Children’s Award 2023: Shortlist

Marianne Fraser-Hussain, Engagement Officer, Barnsley Libraries

Marianne is nominated for delivering ‘Stories From Around The World’, a project led by Libraries in partnership with Feels Like Home, a local group of refugee and asylum seeker families.

Meeting at the library the group have taken part in story and rhyme sessions and participated in a storytelling workshops. From these creative sessions the group chose their favourite stories from their culture or first language and created their own illustrations with an artist to be compiled into a multilingual nursery rhyme book which is now available to families and library customers.

The project promoted diversity and inclusivity, welcoming many families who were not regular users of the library. Through Marianne’s work the library service has developed its activities and service to become more
inclusive of the cultures and languages that make up the local community. The addition of the co-created book and film ensures we can be welcoming to many people in the community into the future.


Oxfordshire County Library - Business & IP Centre Team (Jane Mason, Ewan McGuigan, Ryan Johnson, Unai Ledesma, Mariana Costa)

Oxfordshire County Library Business & IP Centre (BIPC) is nominated for engaging hundreds of new youth participants aged eight to 25 in enterprising activities.

The centre offers an innovative workshop room, marketing suite, Virtual Reality headsets, interactive TVs, white boards, market research databases, one-to-one business information sessions, a co-work area, lighting and more to create dynamic youth engagement environments.

Among other initiatives, the centre is forming new partnerships with the Home Office Violence Reduction Unit and Youth Justice System to tackle County Lines, offering enterprising diversionary pathways for young people identified at risk.


Sarah Bedingfield, Service Manager, Innovation, Digital & Libraries, Lucy Keeley, Principle Project Officer & Liz Moran, Playground Project Manager, Kent County Council

Sarah, Lucy and Liz are nominated for 'Playground', a unique programme of high-quality creative activity for babies, young children, and their families.

This programme promotes the importance of creative play between parents, carers, and their children, and the positive impacts that brings in strengthening parent-child bonding, social and communication skills, and supporting school readiness.

Playground has been announced by Arts Council England as one of their National Portfolio Organisations 2023-26. This will include development of Kent's artist exchange programme working with other early years creative partners from across the UK, and the formation of a national Early Years Network.


Roma Williams, Library Team Manager for Gosport and Bridgemary, Hampshire Library Service

Roma is nominated for developing the 'Over and Over Books' programme.

The programme focuses on working with pre-school children with English as an additional language or those identified with a speech, language, and communication need.

Roma worked with local pre-school settings and child minders, who agree to bring named children to six, staff-led sessions that last for 20 to 30 minutes and provide early language development practice alongside a strong reading for pleasure message.

Feedback from the sessions in Gosport Discovery Centre has been so positive that Roma and the team are now helping to support colleagues from other Hampshire libraries adopt and deliver the 'Over and Over Books' programme.


Mariam Patel & Amreen Rashid, Waltham Forest Libraries

Mariam and Amreen are nominated for their efforts in networking with different organisations and charities to obtain free equipment and services needed to run their clubs, and for working alongside other internal departments to support the new 'Best Start in Life 2022' programme.

Mariam and Amreen took on the challenge to revolutionise the events programme for Lea Bridge Library to meet the needs of local families. They created a range of events, the majority of which were new to Waltham Forest's Library Service, and upon seeing the success at Lea Bridge Library were rolled out to other libraries within the borough.

Mariam and Amreen regularly go above and beyond what is expected, often working out of work time to ensure the success of their events which has been highly appreciated by the local community, constantly gaining positive feedback, and has also improved community engagement. In the past 12 months attendance to events has increased by 500%.


Ellie Booth, Village Hubs Project Worker, Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries – Nottinghamshire

Ellie is nominated for her work on the Library Improvement Fund Villages Hub project.

This project re-imagines and re-configures six smaller libraries to create vibrant and inclusive village hubs at the heart of their communities.

Ellie has created two library gardens, one with growing activities and one with outdoor classroom facilities, designed to enhance and support environmental thinking; reinforcing Inspire’s dedication to reduce our environmental impact and give communities space for environmental events and activities.