Honourable Company of Gloucester

The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire

A Prize for Gloucestershire Libraries

Published on 02/05/2016


The David Vaisey Trust is delighted to announce the inauguration of an annual prize of £5,000 to recognise and reward an outstanding Gloucestershire library initiative. The Trust is supported by Gloucestershire Libraries and Information, Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Booker Prize Foundation and the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire.

There are 39 public libraries in Gloucestershire, 31 are county run libraries and 8 are managed by their local community. All of them encourage volunteers to assist in maintaining services and more than 480 people help in this way. Jane Everiss, Head of Gloucestershire Library Services said: ‘We are pleased to work closely with the Trust to encourage initiatives in libraries where reading has a real impact on people's lives. We are equally pleased that we can recognise the invaluable contribution that volunteers make to our libraries.' 

The prize will be for an initiative by a library that demonstrates the power of reading, leading to more borrowing, reading and discussion of books. It should also encourage community support and volunteers in the libraries. The panel of independent judges will consider submissions in order to select a short list of up to four libraries. The judges will be looking principally for initiatives that have resulted in more reading by people of all ages, from children to the elderly. They will also take into account the relative size of the libraries, the role of volunteers and community support, and the libraries will be visited before the winner is determined.

 The first prize will be £5,000 for the winning library, with £1,000 for each of the runners-up. The prize money will be for libraries to use at their discretion for reading related purposes. A major feature of the scheme will be an award event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, to give public recognition to the value of libraries and their volunteer support. The event will include staff and volunteers from the  prize winning libraries. The first award will be in October 2017. The Chairman of the Trust, Jonathan Taylor CBE, former chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation commented: ‘I am confident that this initiative will demonstrate and reinforce the continuing vitality and relevance of the county's libraries and the importance of reading. With success in Gloucestershire this is a project that could be extended more widely.’

 The Trust is named after David Vaisey CBE who was Bodley's Librarian and head of OxfordUniversity's libraries. He is the son of a Gloucestershire agricultural worker who won scholarships to RendcombCollege and ExeterCollege, Oxford.

Funding for the first three years has been provided by a number of trusts including the Booker Prize Foundation, the Bodleian Library, the Ernest Cook Trust, the J&M Britton Charitable Trust, the charitable trust of the Honourable Company. Individual donors include Jilly Cooper, Harvey & Allison McGrath  and Alan Bennett, who has written: ‘Both as a facility where one finds and borrows books in whatever form, and also as a place - ideally a quiet place - in which one enjoys reading, libraries are for all ages. It is how my reading began and how my friend David Vaisey's did too when, starting at a village school in rural Gloucestershire, he ended up at Oxford as Bodley's Librarian. The David Vaisey Prize is well named, celebrating as it does a life dedicated to libraries.’

Pictured below at the launch of the Libraries Prize are, left to right, Jonathan Taylor, Jane Everiss and Sir Michael McWilliam

 Libraries Prize Launch

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Honourable Company of Gloucester

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