Somerset’s long-serving libraries manager has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List, announced today.

Sue Crowley, Somerset County Council’s Strategic Manager for Library and Registration Services, has been honoured for her contribution to public library services. 

Sue’s connection with Somerset Libraries first began when she volunteered at Yeovil Library while still an A-level student at Yeovil College.

After completing her degree in Librarianship at Aberystwyth University, she went on to work in Berkshire, Surrey, Dorset and the London Borough Of Hounslow before returning to Somerset when she got married in 1990.

Sue said: “A member of staff told me then, ‘you’ll never leave’ and how prescient was that, because I never did!”

“I have always tried to make the most of whatever opportunities there have been so since then I have worked in probably every part of the Somerset Libraries Service, before assuming a lead role in 2012.”

“When I first received the email informing me that I had been recommended for the MBE I have to confess to double checking that it wasn’t a spam message before registering the reality of it.”

“I’ve just started reading Sheila Hancock’s new book, ‘Old Rage’ and she talks about the time she heard she had been nominated for an OBE – ‘It is very nice of them all to have thought of me, but who do they think I am?’ It resonates!”

She adds: “Libraries are a powerful resource that are often underestimated – talk with any member of staff and they will be able to share stories about how a visit to the library has helped make a difference to people’s lives, sometimes in very practical ways, such as helping to find a job, sometimes in less obvious ways by providing a place of safety, or even refuge.

“I feel I am accepting this award on behalf of all those who have worked and who will continue to work in our libraries ensuring they remain relevant, welcoming and fun places. They help us make sense of what is an increasingly divisive and chaotic world and as I work towards my own retirement in a few months’ time I will look forward to continuing to visit and use libraries once again as a very happy library user.”

Cllr Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset County Council, adds: “Sue has been at the heart of our library services for many years and we are delighted to hear this news. Huge congratulations on a very well-deserved honour.”

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