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Donation for library near Grenfell Tower to help young people in shock and grief
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Donation for library near Grenfell Tower to help young people in shock and grief

Illustrator Lane Smith and author Ruta Sepetys have announced a joint donation of £1,000 to North Kensington Library, the closest library to Grenfell Tower. The donation is part of the prize from CILIP, the library and information association, for winning the 2017 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book awards. The donation will be used to create a special collection of books to support young people in the community who are experiencing grief and shock. 

Mike Clarke Tri-Borough Director of Libraries and Archives said “This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for the community of North Kensington. The library service wants to play its part in helping people wherever possible, whether by providing practical or emotional support, and in creating a space for those who need it to pause and reflect. This will continue as long as it is needed, both with organised events and being open to provide a quiet space for people. We hope they will continue to find help, support and information when they need it from us and others and we will continue to monitor the situation to make our help as useful as it can be.”

The Library intends to use the donation to create a special collection of books with a particular focus on dealing with grief and shock for both teens and children, in a similar vein to the Reading Well scheme. The Library will create a special display and circulate the book list to organisations they have been working with in the aftermath of Grenfell. The Library also plans to donate copies of some of the books to the Curve (the Grenfell Assistance Centre).

Nick Poole Chief Executive of CILIP, the library and information association, said “I cannot begin to imagine what the community around Grenfell Tower have, and continue to, experience. I know it is a small gesture when people’s needs are so great but I hope that this donation means that through books, words and a welcoming place young people have extra support through the most difficult of times.”

Lane Smith, acclaimed US artist and author, won the 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations in There is a Tribe of Kids (Two Hoots), a picture book exploring the power of collective nouns and the importance of play and exploration. 

Music manager turned novelist Ruta Sepetys won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Salt to the Sea (Puffin), a New York Times-bestselling novel that explores the events leading up to the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the worst maritime disaster in history.
As part of their prize for winning the Medals Sepetys and Smith each received £500 to donate to a library of their choice and agreed to combine the donation in order to support young people in the community near Grenfell Tower.

Widely regarded as the greatest of all accolades available to a children's writer or illustrator, the annually awarded Medals are unique in that they are judged solely by librarians. In 2017 the Carnegie Medal was eighty years old and the Kate Greenaway Medal sixty, making the Carnegie Medal the UK’s oldest children’s book award.


Press contact

Mark Taylor
Director of External Relations, CILIP
020 7255 0654

Notes to editors

1. About CILIP, the library and information association

CILIP is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. Our goal is to put information and library skills and professional values at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. 

2. About North Kensington Library

North Kensington Library is a grade II listed building, opening to the public in 1891 and was the first publicly funded library in Kensington. It is situated on Ladbroke Grove and is at the heart of the community, a vibrant and energetic area which is the hosts of Portobello Market and the Notting Hill Carnival. Much of the staff are local residents and directly affected by the Grenfell disaster. Several members of staff volunteered at the site in the aftermath. North Kensington Library still works closely with the Curve (Grenfell Assistance Centre).About the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals

3. About the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals

The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). A self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA, Carnegie's experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that "If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries." He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English speaking world and by the time of his death over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries. 

The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular nineteenth century artist, known for her beautiful children's illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. 

Headline image, Grenfell Tower photograph from Duncan C's Flickr feed, Cropped and re-sized. CC BY-NC 2.0



Press Release  

Published:  9 January 2018


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