Librarian Julie is Unst success story

Julie Thomson with Silvia Dandy from sponsors United Carlton. Photo: PMLG

AN UNST librarian has been named the UK’s public library champion of 2017.

Julie Thomson picked up the honour on Friday at a ceremony in Stafford hosted by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

She runs the Baltasound community library in Unst, which opens to the public in the local school every Tuesday.

Thomson also holds early years Bookbug sessions – story and rhyme events for babies to 4-year-olds – in the Nordalea care home, which brings together locals of all ages.

“I want to stress that it helps so much to have such a strong, supportive community here in Unst,” Thomson said, “and it is the connections here that make so much possible.”

The award recognises the “achievement of outstanding frontline public library staff that make a real difference to the people who use their library.”

The community library is part of Shetland Library and manager Karen Fraser praised Thomson’s “notable achievement”.

“Julie got a lot of recognition for [the care home] sessions, and was asked to speak at the Bookbug conference in Glasgow earlier this year about how she involves the wider community in Bookbug,” she said.

“She also runs the school library in Baltasound, so she really only has a few hours a week for public library work but her community connections and enthusiasm put the library at the centre of things.

“Baltasound school is also very supportive of community access, and this year they’ve improved the space available for the public library books.”