All posts by The Informed Team

IPRA 2017 – Winner – Dr Jane Secker

Dr Jane Secker was nominated by Emily Shields. She is the winner of the Informed Peer Recognition Award 2017, recognising her significant contribution and her activities as an exceptional information professional.

The text of her nomination is below.

“I would like to nominate Jane Secker, Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at the London School of Economics for an award for her commitment to the promotion and development of information literacy (IL) and copyright. She has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of these vital areas of librarianship building networks and developing relationships wherever possible.

In 2004, Jane, with a like-minded colleague, set up the LILAC conference. She believed that IL practice was important to share in the library community and grew a small event at LSE into the successful annual conference now a must in librarians’ calendars. Annual feedback proves that such an event boosts IL knowledge and understanding in the community, with delegates feeding this back to their institutions and employers building IL competence and knowledge throughout organisations and communities. All from Jane’s conviction in 2004 that such a conference would be of benefit to the profession and those we engage with.

This involvement in IL advocacy didn’t stop with one conference and over the years Jane’s activism and achievements in this area have been unparalleled. Jane is one of IL’s leading promoters and her belief that being information literate is not only an important life skill but also a fundamental human right is clear in her numerous publications and conference presentations.

As well as being the Copyright Advisor for LSE, Jane has also found time to
Be appointed Editor-in-Chief of the twice yearly Journal of Information Literacy;
Chair the CILIP Information Literacy Group;
Work on a number of projects to promote the use of Open Educational Resources, collaborating with the IL section of UNESCO ;
Win an Arcadia Fellowship at Cambridge University to run a research project on IL and co-write ‘A New Curriculum for IL’ (ANCIL) a much used framework for many IL practitioners;
Co-write ‘Copyright and elearning: a guide for practitioners’;
Develop and champion an initiative with TeenTech, to sponsor an award for 11-16 year olds that recognises excellence in research and information literacy

Her continuing enthusiasm for IL has developed further in recent years as Jane has also focussed on a more specific area, that of copyright. Jane strives to make a traditionally dry topic of copyright fun and engaging. Because of Jane, copyright is now the subject of games and t-shirts as well as more traditional publications and conference talks. Her advocacy for the world of copyright has led to a greater interest within the profession, leading in its turn to better compliance and a better understanding within Higher Education and elsewhere. Her work with the Universities UK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group led to the Copyright Licensing Agency increasing the extent limits from 5% to 10% making life easier for students and academics.

Jane’s commitment to her profession has led to many collaborations and a furthering of understanding within the profession of both IL in general and copyright in particular. She would be a deserving winner of this award.”


Comments from the judging teams on the nomination are below.

“Clear that Jane Secker has gone well beyond her job, and started things that are of real and lasting value to the profession and society, and will continue without her input.”

“It was very difficult to decide between these excellent nominations. All three are great examples of what can be accomplished when an individual goes the extra mile. Jane Secker’s prolificacy, however, is utterly inspiring and this person would be a deserved recipient of the 2017 award in return for what is a huge contribution to the profession and beyond.“

Jane Secker is nominated for this award for her tireless commitment to the promotion of information literacy and copyright. We were extremely impressed by this nomination; in particular, what stood out for us was her willingness to share knowledge and expertise, and the wide-ranging and tangible benefits generated for the profession and for others as a result of her work. We felt unanimously that she met the criteria for the Informed Peer Recognition Award several times over.”

Jane Secker was selected because her work has reached beyond the profession and has impacted on other areas. It has also highlighted issues to the public and has made what could be considered a “dry and boring” topic, fun and engaging whilst raising important points.”


Dr Secker’s response to her nomination is below:

“I must thank all the people who’ve inspired me over the years – Emma Coonan who I worked with on A New Curriculum for Information Literacy and Chris Morrison who is my copyright literacy co-researcher, author and games buddy. I also want to thank LSE and all my wonderful colleagues there and the Information Literacy Group Committee who work so hard. I’d also like to thank Debbi Boden-Angel who is Director of Library and IT at York St John University as she really inspired me when we worked on LILAC together. And Gwyneth Price formerly of the Institute of Education who got me into conferences in fabulous locations.”

Congratulations to Dr Jane Secker on being the first winner of the Informed Peer Recognition Award, as a result of her impressive and wide ranging achievements!


IPRA 2017 – Second Honourable Mention – Susan Halfpenny

Susan Halfpenny was nominated by Stephanie Jesper. We are calling the nominations placed in second and third place “Honourable Mentions”, and her placing in second means that Ms Halfpenny is the Second Honourable Mention of the Informed Peer Recognition Award 2017. Congratulations to her on this achievement, which recognises the impressive work she does for her users.

The text of her nomination is below.

“Following a restructure of the University of York’s Relationship Management Team in 2014, Susan has been part of a brand new Teaching & Learning team which includes both Library and IT staff. Since then she has been instrumental in developing the direction of that team and its focus on digital skills support for both staff and students.

She led a project collating existing training materials and aligning them to outcomes based upon the JISC 6 Elements of Digital Literacy model. This has allowed us to identify shortcomings in our training offering, and to target areas where we need to add more. This work has been in conjunction with a survey of students’ own perceived skills needs. It has led us to develop new sessions targeted at both perceived and actual need, for instance our involvement in a recently successful Writing Week where we were able to run sessions on critical reading, poster design, reference management, and using Word.

The most visible outcome of this work to develop a cohesive programme of digital skills support is our new Digital Skills Guides platform – – which the Teaching and Learning team have created, largely from scratch, as a student-facing hub for digital and information skills. The pages include interactive content which will work in conjunction with our non-embedded training. The site is also public-facing, so the materials are available for use by all. We hope to expand our online and face-to-face training in the New Year, working closely with other skills support teams to build a taught programme of elective digital skills training.

This year, Susan was seconded on a project to constructively align academic teaching in every department, and this has given her opportunities to work with academics to more effectively (and inventively) support the digital skills that are actually needed by the students on their courses; for example, by embedding teaching sessions on the specific info skills and practical digital skills for creating the academic posters and presentations the students need to make as part of their course. By incorporating digital skills within their programme design, departments can also better prepare students for life beyond academia.

Susan returned to the Teaching and Learning Team this summer and is now acting up as team leader, where she has further worked to advertise digital skills and the work of our team across the university. At the same time she has used the university’s decision to create MOOCs as an opportunity to propagate digital skills beyond the walls of York, building on our team’s existing history of work with Widening Participation. She’s leading on our Becoming a Digital Citizen MOOC – – which discusses topics of digital literacy, access, participation, and the digital divide, and aims to develop digital skills and understandings in participants. This MOOC has given our team still more opportunities to work with academics, and will hopefully further advertise our services and expertise within the university as well as out.

In short, Susan has been putting in tremendous effort to develop students’ opportunities for improving their (much needed and all too often neglected) digital and information skills (there’s no such thing as a digital native, as study after study makes clear), finding new channels of engagement by working more closely with other teams (support and academic) across the university, and coming up with new and inventive approaches for blended learning. She has been amazing in transforming her team from a few Librarians and IT specialists into a cohesive group working together and with others to improve digital abilities across the university and beyond.”


Comments from the judging teams on this nomination are below.

“Susan Halfpenny has contributed significantly to teaching and learning, ensuring that models are sustainable and that delivery is effective. Developing digital skills is at the heart of what she has accomplished, with the student’s needs firmly at the forefront. She has obviously had a huge impact across the university, and not just in her substantive role, She has also fostered a culture where teamwork and cohesion are recognised as essential.”

“The work of Susan Halfpenny involves the development of a team focused on digital skills support for staff and students at the University of York. We felt that she had identified an important issue and demonstrated leadership skills and tenacity in taking on responsibility to promote this work across the university. She demonstrated a willingness to share her knowledge, and her work with the MOOC will undoubtedly have long-lasting and important benefits on several groups of people.”

“We felt that Susan Halfpenny seems to be doing some fine work in the areas of dovetailing practical skills with teaching sessions, promotion/marketing and service development. As well as evidence of strong team-working and good collaboration with other departments, which should have long-lasting consequences. Her work on widening participation, and creating resources for the general public to access is also exciting and useful, and almost swings this into another category. We were particularly impressed that all this had been done while she was acting up – it’s not even her job and she’s excelling at it!”


IPRA 2017 – First Honourable Mention – Mr N.Selvarajah

Mr N.Selvarajah was in the unusual position of having been nominated twice by the same people, Mr. Thambirajah Jeyabalan and Mayooran Ambalavanar. For voting purposes these nominations were consolidated into one nomination, which were considered as a single nomination. We are calling the nominations placed in second and third place “Honourable Mentions”, and his placing in third means that Mr N.Selvarajah is the First Honourable Mention of the Informed Peer Recognition Award 2017.

Congratulations to him on this achievement, which recognises the impressive work he does for his community.


The text of the nominations is below.


“Mr. Selvarajah is a retired librarian from Sri Lanka, currently living in the UK for the past 25 years. Whilst living in the UK, he has compiled 11 volumes of annotated bibliographies comprising of Sri Lankan Tamil’s published works from around the world. So far he has compiled 11000 entries and counting. This enormous project is self-financed with the sole purpose of documenting the history of the Tamil society that would have otherwise been lost through war and time. This Herculean task has not been successfully attempted by the Sri Lankan National library nor anyone else in the Tamil society.

Alongside writing these bibliographies Mr. Selvarajah also travels around London and provides a mobile book market stall. Here he offers a range of Tamil books suitable for the young and old, at a very low cost. The money of which goes to further publishing fees. His simple idea is ‘if people will not go to books, then the books shall come to them’. He is a strong believer that everyone should be given the chance to read for enjoyment and learning.

Mr. Selvarajah has also set up a non-profit charity called ETDRC: ‘European Tamil Documentation and Research Centre’. This charity aims to provide books for those who wish to research into the Tamil civilisation.

Books Abroad is a popular charity that gives a second life to books that would have been used for road surfacing. Mr. Selvarajah works closely with the charity to provide these books to schools and libraries in deprived areas of Sri Lanka. All of these books are written in the English language and play a vital part in the educational system of the country.

Mr. Selvarajah’s work, although dedicated to the Tamil society, has a wider purpose. It not only saves documentations from previous generations but also provides a door for the current and next generations to learn and grow. It allows people of all ethnicities to learn about a civilisation and preserve it from being lost in history.”


“Mr.N.Selvarajah is a Director of a charity Called ETDRC.He has written several articles and books for the benefit of Tamil community.He has done his reserch written and published 11 Volumes of Noolthettam to date and each volume consists of 1000 entries of Sri Lankan tamil writers , their work and a brief explanation of what the work consists of.

Each noolthettam publication was self financed by Mr.N Selvarajah.This is a gigantic task that should have been done by the Sri Lankan National Library or by a separate tamil literary organisation,not by a lone man.This task allows the titles to be documented in history.The affect of the civil war on tamil books also explained in his published volumes.  

Alongside publications, he has organised numerous book markets in London.Here he delivers boxes of tamil books to local tamil communities and sells them at a low price.The money raised goes to ETDRC Charity.The purpose of the book stall is to allow children and adults to have a chance to read a range of books.He is a keen believer that knowledge is wealth.

He also works with a charity called ” Books Abroad” ,which sends crates of English books to impoverished communities across Sri Lanka.The books are provided for schools and local libraries and allow the children to learn the English medium.This charity and the books have played an important part in helping with education and in some areas they are the only books available to a child. Mr.N Selvarajah established the ETDRC charity,which is a non profit making organisation aimed at providing books and documentation for any researchers and students free of charge.The ultimate goal of this charity is to form an establishment for such research and documentation to take place.”


Comments from the judging teams on this nomination are below.


“Without dedicated nominees like Mr N.Selvarajah the preservation and effective curation of ‘marginal’ collections would be impossible. Addressing issues of deprivation and the need to ensure cultural identity isn’t eroded or lost is what makes his nomination stand out. He is a role model for young professionals and highlights the importance of being truly collegial.”
“We felt that of all the nominations, Mr N.Selvarajah ‘s activities had a greater and wider impact on communities. Not only within the immediate area in which they operate, but also overseas by providing materials for deprived groups in Sri Lanka.”


Mr N. Selvarajah’s response to his nomination is below:

“I am humbled and eternally grateful to be nominated for  such a prestigious award. As you rightly pointed out, the preservation and curation of these works would be impossible without the cooperation of various writers, who have tasked me with the role of documenting and cataloguing their works. You do not start a task such as this with an end date in mind, and therefore it is important for this sort of recognition, as it brings to light my work to a greater audience. I must also take this opportunity to thank the numerous writers/publishers and librarians who have assisted me in the past and most crucially during the first 1000 entries. Before the ‘Nool Thettam’ brand had spread in the collective consciousness of the Sri Lankan Tamil writers, the first writers who trusted me enough to pass me their details and compile the first volume, that allowed me to leap ahead and compile the subsequent volumes. The task is not yet complete, nor will it ever be – and that is the burden of this role that I have started upon 17 years ago, but it is recognition such as this that propels me forward for the next 17 years. Thank you.”



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.“

IPRA final rankings and publications schedule

We are pleased to announce that the voting process has completed successfully, and the positions of the final three nominees have been agreed.

As a reminder of how we came to this point, this process has been ongoing since September, when we announced our plan for running an award and asked for individuals to volunteer to take part as judges.

  • Once those volunteers were recruited, teams of 3 were formed, with 1 Informed moderator working with 2 volunteers to go through the judging process.
  • The judges were given a range of practice nominations to work on, which helped them to determine how their particular team would work best together during the active judging process.
  • Simultaneously, the public nominations period was open, allowing people to nominate individuals whose work they believed deserved public recognition.
  • Once the nominations period closed, the judges were allocated anonymised (with names replaced by initials) nominations to judge. If any judge recognised a nominee allocated to their team, that nomination was removed from their team and swapped with another.
  • The teams went through a judging period, where they reviewed and ranked their allocated nominations.
  • Once all teams had completed this group judging period, the top three nominations across the teams were identified.
  • These top three were then judged again, by all individual judges rather than in teams, and the result of this process has given us our top three nominations.

We are calling the nominations placed in second and third place “Honourable Mentions”. What would be third place is the First Honourable Mention of the Informed Peer Recognition Award 2017. What would be second place is the Second Honourable Mention of the Informed Peer Recognition Award 2017.

On Tuesday the text of the nominations who did not progress to the final shortlist will be published here, then on Wednesday the First Honourable Mention, on Thursday the Second Honourable Mention, and on Friday we will be announcing the first winner of the Informed Peer Recognition Award.

Below are some of the comments from the judges about the nominations they’re viewed.

“Well done to all those submitted for an award, the high quality of applications is testimony to the amazing work done by people working with libraries and information.”

“A strong field of nominees, all of whom have contributed significantly to librarianship in their respective areas. They should each be commended for their conviction and commitment.”

“I have been so impressed by the candidates and the nominators. Thanks for letting me be a part of the judging panel!”

The Informed team would like to say a public thank you to the amazing judges involved in this process. They’ve given up their free time to closely study, discuss and judge these nominations. They’ve all worked entirely remotely and online, in a flexible way, to ensure that the judging process progressed effectively. They are the reason this award was possible, and we’re indebted to them for their help.

IPRA timings update

As you may have noticed, our original timescale for the Informed Peer Recognition Award has slipped a bit! Our plan of being able to progress during a busy time of year for everyone may have been a bit overambitious, and my workload means that I wasn’t able to keep on top of things as well as I’d hoped.

So, we’re now a bit behind the date when we had hoped to announce a winner, but we’re very close! We have contacted nominees to inform them of their nomination, completed the team judging stages, and are now completing our individual votes. We hope to have that stage finished this week, and will be able to announce the nominees and the winners next week (week beginning 6th March).
Apologies for the slippage in the timings: we’re working hard to get everything finalised and announced as soon as we can now!


Meet the judges!

informed award banner

Meet our brilliant volunteer judges for the Informed Peer Recognition Award, who’ve described themselves below. They’re kindly contributing their excellent skills and experience, gained in a wide variety of sectors.


  • Steve Yorkstone


I work as part of the joined Library and Information Services in Edinburgh Napier University.

In my day job I enable continuous improvement in my home university. In practice this means you’ll find me leading workshops; facilitating discussions; organising and delivering training; acting as a formal (and not so formal) coach; and getting involved in the constant daily business of solving problems and making stuff better.

Alongside the day job I chair Lean HE, the international peer organisation for continuous improvement in universities. I am on the editorial board of the operational excellence magazine, The LMJ. And for the past two years I was on the judging panel for, and awarded, the LMJ Top 25 Awards for Operational Excellence.

I co-designed the acclaimed Lean “St Andrews Model”, and I’ve authored “Lean Universities” in Routledge’s Companion to Lean Management, due for publication before the end of 2016.

My first job was work experience as a gangling teenager in Garstang County Public Library. My experiences back then with a substantial collection of large print bodice ripping novels stay with me to this day!

I’m really excited about the Informed Peer Recognition Awards. For me the work that library and information professionals do has never been more important than it is today, for reasons both large and small.

So, let’s celebrate the real difference colleagues who go above and beyond are making; to the profession itself, for individuals, and for the public at large.


  • Daniel Gooding


Daniel Gooding is Library Assistant at the Wills Memorial Library, University of Bristol. In June he won the Aspire Award to attend CILIP Conference 2016 in Brighton, and is hoping to pass on this good fortune to others in the profession through the Informed Peer Recognition Awards. He is Publicity Officer for CILIP Library & Information History Group (Twitter handle @CILIP_LIHG) and is currently studying for the MSc Information & Library Studies at Aberystwyth University, where his dissertation will be on the subject of historical fiction classification.


  • Katrina Clifford


Hi everyone, I’m Katrina and I’ve worked at Kingston University for 9 years, previously working at University of Warwick for 3 years. My day-to-day job is as a cataloguer and also as part of the Research Repository team. I was on the CILIP CIG (Cataloguing and Indexing Group) committee for about 5 years and the West Midlands branch of the Career Development Group before that. I’m on twitter at @kmlclifford (though I don’t tweet as much professional stuff as I had intended when I started!)

I decided to volunteer as I wanted to do something a bit new and different and it sounds a really great initiative. Whilst there are so many of us working hard at what we do, there are those who are going beyond what they need to do to support others in the profession or improve services for their users. Being able to recognise that will not only be wonderful for those involved, but will also help us showcase what we can do! I’m looking forward to working with the other judges and to read all the nominations.


  • Faye Cooke


As a happy recipient of the goodwill and support of other professionals, I am keen to take part in this opportunity to recognise individuals who consistently go the extra mile. I am a Chartered librarian specialising in legal information. After obtaining a postgraduate diploma from the University of Strathclyde in 2011, I worked for a university careers service as information officer before moving into the world of law libraries. Following a year with the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, I joined private client law firm Turcan Connell in August 2016.

As well as training to become a Citizens Advice volunteer adviser, I am a committee member of the Scottish Law Librarians Group. In my spare time, I can be found watching horror films, marvelling at Edinburgh and making up recipes.



  • Roddy Waldhelm


Roddy Waldhelm is Head of the Solicitor’s Legal Information Centre in the Scottish Government Legal Directorate. He joined the Scottish Executive in February 2001 from the Defence Evaluation Research Agency in Rosyth where he was Information Manager. He is currently Head of Profession for Librarians and Information Managers in the Scottish Government and its Agencies.

From 1990 to 1998 he ran the library and information services of Osborne Clarke in Bristol. Prior to that he was Deputy Head of Library Services at British Aerospace Dynamics Division, Filton.

In his spare time he is an avid collector of books (hard copy of course) and vinyl.  Quite old school really or perhaps ahead of the curve!

I was pleased to support the award as a judge as it is refreshing to be involved something that recognises excellence wherever it occurs in any sector of the profession.


  • Rachel Warkcup


Rachel Warkcup has worked in public libraries for over 10 years in a variety of roles, including driving a jungle themed mobile library around schools in North Tyneside! Rachel now manages the North Tyneside School’s Library Service, library services for children and young people and co-ordinate the libraries’ events and outreach programme.  A member of the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) and Youth Libraries Group. She is also a trustee of Northern Children’s Book Festival arguably the longest running cultural festival in the North East, the only dedicated children’s literature festival in the region, and the only one in the UK which covers an entire region


  • Barbara Band


After working for over twenty five years as a Chartered librarian in school libraries, Barbara Band is now a School Library, Reading and Literacy consultant offering support and advice to a range of schools, and delivering training to librarians and teachers. She works with several literacy organisations to promote the value and benefits of school libraries and reading, has been on numerous judging and book selection panels, and is the founder of the Pupil Librarian of the Year Award. Barbara publishes regularly on a range of reading, library and literacy related topics as well as writing her own blog, and has won many awards in recognition of her work in and contribution to school libraries including: the inaugural SLA Founder’s Award; School Librarian of the Year Honour List; and CILIP Youth Libraries Group Honorary Membership. She was also recently awarded an Honorary Masters degree by the Open University for her contribution to “raising literacy levels and removing barriers to education”.


  • Alison Brumwell

I have 18 years experience as a librarian and have been a children’s specialist for the past ten years. I’m Leeds-based and have worked in public libraries, as a secondary school librarian and, most recently, as a schools library service librarian. I am active within the profession as a regional member of both ASCEL and YLG and also sit as representative for Yorkshire and the Humber on national YLG. I am keen to be involved in the IPRA judging process as part of my ongoing professional development and to help raise the profile of librarianship.


  • Natasha Chowdory


  • Bethan Ruddock

I work in Digital Resources for Jisc, where I help to design, deliver, and maintain services for libraries and archives. This involves lots of lovely hands-on work with bibliographic data, as well as outreach and training.

Outside work, I’m a Chartered member of CILIP, a Chartership mentor, and have just spent a couple of years on the Board of the Special Libraries Association.

I’m really pleased to be involved in judging the IPRA. It’s a great chance to get to know more about the work of some fabulous professionals, and to help them be recognised for their achievements. The Informed team have done a really good job developing the award, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about lots of talented nominees!


Invite for nominations for Informed Peer Recognition Award

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We’re excited to announce that the Informed Peer Recognition Award is now open for nominations! The form is available HERE.

The aim of the award is to recognise the work of those in the information profession who might otherwise go unnoticed, those people who may not be singlehandedly changing the world, but who really go above and beyond to make a positive difference to their services, users, and society. Although there will be one final award winner, we want the process of nominating someone to be a positive one regardless of the outcome of the nomination.

Often when people are nominated for an award, if they don’t win, they will never even know they were being considered for it, and they won’t see the thoughtful text of their nomination which explains exactly why others regard them as being exceptional. The text of the nomination for an award itself is important: it’s something that allows others to highlight how special an individual is, and explain clearly why this is so. Being able to see why others feel an individual is deserving of recognition from the text of a nomination can be as satisfying as winning the award, which is why it’s a core point of this award that all nominations texts will be made public. In this way, both the nominee and the wider profession can see how their work is valued and appreciated.

Additionally, many people who work outside the public sector can feel that they will never qualify for any sort of award, as their work is less visible. This award is an opportunity to allow recognition of those individuals who are quietly working to improve their service in a sustainable way, or developing resources that have a big impact on their own specific user group.

So, if you work with, or know of someone who you regard as being an exceptional information professional in any role or sector, please nominate them for the Informed Peer Recognition Award. #InformedPRA

Nominations can fall under one of the following three categories;

  • For those who have demonstrated a commitment to, or substantial involvement in activities which will contribute to the development of services and/or resources that will provide a benefit to the public.
  • For those who have worked to deliver improvements to a service (be it private, public, or voluntary) for the benefit of users and provide them with a better experience when interacting with the service.
  • For those who have worked across the profession to improve an aspect of it for the benefit of others.

Nominations should consist of a 500 word summary outlining why the nominator feels that the nominee would be a worthy recipient of the award, and be supported by a second nominator.

Please provide as much detail/evidence as possible within your nomination – the judges can only make decisions on the merits of each nominee based on the information the nominators present to them.

The nomination form is available HERE.

IPRA judges and nominations

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We’re delighted to announce that our call for judges to assist with the Informed Peer Recognition Award (IPRA) was very successful, and we’ve now got a full complement of excellent people involved. A post introducing the judges will be appearing soon, but while the judges are getting to know each other and the judging process, we’d like you to start to consider who you would like to nominate for the IPRA. Nominations can be submitted between the 17th of October and the 25th of November.

The Informed Peer Recognition Award is intended to recognise the contributions of a library and information professional working in the UK who has gone beyond the requirements of their job to make a positive difference. Nominations can fall under one of the following three categories;

  • For those who have demonstrated a commitment to, or substantial involvement in activities which will contribute to the development of services and/or resources that will provide a benefit to the public.
  • For those who have worked to deliver improvements to a service (be it private, public, or voluntary) for the benefit of users and provide them with a better experience when interacting with the service.
  • For those who have worked across the profession to improve an aspect of it for the benefit of others.

Nominations should consist of a 500 word summary, and be supported by two nominators. The more information that you can give the judges that helps to show how your nominee has made a contribution in one of the above categories, the better they’ll be able to judge the nominations submitted.

You will need to provide the email address and if possible, the phone number of your nominee. This will enable us to inform them of their nomination, and if needed, contact them for clarification on any points raised in the nomination.

Completed nominations can be submitted via the online form which will be available on the Informed website from the 17th of October, 2016.

The text of all nominations will be published on the Informed website, to allow nominees to see why their peers believed that their activities deserved recognition. Therefore, please bear in mind that any information submitted in a nomination will be made public.


The Informed Peer Recognition Award

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The Informed team are excited to be announcing the launch of a new award, the Informed Peer Recognition Award. We thought it would be a useful addition to the range of awards currently available for information professionals in the UK.

Background to the development of the award

Elly O’Brien, Mobeena Khan and Jennie Findlay spent a significant amount of time drafting a nomination for a professional colleague for an award back in autumn 2014. The process of writing the nomination was particularly time consuming and demanding, taking the three of us many hours of our time. Once the nomination was submitted, there was no further contact from the organisers. We had no information or progress updates on the process of the award judging, or timescales for the outcome, and there was no communication with nominators about the final outcome of the process. To see whether our nominee had been recognised we had to guess the possible announcement date, and monitor the website daily for a month. Our nominee received no contact from the organisers at any point, and in the end, we decided to send them a copy of the nomination material we’d drafted, as the purpose of us nominating them was to demonstrate to them how valued their work was. In the end the only way we could do this was to give them that information directly. Overall, taking part in that awards process as a nominator was incredibly frustrating.

The Informed team response

We began to think more deeply about the difficulties of the nomination process we’d been through, and how it had been both a frustrating and impersonal experience. We wondered if there was a way that the Informed group of volunteers could create and run an award which would try and avoid these frustrations, and ensure that all those nominated would be able to see what work or activity they were being recognised for.

Elly, Mobeena and Jennie discussed and began to develop the initial idea about creating an award. We decided at an early stage that it could not be run by any of the various professional bodies, because we wanted it to be inclusive, and usually these groups are only able to offer awards to their own members. Due to other professional commitments, Elly had to step back from active involvement, and Laura Ennis took her place. Together we’ve endeavoured to create an award structure that we hope will work in a way that keeps nominators and nominees informed, and is flexible enough to allow for the efforts of a range of information sector workers who may be excluded from nomination for other awards to be recognised .


For easy reference, this is what we hope to achieve with this awards process:

  • Create an award that all UK information workers of all levels are eligible for.
  • Be as informative as possible for nominators submitting nominations – be open about the awards schedule, how quick a response the team will be able to give when contacted, and give nominators an idea of the timescales for each stage of the process.
  • Contact nominees to notify them that they have been nominated for an award, and tell them when the result is expected to be announced.
  • Ensure that judges are aware of the process and timescales involved when they volunteer to take part, to allow them to determine if the schedule will work with their personal commitments.
  • Publish the full content of all nominations on the Informed website, to enable the public recognition of nominees work that the nominators intend.