New Year’s Honour for services to public libraries

Huddersfield’s newest library was opened in August 2021 next to Birkby Junior School

Kirklees Libraries staff receive New Year’s Honours recognition three years in a row with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2022 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee New Year’s Honours list.

Andy Wright, Library Development Manager, will receive a BEM for services to public libraries after working in the sector for over 30 years. He has previously worked at Wakefield Libraries in a wide variety of roles, eventually becoming Acting Head of Service, before moving to Kirklees Libraries in July 2019.

Highlights in his career include being part of the design team for one of the biggest city libraries built this century, serving as National Association of Children’s and Schools librarians secretary and winning national awards for mobile library design. Andy has also led on ‘Engaging Libraries’, a public engagement grants scheme with the Wellcome Trust and the Carnegie UK Trust which brought £750,000 of investment into the public library sector.

Other projects Andy has worked on with multiple government departments and agencies include the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport Libraries Taskforce; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Arts Council England; Libraries Connected, and with Health Education England and Public Health England as part of his work on the relationship between libraries and the health improvement agenda.

Andy was also in the news last year when he completed a 5-year 5,000-mile charity running challenge, raising over £11,000  for The Kirkwood.

Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Corporate said: “I am delighted to hear that Andy is on the New Year’s Honours list for a British Empire Medal.  He joins a growing band of library staff that have received national recognition for the fantastic work they do in serving Kirklees communities, even during these unprecedented times.

“Hearing a little bit about the breadth of strategic work Andy has done in his career is really something. It’s great to see this level of expertise among our staff and the contribution they make to public services being recognised nationally. Congratulations to Andy.” 

Carol Stump, Chief Librarian and President of Libraries Connected said: “It’s always great news when one of your team is recognised with an award. Andy has been a fantastic ambassador for public libraries throughout his long career. He’s worked in Kirklees for a short time, but I’ve known him for much longer. His passion and commitment to public libraries, the work they do and what they contribute to our local communities is infectious.

“Andy is best known for his work relating to the public libraries health agenda, and this award is well-deserved recognition for his broad contribution to the ongoing strategic development of the public library sector.  I’m extremely proud of Andy and the work he’s done both here in Kirklees and in previous posts.”

Andy Wright, Library Development Manager at the opening of Birkby and Fartown Library in August 2021

Andy Wright, Library Development Manager said: “I was surprised and extremely proud to be notified of my award in the New Year’s Honours list. It’s been a real privilege to work with so many great people in public libraries over the years, in Kirklees and Wakefield, as well as regionally and nationally. I feel that this award is a testament to all the exceptional teams that it’s been an honour to work with.”

Andy joins Kirklees Libraries colleagues Jon Davis and Judith Robinson who received British Empire Medals in 2020 and 2019 respectively. 

Andy will receive his medal from the Lord Lieutenant at a ceremony later this year.

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