Vera author Ann Cleeves named first 'public library champion' by library charity

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Crime writer, Ann Cleeves, has been chosen as recipient of the inaugural Public Library Champion award by Libraries Connected.

The award has been established to recognise a public figure who has used their platform to promote, celebrate and raise awareness of libraries.

The author of 37 critically acclaimed crime novels – including Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez and Matthew Venn series – has been an outspoken advocate for public libraries throughout her career and part-funded as well as initiated a Reading for Wellbeing project.

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The scheme, which was established to mark the 21st anniversary of Cleeves’ North East detective character Vera Stanhope, is supported by five North East local authorities including Northumberland.

Ann Cleeves is the recipient of the first Public Library Champion award.Ann Cleeves is the recipient of the first Public Library Champion award.
Ann Cleeves is the recipient of the first Public Library Champion award.

GPs, social prescribers and community workers can refer individuals who may be struggling with chronic pain, anxiety, stress, depression or loneliness to the reading workers, who provide access to books, enthusiastic librarians and other readers.

Ann said: "I'm honoured and delighted to be receiving this award. Without libraries, I wouldn't be a writer. There'd be no Vera or Shetland on our screens, selling all over the world and bringing money and tourists into our country. More importantly, I probably wouldn't be a reader."

She will receive the award alongside 12 public library workers who have had an exceptional impact on their library service, library users or their local communities.

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Isobel Hunter, chief executive of Libraries Connected, said: "Ann is a hugely deserving winner of our very first Public Library Champion award.

"Despite Ann’s enormous critical and commercial success she has never stopped celebrating the wonder and imaginative power of public libraries."

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