This month, we’re shining a spotlight on the 2021 RNA Industry Award nominees. Library or Librarian of the Year recognises the important work that libraries and librarians do in supporting the romantic fiction genre, and the RNA in particular.
Liz Gardner, Staffordshire Libraries
Liz Gardner has worked in libraries for 20 years; prior to this, she was employed as a teacher. Passionate about books, she enjoys spreading the love of reading and raising awareness of as many fantastic authors as possible through initiatives such as the highly successful Staffordshire Libraries’ Book Chat programme of author talks. She joined Staffordshire Libraries in 2008, working in the Schools’ Library Service before moving into public libraries; she is now based in a Staffordshire district but her role covers the whole of the county.
Karen Huxtable, Exeter Library
Karen Huxtable has worked for Libraries Unlimited since 2005. Her current role is Senior Supervisor Development at Exeter Library, which involves organising a programme of events and activities, managing staff and supporting the day to day running of the library as part of the management team. She has been a book blogger for nearly three years, and this inspired her in March 2020 (due to the Covid-19 lockdown) to launch Exeter Libraries in Conversations – these virtual author events have become hugely popular and are now also a podcast.
Michelle Watson, Northumberland Libraries
Michelle Watson is a Reader Development Librarian with Northumberland County Council. She has worked there as a librarian since 2008; prior to this, she worked at Derwentside College, in the library, and with Durham County Council. She also worked in the library for the North East Religious Resource Centre in Durham. Michelle completed her degree at Stirling University, followed by an MSc in Information and Library Management with Northumbria University. She lives in Newcastle with her partner and daughter.
Gwaun cae Gurwen Library, Y Lolfa
Gwaun cae Gurwen Library has been a volunteer-run library since 2014. Volunteer librarians ‘man’ the opening times & Neath Port Talbot Council supports them with books. Trustees work behind the scenes obtaining grants for things such as new books, wifi and a part-time co-ordinator. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, they have focussed on online provisions by building a website, providing an order and collect for books, and changing the events and clubs to online Zoom clubs for all ages. Lucy Harrison, the part-time co-ordinator, says that they are now a ‘vital hub’ for their community.
Join us for the Industry Awards ceremony at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Winter Party, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ, on Thursday 28th October 2021 at 6.30pm.