Staff at the Family Library and Mobile Family Library have reacted with delight to the news the organisation has been shortlisted in the prestigious Isle of Man Awards for Excellence.
It represents a major turnaround in fortunes for the organisation, based in Westmoreland Road, Douglas, which just 18 months ago was under threat of closure as a result of Department of Education and Children cutbacks.
But, since then, the library has come under the umbrella of the Manx Educational Foundation and now operates as a charity. Both the services it provides have gone from strength to strength.
In recognition of that, the Family Library and Mobile Family Library has been shortlisted in the medium enterprise category of Isle of Man Newspapers’ annual Awards for Excellence, sponsored by RBS International.
Mary Cousins, librarian at the Family Library, which has enjoyed an increase in membership since last year, said: ‘This is wonderful news and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all the staff, who were determined to continue to provide what we believe is a vital service.
‘It is also testament to the strong support we have had from the public, many of whom were equally determined that the Family Library, which provides many children with access to books they may not otherwise enjoy, should continue.’
As well as the many books, DVDs and CDs on offer, the Family Library also holds a wide number of events, everything from craft workshops to sign and sign sessions for toddlers.
The Mobile Family Library, which provides a crucial lifeline for many people in remote areas, has increased its reach in the last year and, free from the constraints of being run by public sector, has found itself able to broaden the services it offers.
It now offers some postal services and has teamed up with Manx Blind Welfare to assist with an audio book service.
That’s on top of having 39,000 books available to take around the Island to people who may otherwise never get the chance to use a library.
Librarian in charge Sandra Henderson said: ‘We are a small team, but play a big part in the community.
‘Without the support of our members and wider public, we might not still be here, but we are delighted that we are!
‘For some of those we visit, it is the highlight of their week. We want to continue to do that.’
The winners in the Awards for Excellence will be revealed at a special ceremony on November 21.
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