for Life Conference last weekend in Staffordshire and present the award to this year’s winner. This is the third year that Lorensbergs has been privileged to sponsor the award. It always goes to someone who has shown true commitment to their work, someone who goes the extra mile to be really effective in what they have set out to achieve. This is definitely the case for this year’s winner, Aude Charillon, Library and Information Officer at Newcastle Libraries.
Aude has made an exceptional contribution to delivering innovation and improvement within her library authority. In particular, and what really came through in the nominations for the award, is Aude’s drive to open up local library data to the public, as she passionately believes that librarians are the custodians of information with a duty to enable citizens to engage with it and make more informed decisions.
The challenges of open data are great with the need for immense effort and ingenuity to make it a reality. But the opportunities that it’s already creating are astounding for both the library profession and the people it serves. Aude has carved herself a niche and shown real leadership in open data and other associated areas including data privacy, intellectual property and digital literacy.
Aude has worked closely with Carnegie UK receiving funding to run projects on open data and privacy, widening the reach of public libraries and exposing them to new audiences. She has organised hack days encouraging use of local data, and is part of a national project to provide Micro:bits and workshops to children and young people. Speaking with attendees at the PMLG conference, I hear that this has been proving very successful, and leading to a lot of creativity and fun using the Micro:bits.
This year, Aude has had several speaking engagements, travelling to such places as New York and Aarhus, where the breadth and depth of her professional knowledge has really shone through. At PMLG, Aude’s open data workshops were well attended, giving us all the opportunity to witness her expertise and inspiring enthusiasm first hand.
Aude’s ongoing commitment has hugely contributed to a new awareness amongst senior library leaders of the importance of being more transparent and open with library data. She always shares good practice and offers direct help and advice, whether it’s with library assistants in her home library service or with heads of library services through SCL. Aude is now not only regarded as a highly-valued colleague and top notch library professional, she’s also renowned nationally as one of the leading voices of open data within the public library network.
To read more about some of the exciting projects that Aude has been working on, including the creative initiatives and output resulting from the hack days at Newcastle Libraries, see her Libraries Taskforce guest blog post here.