Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending Manchester City Council Neighbourhoods Directorate Awards for Excellence event and was delighted to see so many nominations from the libraries and archives team through to the final and extremely proud that three from the service will be going through to the wider City Council awards event later in the year.  Now in my opinion everyone is a winner – including the 42 members/teams who were nominated from libraries.   I thought I’d take the opportunity to share the comments with our residents and users. 

Giving Something Back award finalist

Niall Batty, Neighbourhood Engagement and Delivery Officer (Miles Platting) –  who the nominator described as ‘an inspiration’. Niall worked during lockdown to transform their small community library to improve it for residents. They also made and delivered craft bags to local children who they knew missed coming to the weekly craft sessions at the library.  

Giving Something Back award winner

Suzi Wild, Service Development Officer -The nomination made for this person said ‘Suzi has co-ordinated one of Manchester Libraries’ proudest pandemic achievements: Read Manchester’s book gifting, based in Gorton Library. Since the beginning of lockdown, Read Manchester has gifted over 100,000 books to local children, and Suzi has led this project, working with a very small team and over 100 organisations. 

Employee of the Year award finalist

Tatiana Blom, Delivery Assistant (Libraries) – was described as ‘as a powerhouse of energy every time she turns up to work.’ The nominator said that her ‘abilities to communicate with residents make them feel safe and valued.’ And that they regularly receive compliments from the residents they help – they are a real asset to the council. 

Behind the Scenes Hero award winner 

Sarah Hobbs, Archive Officer – has been influential in acquiring and managing key collections in our Libraries. Sarah has worked on a significant project over the last two years, as well as adapting to remotely managaing an enquiry service. This person is described as very modest about their work but they are a true behind the scenes hero, who is loved by all their colleagues and absolutely deserves the recognition of this award. 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion award finalists

Libraries staff Tackling Racism Group –  a group of colleagues who are passionate about fairness, justice, inclusiveness and race equality. They have created a safe environment in which staff have felt comfortable to talk about sensitive issues and personal experiences, as well as kickstarted many projects which all contribute to delivering a more inclusive service to Manchester’s residents. 

Manager of the Year award winner

Jane McKelvey, Citywide Services Manager (Place) – Jane’s tenacity has been described as an inspiration and an outstanding example of leadership throughout the pandemic. This is a manager who has led their team to implement new services in a time of adversity, that will have made a real difference to Manchester people’s experience of their local library. 

Finally Legacy award

Sadly, one of our colleagues we are recognising under the Legacy award passed away last year – Alamgir Choudhury was a much loved very hard-working member of City Library Team, a gentlemen with the most amazing sense of humour and a permanent sunny disposition, always immaculately dressed for work. He would always go above and beyond to help his colleagues and customers, and he truly embodied the Our Manchester behaviours. Alamgir always had time for his colleagues in their times of need and gave the best advice and encouragement to us all on a daily basis. He was also a valued member of his local Mosque and wider Bangladeshi Community. Colleagues will never forget him and the ways in which he touched so many lives, both at MCC and in his community.  The nomination was submitted by his colleagues in the City Library who very much miss him. 

Neil MacInnes OBE
Head of Libraries, Galleries & Culture​