Leader of Falkirk area libraries retires to pursue passion for travelling

The head of Falkirk district’s libraries is looking forward to the next chapter of her life after retiring from her role.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 12:36 pm

Anna Herron, 60, has been the public libraries team leader at Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) for the past ten years.

Previously, the Grangemouth woman spent a decade as principal librarian at Falkirk Library.

A bookworm from the age of eight, Anna called time on the 30 years she’s worked with Falkirk Council on Tuesday, August 17 to pursue her passion for travelling.

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Anna Herron, Falkirk Community Trust's public libraries team leader retired on August 17. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Her itinerary means Anna is bound to return with a wealth of terrific tales.

In the next six weeks alone, Donegal-born Anna will holiday in Scotland, Ireland, France and Spain.

Having secured her dream job, she couldn’t have envisaged how special the work section of her life story would be.

Anna said: “I walked into Grangemouth Library when I was about eight and I couldn’t get over all those books and the fact they would let me have them.

“I decided then that this is what I wanted to do. It was the books that really drew me to the job, but also the management, the staff and the IT.

“I’ve got the best staff in the world. They were amazing during Covid, especially the team leaders Paul Bellamy, Tanya Milligan and Vicky Ring who is replacing me temporarily.

“I’ve had several celebrations! We had some special meetings and I had a send-off on Tuesday night with staff from across the library service.

“It’s a great team. I’ve been very lucky.”

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Anna enrolled at “library school” at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde.

Her first job was as a school librarian in Ayrshire before Falkirk College employed Anna as its assistant librarian.

She then took up a similar post at the libraries in Falkirk and Denny respectively.

Eventually winding her way back to Falkirk Library, Anna climbed the ladder to become its principal librarian.

She would also become a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

While a passion for books is a given, there’s been no shortage of changes in the profession over the decades.

Anna explained: “I suppose the biggest was building four new libraries in that time, which was fantastic. Not a lot of councils open new libraries.

“There have been a lot of changes in the technology. It used to be things were manual – now almost everything is automated.

“We now run a Code Club and we have little robots and digi days on how and why we code. We’ve got some really able staff when it comes to technology.

“The biggest things I remember are the building projects; trying to get the new buildings built and working with architects, designers and builders. I got very good at it, wandering around saying, ‘No, that won’t do – I need that space for my shelving!’”

Other yarns Anna believes are worth telling from her career include an FCT Reader in Residence project with HMYOI Polmont and a National Lottery-funded initiative that saw staff visit care homes with reminiscence loan boxes.

Discussing the future of local libraries, she added: “I’d really like the customers to go back.

“We’re starting our children’s events and the adult events will start in autumn, although we’re having a lot online.”

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