In April I applied for the Travelling Librarian annual bursary jointly run by CILIP and The English Speaking Union (ESU). The award is an opportunity for a UK library and information professional to build professional relationships with their counterparts in the United States or a Commonwealth country through a study tour.
My application was fortunate enough to be shortlisted and last week I travelled to the ESU’s Mayfair offices for an interview. The interview panel asked some tough questions about my proposal and while I could answer them I was not entirely sure that I had managed to get all of the right messages across. I was therefore delighted and amazed to receive an email the next day to say that I had been chosen as this year’s recipient of the award.
I have decided to start this blog early in the process, partly as I have a couple of days off work so it is a good opportunity to build the blog but also to capture some of the planning processes of the study tour.
I will be visiting the United States for three weeks in September/October 2015, you can find out more about the proposal and itinerary in the About and Itinerary tabs. I will be visiting public libraries, both large and small, to learn about their innovative community engagement programmes. I intend to visit some diverse communities to find out how different projects meet the needs of different communities. I am interested in The American Library Association’s ‘Libraries Transforming Communities‘ (LTC) initiative. The work of the programme is designed to support librarians to become more connected with their communities, build stronger relationships and work collaboratively to improve learning, health and well-being through a ‘turning outward’ approach. I hope to visit three of the ten libraries from the LTC cohort. The other libraries I will visit are larger city libraries which have all made recent innovative changes to their buildings or developed new services to meet the changing needs of their communities.
I have been delighted with the welcoming and enthusiastic responses I have had from the libraries I have contacted so far and I am looking forward to firming up arrangements with them over the coming weeks.