Popular Rochdale librarian bookmarks top national award

A much-loved Rochdale librarian who has dedicated more than 40 years to helping babies and toddlers develop a love of books and reading has scooped a national award for her dedicated work.


The council’s early years worker Irene Peachey impressed the BookTrust judging panel to win the ‘Bookstart Baby Gifting Partner’ gong.

It was deserved recognition for Irene who has dedicated her life to sharing books, songs and rhymes with babies and pre-schoolers across the borough of Rochdale.

Irene’s Bookstart Bear sessions in local libraries are regularly packed out as her infectious love of reading and learning connects with and charms people of all ages.

Judges hailed Irene saying she stood out both for her long involvement with Bookstart and her popular personal touch with young families.

Irene said: “Sharing books, songs and rhymes with babies and pre-schoolers has been my passion for over 44 years, so to be acknowledged with this award is amazing and quite overwhelming. I love my job and I am passionate about making a positive impact to the lives of families and youngsters across the borough. I would like to thank everyone who plays their part in making Rochdale’s library service a success story to be proud of.”

Councillor Janet Emsley, council cabinet member for libraries, said: “Irene is an absolute star who does such wonderful work across our libraries. The parents and children absolutely love her and I’m not surprised her Bookstart sessions are so popular and well attended. Irene’s warmth, passion for reading and love of learning shines through and this deserved reward is long overdue. Well done Irene and keep up the good work!”

Hannah McMahon of Middleton said: “We all think is Irene is absolutely brilliant and her sessions are really engaging and so much fun. I am thrilled for her and this award is richly deserved. The Bookstart Bear events are a ‘must attend’ on the social calendar of scores of Middleton mums and dads!”

Middleton resident Sarah Haynes said: “I have been coming to Irene’s sessions for over three years, with my children, and they are so good we rarely miss one. She is an amazing person and I am thrilled she been honoured with this fantastic national award.”

Further information on the council’s Bookstart Bear events can be found at www.rochdale.gov.uk/library-services

BookTrust is a national organisation which works to get children and families reading. It is the largest children’s reading charity and each year reaches 3.4 million children across the UK with books to support and help develop a love of reading. The national Bookstart programme is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary.


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