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Library Knowledge Services (North)

2020 YOHHLNet Awards

Gold Award

Annette Winfrow – Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust

Reason for nomination:

In the very early days of lockdown Annette was the first of our 6 library assistants to have access to an NHS laptop, so while working from home she oversaw the inboxes for our two libraries, and dealt with all queries to the library service, including all document supply requests, new memberships and bulletin sign ups. She used the strong relationships she had built up with Education Centre staff to find ingenious ways to get hardcopy items to requestors safely when we were not there to provide them ourselves during lockdown, so that our users were not disadvantaged. Annette created new processes and methods to record her activity electronically, and shared her methods with her library assistant colleagues for when laptops were made available to them and she could begin to share the load.

For a period of time, Annette effectively WAS our whole front end library service, and her good grace and infinite patience was seriously put to the test, but she didn’t let the situation beat her. Her utter reliability, initiative and willingness to go the extra mile are legendary, and combined with her total dedication to customer service she is respected and loved by our library users. (her “regulars” frequently look totally crestfallen when she is having a rare day off and someone else is in her chair!)
We simply wouldn’t have been able to offer our “virtual front door” library service without her during the pandemic.


3 words to describe her:

Warm, competent, engaging


Silver Award

Jo Thomas – North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

Reason for nomination:

Throughout the pandemic, Jo has been a key member of the Yorkshire and Humber network. She has encouraged colleagues to work together and support each other through these difficult times. The regular Yorkshire and Humber Keeping in Touch meetings were established at Jo's request and they have been a real success. She has suggested several other projects, e.g. surveys to establish current practice with PPE and for delivering virtual information skills training.
Jo is always happy to support other colleagues and share good practice. For example she recently contributed to an NHS/HE event by sharing her experience of supporting systematic reviews.
Jo has made a real difference to the Yorkshire and Humber network - thank you!


3 words to describe her:

Supportive, Caring, Patient


Bronze Award

Leeds Community Healthcare Library Team

Reason for nomination:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the LCH library team successfully transitioned their bookclub to a virtual platform, keeping this group open and available to their library members. I understand that this will have been particularly valuable to their membership as a social outlet during a very pressured and lonely period.

They also remained alert and responsive to current events, holding a BLM-specific session in the wake of international protests in summer 2020. This session was well-attended by LCH staff across Leeds, and provided space for BAME staff to discuss the effects of racism on their personal/professional lives.


3 words to describe them:

Dedicated, Engaged, Approachable




The Director of Health Libraries Annual Prize, Yorkshire and the Humber: 2020

Helen Swales – Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust


This award is presented by David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North to recognise a colleague who has made a significant contribution to YOHHLNet or library and knowledge services in the region.


I am delighted that the YOHHLNet Committee has invited me to give a personal prize to someone in the network who has contributed to the profession, to the service and the network. In thinking about this I recognised that YOHHLNet is much bigger than just its NHS members - it includes library and knowledge services in universities, charities and from national bodies with a Yorkshire and the Humber base.


This means that the annual Director’s prize could go to anyone from those sectors.


The other thing I had to think about was all the different people that make up the network. I tend to meet and get to know our Library Managers - but I don't think the prize always has to be about "managers" and "people who have been around for a long time".


And so, with those caveats, I thought about who has contributed to the profession and to the service - and it is clear that this is not always going to be easy - everyone contributes, in some way, to the network; but I have decided to give this third Director’s prize to somebody who I think you will agree richly deserves it.


This year’s prize goes to Helen Swales.


When Linda Ferguson and I met Helen for the first time in Leeds we were immediately struck by her enthusiasm, her “can-do” approach and by the way she clearly inspired her team – giving us a warm welcome, one that is clearly extended to all her customers.


·        Helen is a longstanding and key member of the Yorkshire & Humber network

·        She can always be counted on to step forward with insightful observations and suggestions about every aspect of library and knowledge services

·        She has become a trusted spokesperson for the local library and knowledge services community

·        She is leading the delivery of information services and products to her Trust and wider Leeds network during the COVID pandemic

·        She has recently become the CPD lead for the YOHHLNet committee and is already taking this forward with her usual level of energy, commitment and innovation

·        That innovative approach has recently led to HEE to begin work on a library animation for students on placement within the NHS

·        This short summary doesn’t do justice to Helen’s achievements – they are more a flavor of one of the most dynamic, thoughtful and well-regarded NHS librarians in the North.


So, I would like to congratulate Helen on her achievements – I know there will be many, many more!