A Yorkshireman born and bred, I came to library work late in life. I spent nearly 25 years in the transport industry - working across the sector, at almost every level, from driver’s mate to managing director and proprietor. My last position was as a Passenger operations Manager for Wallace Arnold (Coaches) Ltd.
I joined Kirklees Libraries in 2004 to drive mobile libraries. Since then, I have held several posts, including Operations Manager for Mobile & Home Service Libraries, Customer Service Manager at Huddersfield Central Library and Customer Service Manager (Projects) for the whole service. I am currently the Manager of Dewsbury Library. I have not completely abandoned my transport roots – in addition to my ‘day job,’ I am still on-call for our Winter Service Team, (driving a gritter/snow-plough.)
I joined CILIP's Branch & Mobile Libraries Group in 2007. I took part in the Advisory Panel on Community Libraries and I have presented and published individually and jointly on Partnership Working and Managing Occupational Road Risk. I have been referred to as both ‘a bit of an expert’ and ‘a bit of an anorak,’ on the subject of Mobile Library Operations and, to be honest, either epithet could be appropriate! I have served on this Committee since the creation of the Public & Mobile Libraries Group and I am the publisher of the group journal, ACCESS.
Jacquie Widdowson - Co-Chair
I started my library career in a busy London public library service. I took up the role of Darwen Librarian, for the Blackburn and Darwen Library Service, in 2016. My professional interests include digital platforms, events programming and marketing, social media and youth services.
I have been a member of CILIP since 2010, was a YLG London committee member for two years and have been a PMLG (formerly PLG) committee member since early 2012.
I gained my Librarian qualification at City University, London, where I was awarded a distinction in Information Management in the Cultural Sector MSc. I was awarded my MCLIP Chartership in January 2015.
In my spare time I am somewhat of an adventurer; I love travelling and trying new things. Most recently, I have been enjoying hawking, indoor sky-diving, segway rally, fire cooking, survival skills training, canyoning, kayaking, climbing and mountain walking.
Saran Pope - Honorary Secretary (& Journal Editor)
I started working for Caerphilly Library Service as a Supply Library Assistant in 2007 and haven’t looked back since! I am currently working as a Community Librarian after completing my MSc Econ in Information and Library Studies via distance learning with Aberystwyth University. I completed Chartership in 2017 and I am currently Hon. Secretary of CILIP PMLG committee. I have a wide range of professional interests including reader development and digital services. I enjoy the variety of opportunities on offer in the public library service. In one day I can go from attending project meetings to leading a class of children around a library dressed as the cat in the hat! My job is never boring and I've learned to expect the unexpected!
Allie Cingi - Honorary Treasurer
I started working for Bridgend Libraries in South Wales in 2013, and I’m now a very happy manager of three branches. I completed my Information and Library Studies qualification via distance learning with Robert Gordon University while also teaching full-time… I’m happy to report I survived, I’m immensely glad I did it, and I am now working towards Chartership. My main professional interests are in social media, marketing and the use of STEM and non-fiction.
In my spare time I meditate, read obscure non-fiction, learn Welsh, play badminton, go for walks, raid charity shops and try to be an obedient servant to my two cats.
Victoria Hunter - Vice-Chair
I first started working for public libraries in 2011, as a Library Assistant for Cheshire East Council, followed by a brief switch of library sectors to work as a Senior Library Assistant for Manchester Metropolitan University Library in 2015. However, I enjoyed working with local communities and the broad range of services offered in public libraries far too much to stay away for long!
Over the last 3 years I've worked for Cheshire West and Chester Libraries, initially as a frontline library manager and now as a Locality Librarian, focused on outreach and service development for our public libraries in Northwich and Winsford. I completed Chartership (MCLIP) in January 2018 and am a CILIP mentor, as well as being Vice-Chair of the PMLG Committee and part of CWC Libraries’ Digital & Learning Task Group.
My professional interests and experience are principally focused on people management; encouraging reader development; and supporting digital inclusion through projects like Code Club. Outside of my interests in all things public library, I enjoy reading and travelling; am an ardent coffee enthusiast; and am currently the “secret weapon” of a literary-quiz team.
Julia Shepherd - Events Officer
I have worked in public libraries since 2000, for both Central Bedfordshire Council and Buckinghamshire County Council.
I joined the Cilip Branch & Mobile Libraries (BMLG) Committee in 2008 and, since the merger with PLG, have become a part of the Public & Mobile Libraries Group (PMLG) committee.
In my spare time I am the Principal clarinet player in my local concert band and also like playing my many other musical instruments. I enjoy LeRoc dancing and have had my own poetry book published.
Stella Chevalier - Tour Facilitator
I have worked in public libraries since 2005, for Oxfordshire county council and currently for the London Borough of Sutton as a Librarian. As a qualified secondary school science teacher, my passions include promoting and encouraging reader development, literacy for all and life-long learning. I am currently working towards my MCLIP qualification.
Aside from reading, spare time is used attempting to grow an assortment of vegetables at my allotment and working with a local environmental charity (assisting with their family hands-on allotment growing courses). I enjoy walking around London, discovering its hidden history and ever-changing landscape as well as going to music gigs in small and obscure venues.
Julie McKirdy - Treasurer Designate
38 years working in a very busy branch library in Sandwell, West Midlands and my volunteering work within the local community has helped me to establish Thimblemill library as the arts and cultural hub, which it is today. I am actively involved with local groups in the community; I'm school governor to 2 local primary schools, secretary to a local conservation group, events officer to a local park, board director to a local community centre and board member to West Midlands police service.
I was awarded the prestigious BEM, (British Empire Medal) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2015. I thought nothing could top this supreme award, but in September 2016, I was doubly honoured to be declared Public Library Champion of the Year.
In my spare time I like to travel, love finding hard to reach places, driving and the open roads to somewhere new; music, dancing, theatre and meals out all help me to unwind.
Samantha Lockett - Committee Member (& Journal Editor)
I have been a Library Assistant at Holmes Chapel Library in Cheshire East for four and a half years. During this time, I have put my love of children’s and Young Adult fiction to good use, running a lively teenage book club and staging a variety of children’s events. Working with young people is my favourite part of the job. So much so, that I volunteered to coordinate the young volunteer scheme for the Summer Reading Challenge. Two years on, 15 young people have dedicated their summers to inspiring children to read – a lovely sight to behold!
I am currently studying for my MA in Information and Library Studies via distance learning. I completed Certification (ACLIP) in 2017 and recently enrolled for Chartership (MCLIP).
Outside of work, I am often to be found at the mercy of my Demon Cats, Mattie and Margo. To escape, I love to walk my dog Gisborne through the Cheshire countryside.
Aude Charillon - LACA Representative for Public Libraries
I am currently working as Library and Information Officer at Newcastle Libraries. Part of my time is spent within the Business & IP Centre Newcastle, managing the business collections and answering customer enquiries. I am also certified by the UK Intellectual Property Office to provide information regarding patents, designs, trademarks and copyright. Another part of my time is spent on expanding the digital and learning offers at Newcastle Libraries; especially relating to more advanced digital skills - coding, using online tools for creative remix of content, protecting one's privacy online, etc. I am a keen believer that libraries have a role to play in the open movement. I am part of the team pushing the open data agenda and linked activities at Newcastle Libraries. I have been a member of the CILIP North East Member Network committee for several years. I joined the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance as the public libraries representative in October 2016.