A collaborative project of the Bradford Libraries, Archives and Information Service in the U.K. that helpspeople with “profound and multiple learning disabilities” has won the 2008 CILIP/LiS Libraries Change Lives Award. The Bradford Care Trust/Libraries Partnership Project has a goal of integrating clients with learning disabilities into the community by using the Bradford Central Library as a focus for a variety of activities. The project, which launched in September 2007, is providing courses to enable adults with learning disabilities to use mainstream services.
According to CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, some of the library’s rooms were adapted for use by the Bradford District Care Trust, an organization that provides mental health and learning-disability services in the area.
In the library, the partners established one classroom and one “changing places” room that serves as a changing and feeding facility for severely disabled people; the latter is reportedly the only one in the city center. These disabled visitors, who are often excluded from other educational opportunities, also use the library’s Learning Zone, and they socialize with other patrons in its cafe area. By visiting regularly, they begin to feel comfortable and can also improve their computer skills to access government services and to become more fully integrated into the community.
This work is also supported by the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and Bradford Council’s DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) fund.
For more information, contact Jane Heap at Jane.email@example.com.
Two Other Projects Are Runners-Up
This year, 37 library-based projects entered the contest. The finalists were shortlisted in January; the winner was announced at the Library + information Show (LiS) in Birmingham, U.K., in April (www.lishow.co.uk). The winning project gets a trophy and £5,000 (about $9,900 U.S.) prize money.
There are also two runners-up; each receives a check for £2,000 (about $3,960 U.S.).
Nunsthorpe Library, of the North East Lincolnshire Library Service, serves a community that has high levels of unemployment, low levels of literary and educational achievement, health problems, and high numbers of teenage pregnancies. So it has partnered with the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, television Channel 7, and local businesses to offer free training on the latest digital photo and video cameras. Participants in this Nunny TV project learned to work in digital editing facilities and gained the tools and the training to “say what they want to whom they want” in order to give the local community a “visual voice.”
In addition, the library produces a monthly 30-minute TV broadcast. Volunteers from ages 11 to 70 work together to record stories and reports on community activities and events. The project has given local people a whole range of new skills. According to CILIP, teamwork, research, planning, timekeeping, presentation and communication skills, and use of new technologies have boosted self-esteem and employability (a fact proven by the number of work placements arranged with Nunny TV through local employment services).
To learn more, contact James Radcliffe at James.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kent Libraries and Archives won for one of its volunteering programs called Time2Give. It encourages local people to become actively involved in the library’s service by supporting the development and delivery of extra activities and services. The program offers a broad menu of volunteering activities for people of all ages and abilities, including using computer buddies for helping customers with info and communication technology queries; researching, collating, and indexing local studies resources; assisting with activities that encourage family and lifelong use of libraries; and supporting access to library services.
According to CILIP, Time2Give changes the lives of volunteers, staff, and customers and “reaches into the broader community by providing opportunities for real and active community engagement, personal development, skill enhancement, asset sharing, improved health and well being, personal development skills, and shared assets in an atmosphere of inclusions and diversity.”
For more information, contact Diane J. Chilmaid at DianeChilmaid@kent.gov.uk.
You can seeshort videos about all three finalist projects at www.myspace.com/librarieschangelives.
More About the Libraries Change Lives Award
This is the 17th year that the U.K.’s national Libraries Change Lives Award has been given. It’s sponsored by LiS and is organized and administered by CILIP and its Community Service Group. The Libraries Change Lives Award recognizes innovative and exciting work in libraries and their communities. The aim is “to acknowledge and reward libraries and information services working with disadvantaged groups to combat inequality, including the unemployed, homeless, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities.”
This year’s judges were Linda Constable (chair), Katherine Allen (event director for LiS), Carole Wolstenholme, and Simon Parker. LiS, now in its 19th year, caters to all sectors of the library profession, bringing the library and information world together to share key industry developments and the latest technology, to exchange ideas, and to debate current issues.