The PMLG Public Library Champion for 2019 is Jillian McFrederick, Branch Manager of Carrickfergus Library for Libraries Northern Ireland. Lorensbergs is privileged to sponsor this award, with netloan account manager James Mortimer presenting the award to Jillian at the PMLG Conference dinner earlier this month (see photo above).
The ways in which Jillian McFrederick and her team at Carrickfergus Library engage and serve their community are truly inspirational. Particularly noteworthy is the wide range of demographics that are supported through the many library programmes and activities.
Jillian is someone who’s gone the extra mile to develop programmes that make the big difference to people’s lives. She is widely known to be customer-focused, while being a terrific advocate for libraries.
Carrickfergus library’s well-being initiatives are so important at the moment to delivering shared national and local objectives in libraries, and Jillian has shown deep commitment, always keenly responsive to the local community in shaping how they are delivered. She leads on reading groups, develops strong links with local authors (see photo of author event below), and is always sharing her learning and introducing new initiatives to the library.
There are too many projects to name in the space of a short blog, but here are some of the ones that caught the attention of the award judges:
- A monthly dementia café which has proved to be a great success. Now in its third year, Memory Lane Café has been endorsed by Alzheimer’s Society NI. Down Memory Lane café sessions use a mixture of local history books and clips from the Digital Film Archive
Above: Memory Lane Cafe and resources at Carrickfergus Library.
- Drop in events for autistic teenagers, working with the SENCO Special Needs co-ordinator to ensure the timing and activities work as well as possible, and inviting along a trained therapy dog which has been a great hit (see picture)
- A weekly Baby Bounce group working with a local health visitor to engage the audience of young mothers
Above: Lexie the therapy dog meets some local teenagers with autism; Baby bounce group at the library.
- A music group with a local charity for adults with learning difficulties: attendees are welcomed, encouraged and motivated to participate, with sensitivity always shown to the varying and special needs of the individuals within the group
- Annual Christmas coffee and carols events which have local politicians amongst their supporters
Above: Local author event with Steve Cavanagh and Adrian McKinty; Christmas Choir perform at Memory Lane Cafe
This award also highlights how great management and leadership skills are being put to such great effect within the public library sector. Jillian is someone who values every member of her team. Together they are motivated to deliver a truly remarkable library service to their users. Under her direction, there is a real sense of community in the library, a positive energy that really brightens everyone’s days and makes so much possible.
Congratulations to Jillian on winning the award and thanks also for sharing the above photos of the groups and events at Carrickfergus library. It's great to see the big difference it's making to all involved.
About the PMLG Public Library Champion Award
The Public Library Champions Award recognises the achievements of outstanding frontline public library staff that make a real difference to the people who use their library. The buildings, books and resources are important, but the people who actually deliver the services customers want and need are essential for any public library to be a success. Organised by the CILIP Public & Mobile Libraries Group and sponsored by Lorensbergs, creators of netloan PC Booking and Print Management software, this prestigious national award is open to all public library authorities in the UK.