IPRA 2017 – first round nominees


Listed below are the nominations which did not progress to the second round of voting. Congratulations to all here on having been nominated, and we hope that being nominated has shown how important they are to those they work with and for.


Beverley Burgess

Ms Burgess was nominated for the first Informed Peer Recognition Award by Kathryn Gray.

“Bev is our LRC Manager and has done an outstanding job of improving the service of the LRC within the Isle of Wight College. We have many learners who benefit from Bev’s library experience and tireless promotion of literacy, for example she takes time out of her schedule to listen to students read. It is very important to Bev that she takes time to get feedback from learners to improve the service in the LRC and constantly works to promote a positive learning experience.”


Libby Tilley

Ms Tilley was nominated for the first Informed Peer Recognition Award by Bethany Sherwood. 

“I’d like to nominate our excellent librarian, Libby Tilley, for the Informed Peer Recognition Award 2016. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing Libby’s work to improve library services for students in Cambridge, from both sides of the issue desk, both as an undergraduate student and as a library assistant.

Libby’s name is well-known across the English faculty, amongst both students and academics. For students under intense pressure Libby’s leadership of the English Library provides a service that’s known for being approachable, and a lot of this stems from Libby herself. As a student I knew Libby as a friendly face, always happy to be interrupted by questions about referencing or dissertation topics. My own experience as a library user was significantly improved by the reassuring knowledge that Libby and her team were my first place to go to when I needed help.

Libby’s enthusiasm for building relationships with library users, getting to know them, and learning how the library impacts their lives, finding out what they want (and actually need) from it, is fundamental to how she manages the library service. Libby has set a precedent for taking the time to talk to students face-to-face, often over a cup of tea at weekly Tea@Three (where students come for a work-break, slice of cake and, frequently, to share worries about work and life). Despite managing a large group of Arts & Humanities Libraries Libby remains a friendly and familiar presence in the English library, always willing to stop to chat with students or academics and to find out how the library service can be better for them. It’s clear that Libby’s work is underpinned by a commitment to those who use the library as people, rather than solely as library users or numbers in headcount statistics.

A second reason for nominating Libby is for the way she leads by example in thinking creatively and innovatively about the library service. Libby’s work on boutique, user-focused libraries and using stories for teaching is visibly worked out in her practice and leadership. She’s always willing to hear ideas for improving the service, from all levels of the library team, and consistently encourages her staff in implementing and seeing through their ideas. Libby leads the way in consistently reflecting on how the various strands of the library service actually affects the lives of those who use it.

From championing collaboration in the Cambridge library community, through chairing the Librarians in Training committee, to undertaking the development of an IT training room that has provided academics, postgraduates and librarians  a much needed space for training and teaching, Libby goes above and beyond to make a positive difference to the library service and manages to do all this with a warmth and humour that often doesn’t give away the hard work behind it. We’d love for Libby to be recognised for the immense effort she puts in and the value of the work she does, and for her to know how admired and appreciated she is by those who work with her.


Rachel Chavez

Ms Chavez was nominated for the first Informed Peer Recognition Award by Phyllis O’Grady.

“As a small sixth form college serving the post-16 students of two high schools, we were excited to appoint Rachel since she was coming to us from a London college serving 10,000 students and we were confident that she would have much to teach us.

Our confidence proved well placed as Rachel has quietly exceeded our best expectations. She immediately set about updating our antiquated system which she judged inadequate for the needs of independent 21st century learners preparing for university. This was accompanied by finding cost effective ways of providing up-to-date resources which included a much greater focus on print journals and online resources. As these resources become available Rachel e-mails both students and staff to list new articles which may be of interest to them. This is aided by her having familiarised herself with the specifications being covered and the topics and texts that students in the college are studying.

Alongside improving quality and availability of resources Rachel has had a huge impact on students’ confidence and ability to access and use them effectively. She has now become a regular part of our student induction programme as well as running sessions on our Study Skills days and making herself available for one-to-one sessions teaching both research and referencing skills.

Staff whose subjects include coursework elements and the 6th form tutor team, who supervise students’ Extended Project Qualification, have noticed a marked difference in the quality of these aspects which can often mean the difference of a grade:
‘The standard of my students’ research skills and their use of sources in both their Year 1 and Year 2 coursework components has improved markedly. I thought this was down to me (!) but on discussion with the students they confirmed that the library’s accessibility and Rachel’s organisation and clarity of message has been behind this transformation. … She has made the Library’s resources simpler to access and more professional in content and so the students are using them.’ (Peter Elphick – A Level Media Studies teacher).

Students too feel more confident about tackling coursework and their EPQs as well as feeling delight at having thoroughly mastered these skills a full year before starting university: ‘Booking a one-to-one session was incredibly helpful to my studies, particularly for the research I undertook doing my EPQ. Being able to be shown all of the resources that we have access to was so useful, and also being given help with how to reference was something I found really valuable.’ (Nesta James – current student).

Rachel consciously seeks out the views of students and staff in order to ensure that the learning resource centre is fully meeting their needs, implementing an annual Library Questionnaire to measure the impact of developments and initiate still more.
And of course, Rachel also presides over an excellent library facility where students are guaranteed a silent, focused atmosphere where they can get on with their studies secure in the knowledge that expert support and guidance is on hand should they need it. “

Once again, congratulations on having been nominated: we hope that being nominated has shown you how important you are to those you work with and for.


Wendy Morris

Ms Morris was nominated for the first Informed Peer Recognition Award by Associate Professor Alison Baverstock. 

“Wendy Morris has been an outstanding colleague working to represent and integrate the role and capabilities of our university library service within The Kingston University Big Read – a pre-arrival shared reading project that has had a big impact within our university community.

Wendy volunteered to represent the library but has gone much further than management could ever have envisaged. She has been consistently enthusiastic, energetic, proactive – and thoughtful. In the process of working to engage not only her own library community, but also the wider institution, she has made all aware of the central role the library has within higher education; functioning as a capillary network beneath the surface, and reaching every part of the institution – a capability of which academics are often unaware.

In whatever direction we have developed the project – reading groups in libraries; collaboration with our local county council library service; work with the homeless – Wendy has been there, providing encouragement – and often cake. For example: having reduced the initial suggested titles down to a shortlist, she ensured that stock was secretly bought, catalogued and shipped out to each of the five campuses in time for the VC’s announcement; she was tireless in encouraging her colleagues to take part, even buying an edition of our chosen book in French to meet one individual’s preferred summer reading challenge; when I arranged a training session to talk to the volunteers at a local shelter for the homeless she did not hesitate to come along too. Finally she has totally absorbed the analytical nature of the project, and with us sought to explore and reflect on our outcomes. She has so far published associated papers in two library journals.

Starting any project from scratch is a challenge. What one needs are proactive people who see the point of what is being attempted, are willing to work across the organisation – and hare both the enthusiasm and the effort. Wendy has been a wonderful support to the project, and a great enthusiast to work with. Her LRC colleagues, wider university and The KU Big Read are very lucky to have her.“

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *