Libraries chief surprised and delighted at New Year's honour

Krystal Vittles, head of service delivery for Suffolk Libraries, has been awarded a BEM for services to public libraries

Krystal Vittles, head of service delivery for Suffolk Libraries, has been awarded a BEM for services to public libraries - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Service to public libraries has led to Krystal Vittles being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year's Honours List.

Ms Vittles, Suffolk Libraries head of service delivery, who lives near Stowmarket, was delighted at the award. 

"I was very surprised - I didn't see it coming at all," she said. "I just love my job, because I get to work with really talented and dedicated people."

The 38-year-old played a central role in establishing the mutual society which runs Suffolk Libraries, which is the first of its kind.

The awards citation says she has "been a trailblazer in exploring alternative delivery models and brokering partnership working, and leveraging her expertise in working with young people, to enhance and improve library services for the people of East Anglia. "

It also says: "She spearheaded Suffolk Libraries’ successful bid to become an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and co-designed a programme with young people and local artists to increase youth access and involvement with culture."

Ms Vittles paid tribute to library staff, saying: "My colleagues are so empathetic and they are doing everything they can for their community."

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She said Suffolk Libraries had changed its whole way of working during the pandemic, to continue serving the public. 

This included launching Lifeline, a service reaching out to help isolated library customers.

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