Plympton Library has been shortlisted for one of the country’s major publishing gongs, the British Book Industry Awards.
The commitment and enthusiasm of the library’s staff has been recognised in the award that celebrates the greatness of the British book trade and the people behind it.
They have been going the extra mile to put Plympton Library at the heart of the community, with a wide range of activities for tiny tots to more senior residents.
One of the most notable and moving projects staff have been involved in, is honouring local soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War. Using library online resources, including Find My Past and Ancestry, they have researched the lives of servicemen linked with Plympton to create family trees and to tell their remarkable stories.
On the anniversary of each man’s death, displays are created with local people contributing with their own World War One memorabilia.
The library’s Rhymetime sessions – designed to instill a love of reading at a very early age – regularly attract over fifty babies, toddlers and their parents. They provide Headspace for young people to meet once a week while gadget sessions and exercise classes appeal to the over 50s.
Close links have been made with local people and the staff have been spreading the love for all things wordy with a community Scrabble game with visitors encouraged to have a go.
This has led to a very successful games afternoon which is so popular it now lasts all afternoon and games continue at people’s houses.
Staff at Plympton have a particular talent for fun book displays that link into news and popular culture. They even took advantage of the recent Plymouth weather to promote books.
Councillor Jon Taylor, Cabinet member for Customer Services said: “This is a huge deal as this is a prestigious award with a massive audience . All our staff are passionate about reading and books and I’m really proud of the work they do.
“There have been lots of changes for the council’s Library Services who are gearing up for the opening of the new library in the city centre, but at the heart of all the changes is making sure readers of all ages enjoy everything about reading and books.”
The book stock across the service has been increased and staff now have more of a say of what titles are ordered, taking very much into account suggestions from readers.
Over 42,000 library members have signed up to a monthly eNewsletter with the book lists and recommendations proving the most popular reads.
Last year the service introduced ‘a Book of the Month’ to highlight a title staff particularly enjoyed, with extra copies made available in both print and eBook format.
A staff picks shelf has been set up to highlight books they think readers might like and staff have put together their own roundup of favourite books of the year.
The service provide the books for over 35 reading groups enabling over 300 people to get together and read, enjoy and discuss a wide variety of titles. It also runs nine ‘Feel Better with a Book’ groups which involves shared reading aloud of poetry, short stories and novels. Staff also volunteer in the schools through the Right to Read programme.