Falkirk's libraries in running for major award
The Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) story may be coming to its final chapter but that has not stopped its library service making the shortlist of national awards.
The trust is due to hand back its responsibilities – including the library service – to Falkirk Council in April 2022, but hopefully it will be able celebrate winning a Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) accolade before then.
FCT’s library service is one of six public library bodies in the running for a new national accolade designed to celebrate the outstanding efforts of librarians and library staff to improve service experience.
The trust’s submission describes its Home Library Service (HLS) response to Covid-19 and how it went above and beyond to provide a service to the most vulnerable members of the community.
When lockdown was enforced, library staff contacted its HLS users to explain what was happening and to ensure they had support in place. As soon as they were able to, the team quickly adapted the service to ensure it was safe for both staff and users through strict hygiene and distancing measures.
They were back on the road with book deliveries, as well as hearing aid batteries, and helping people connect with other local services. Local people who were shielding were also encouraged to sign up for the HLS.
This dedicated support was provided with fewer staff than normal as the team was reduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The winner of the SLIC will be announced at its AGM on November 5 and will receive a trophy and £5000 to be used for its library service.
Chairman of SLIC board Professor Ian Ruthven said: “We’ve read about a wide range of innovative services and the strength of commitment from library staff. The common theme among all entries is the willingness of library teams to find solutions, to put their communities first, and to throw themselves at a challenge.
“It was particularly welcome and encouraging to learn how many innovations form the basis of future, enhanced library services, demonstrating the commitment of libraries to never stand still but continue adapting to what communities need."