We are delighted to announce 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 lifeline 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!'
Those highly commended for the Bookbug Hero Award are:
Margaret Clark, Senior Health Promotion Officer, NHS Lanarkshire
Margaret has inspired, motivated and enthused colleagues, practitioners and families to engage with Bookbug, ensuring children get the best start in life. Margaret's passion and commitment to Bookbug is instrumental in the development of the programme in Lanarkshire.
Amanda Reid, Children's Practitioner, Family Social Work Services, Aberdeen City Council
Amanda is an experienced Bookbug practitioner who integrates Bookbug into her work with the most vulnerable children and families, helping to build attachment and inject fun into the parent and child relationship. Amanda shows compassion and enthusiasm in supporting families to sing, rhyme and read together.
Isobel Allen, Library Team Leader, Midlothian Library, Midlothian Council
With over 30 years experience working for Midlothian Libraries, Isobel worked tirelessly to bring Bookbug to families throughout the pandemic. She was the first member of staff to deliver online Bookbug Sessions when libraries were closed. Isobel then went on to deliver the first in-person Bookbug Sessions when the libraries re-opened creating a lifeline for families and enhancing the community she works in.
About Walker Books
Scottish Book Trust would like to thank Walker Books, who kindly sponsor the Bookbug Hero Award.
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'e 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.