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Double success as ONFife flies the flag for Scotland

16 January 2020

ONFife is celebrating a double success after becoming the only Scottish organisation to be nominated in the National Campaign for the Arts’ Hearts For The Arts Awards 2020.

And not only is the charity, which runs theatres, libraries, galleries and museums in Fife, flying the flag for Scotland in the UK-wide annual awards but it has been nominated in two of the five categories.

Pauline Smeaton, service development supervisor at St Andrews Library, has been shortlisted for Best Arts Champion (Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker) while ONFife’s innovative Moments in Time initiative, which engages and inspires people living with dementia at monthly sessions in Duloch Library and Kirkcaldy Galleries and care homes as well as special activities like GrooveON discos at Rothes Halls, is in the running for Best Arts Project (Arts, Health and Wellbeing).

That Pauline’s standout qualities have been recognised is no surprise to her colleagues and friends – she was named Ladybank’s Citizen of the Year in 2019.

Explaining why she had been shortlisted, the organisers said her work in libraries was “significantly needed” and she had been succeeding in keeping libraries and literature in people’s lives.

“Her activity is also very focused on schools and on children,” the organisers said. “Arts in education will continue to suffer over the coming years but the way she ensures access to books will be a sure-fire way of ensuring the education, literacy, freedom and independence of the young people.”

Pauline’s passion for literacy and creativity is well recognised within the communities she serves. She has dedicated her 38-year library career to engaging young people in the wonder of books and reading for pleasure.

With 30 schools and seven libraries in her remit, Pauline, from Cupar, is a well-known and much-loved presence within North East Fife and her active promotion of libraries and literacy – from babies through to teenagers – has created a much-valued reading ethos.

Last year alone, Pauline dedicated time to establishing Bookbug sessions for pre-schoolers and families within four of her libraries, reaching over 448 Pre-schoolers and their families, while continuing to support the already established sessions at the other three libraries.

She has also maintained engagement with younger customers at her two junior Book Clubs while consistently ensured that all seven libraries have a variety of children’s holiday activities.

In addition, she has worked hard to establish and maintain strong relationships with all 30 of her schools to ensure they have access to services even when there may be no physical library in their community.

This can involve accommodating trips to the library, story times, author events, participating in the annual Big Book Brain Quiz and P7 Book Awards – Pauline will do everything she can to ensure every child in North East Fife has access to the Library service.

She has become a well-known face within the communities she serves and has often been a part of children’s lives from when they were babies right through to their teenage years and into adulthood.

Her dedication to providing literary opportunities has resulted in a well-established and highly valued reading culture, so much so that she was awarded the title of Citizen of the Year 2019 by the children and families of Ladybank Primary School.

Discussing Moments in Time, the organisers said: “The use of new approaches and the variety of activities allows this project to be delivered in libraries/care homes and remove physical barriers to access.”

They commented on the project’s “inherent fun-ness” which was clearly animating for both participants and staff.

“To be such a fun project, whilst also leading on dementia policy aims, is very inspiring,” they added.

Moments in Time encompasses a variety of activities, from free, relaxed sessions designed to give those living with dementia an opportunity to revisit a time in their lives using stories, poems, photographs and music to Movie Moments, special cinema screenings.

The sessions are also a great way for those living with dementia and their partners, family and friends to meet others in similar situations in a welcoming atmosphere.

Heather Stuart, chief executive of Fife Cultural Trust (ONFife), said: “For ONFife to be the only cultural organisation or local authority in Scotland to be shortlisted is an achievement in itself but for our Libraries service to be nominated in two categories is a tremendous tribute to the dedication and commitment of our people.

“These awards celebrate the unsung heroes who are championing the arts and our Libraries teams are always looking to create new inspiring and inclusive experiences for customers no matter their age or ability, whether that’s parents and babies at Bookbugs or people living with dementia.”

The winners of the Hearts For The Arts Awards 2020 will be announced on Valentine’s Day, 14 February, and will be selected by a panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners, including Susie Dent, lexicographer, etymologist and host of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner; Gary Kemp, actor, musician, songwriter and founder member of Spandau Ballet; Julie Hesmondhalgh, actress and activist; Alom Shaha, physics teacher, dad and author of Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder; Errollyn Wallen CBE, composer; Kirstie Wilson, winner of the 2019 Hearts for the Arts Best Local Authority Arts Champion, and Samuel West, actor, director and chair of the National Campaign for the Arts.


For further information please contact: Sheona Small, Press Officer, tel 07809 727 989 or 03451 555 555 ext 445046, or email: sheona.small@onfife.com

Notes to editors:

· Fife Cultural Trust (ONFife) manages and operates theatres, libraries, museums and galleries and cultural partnerships on behalf of Fife Council for people living, working and visiting Fife. Further information about Fife Cultural Trust can be found online at www.onfife.com

The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts, often within a climate of severe financial challenges.