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Press release: Bookbug Hero praised for a decade of service

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has announced today (Monday 28 March) that the recipient of the 2022 Bookbug Hero Award is Ian Keane, librarian and Bookbug Co-ordinator, Clackmannanshire Council. He was nominated by colleagues and parents who described him as a 'great role model and advocate for Bookbug.'

Over the last ten years, Ian has welcomed many families to Bookbug Sessions in Clackmannanshire. He arranges and co-ordinates the programme across five different library branches and works with local families, listening to feedback and incorporating new ideas that are raised. Ian's enthusiasm for Bookbug is genuine and contagious, and colleagues have praised how he engages children with songs and books.

Ian's work has a huge impact on children and families. He puts them at ease, motivating them to return week after week. Ian also encourages parents and guardians to mix, and for some this has been a life-line and makes them feel less lonely or isolated. Some of the attendees do not have English as a first language, and the Bookbug Sessions allow them a fun and relaxing way to meet others and work on their language skills. Ian has also been praised for making his Bookbug Sessions inclusive for wheelchair users, making sure that all attendees are able to take part.

Ian has created a strong legacy with his work: those who have attended Bookbug Sessions in the past have returned as library users, thanks to the love of reading and books that Ian has engendered. He ensures that Bookbug Sessions go ahead every week, via Zoom if necessary. He timetables sessions to suit the needs of the families, working around parenting duties and he allows time for adults to talk, share stories and experiences.

Ian Keane, Bookbug Hero Award 2022 winner said:

'I was very surprised to win The Bookbug Hero Award. The idea expressed by the people who nominated me was that somehow during Covid times, I had offered an anchor that helped bring a bit of stability to the week. However, the truth is they offered me an anchor, a light to cling to in darker times, I'll forever be grateful to the attendees for recalling me to life. I think without Bookbug we have all been a lot poorer it is a panacea for our times.'

The Bookbug Hero Award is run in association with Walker Books and seeks to honour someone working with Bookbug who has used the programme to make a real difference to the lives of the young children, families and the communities they work with. As the winner of the Bookbug Hero Award, Ian will receive a bundle of picture books worth £500 from Walker Books.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

'Many congratulations to Ian Keane, our Bookbug Hero for 2022. Libraries continue to be essential to local communities, and without librarians like Ian and his colleagues, many of our programmes would be unable to exist. We would like to thank Ian for ten years of wonderful work and for creating a fun and welcoming environment with his Bookbug Sessions. Our thanks also to Walker Books for making this award possible, which this year has allowed us to spotlight the fantastic work that our Bookbug Co-ordinators do across Scotland.'

Ed Ripley, Walker UK Sales and Marketing Director:

'We at Walker are very proud to be the sponsor of the Bookbug Hero Award. The scheme continues to do such a lot in terms of engagement with books and enriching children's lives. Ian is a very deserving winner and a great example of exactly how much impact Bookbug can have.'

Alma Wardrope, Librarian at Clackmannanshire Council, said:

'Ian's sense of dedication and commitment to Bookbug is exemplary. He strives hard throughout the year to ensure the programme goes ahead without breaks at any point. During the pandemic lockdown, he held online sessions and he was creative in ways to make that interesting and stimulating for those attending. Ian is really encouraging and very passionate about his role. We love Bookbug because of him!'

The panel for the Bookbug Hero Award included:

Those highly commended for the Bookbug Hero Award are:

The following practitioners were shortlisted for the Bookbug Hero Award:

Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests, please contact Keara Donnachie on Keara.Donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 07956 773 749.

Full quote

Ian Keane, Bookbug Hero Award 2022 winner said:

'I was very surprised to win the Bookbug Hero Award. All I did was keep doing what I always did. The idea expressed by the people who nominated me was that somehow during Covid and Covid recovery times that I had offered an anchor that helped bring a bit of stability to the week and bit of joy. I think that is wrong. The truth is they offered me an anchor, a light to cling to in darker times, I'll forever be grateful to the attendees for recalling me to life. I think without Bookbug we have all been a lot poorer. The nomination and the award show that simply by doing the work we always did, by bringing structure and happiness into families lives that this deeply affects people. I think Bookbug is a panacea for our times, 10 years into this project we fell into trap. We convinced ourselves that it was normal but actually the work we all do is extraordinary. When things are sunny you don't necessarily see the light we generate in peoples lives, it's when things are dark that we shine. In my eyes you are all Bookbug Heroes.'

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity that believes everyone living in Scotland should have equal access to books. Our work provides opportunities to improve life chances through books and the fundamental skills of reading and writing. Access to books and a love of books bring many important benefits from family bonding and advancing children's learning, to unlocking creativity, helping employability and improving mental health & well-being. Scottish Book Trust aims to support all communities across Scotland, with particular focus on those who are vulnerable and under-represented.

Our programmes and outreach work include:

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

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About Walker Books

Home to books for all ages, Walker Books publishes many award-winning authors, illustrators, and literary franchises including Anthony Horowitz, Angie Thomas, Cassandra Clare, Lucy Cousins, Anthony Browne, Patrick Ness, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, and Where's Wally? by Martin Handford. Walker Books is part of the vibrant international Walker Books Group that includes Walker Books Australia; Candlewick Press in America and its new division, Walker Books US; and Walker Productions.