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Lancaster University scoop prize at Times Higher Education Awards

Lancaster University has been awarded the Outstanding Library Team trophy at the 2022 Times Higher Education Awards. 

The THE Awards attracted hundreds of entries from higher education institutions across the UK and Republic of Ireland, with nearly a thousand people gathered at the Hilton London Metropole hotel for the awards ceremony on November 17. 

Andrew Barker, Director of Library Services & Learning Development, said; “It was an absolute honour to win the award for Outstanding Library Team at the THE Awards in London, and I’m still giddy at the news. I am privileged to lead a team that I’ve long known to be outstanding. Everyone who works across all our activities does so collaboratively as one team living the University’s values. Their dedication, hard work and good humour is why our library sits at the heart of our university community.” 

The Library team won the award for their aim to “connect, innovate and include”, ensuring that the wider community see the University’s library as a resource they can use. 

A Library Community Card allows the public to use library services for free and the Library has hosted a three-day Library Festival and the Slavery Family Trees Conference. This was part of the Lancaster Slavery Family Trees Community Project, alongside the Lancaster Black History Community Group, students, schools and volunteers. 

The judges highlighted the Library team’s “strategic and holistic approach” to delivering culture change. 

They said: “The work of the Library succeeded in its aim of deepening the connection between the campus and the local community and of demystifying the University by partnership working to both increase access and to develop collections. The submission focused on the Library’s work in addressing a challenging topic, that of Lancaster’s history as a slave trading port, and in collaborating with the Lancaster Black History Community Group to expose, share and further grow locally held knowledge. 

“It demonstrated a partnership approach between the university library, academics and the local community that is sustainable and would also be scalable to other parts of the sector.” 

THE Editor, John Gill, said: “This year, the shortlists and winners reflect a particular moment in time, the 2020-21 academic year, when universities were coming to terms with and continuing to respond to the changed circumstances imposed by the pandemic. 

“As such, it is inevitable that those heroic efforts related to the Covid crisis are represented, but what is perhaps more striking is how rich and diverse the entries to this year’s awards were, how focused on the core missions of universities to deliver world-changing research, life-changing teaching, and all the other ways in which they engage and support communities, regions and the country.” 

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