Newtown Library has won joint first place for the Welsh Library Team of the Year Award.

Staff have been recognized nationally for their commitment and innovative services during a turbulent 2020.

Maureen Jones, of Powys County Council, nominated the Newtown Area Library team because: “Although they have always had a dynamic team, in Covid-19 they delivered many new services, from calling customers over 70 to online quizzes and creative writing and poetry competitions.

“The shift from advising readers to choosing for them was also embraced by the team while overcoming IT barriers and tremendous uncertainty.”

The award was presented by Lord Elis-Thomas MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism on December 3.

The Deputy Minister, said: “Librarians are the heart of the library service and I am continually impressed by the excellent work to make libraries a welcoming place for all.”

Co-presenter Nick Poole added: “2020 has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, but I am immensely proud of the way in which the library, knowledge and information sector has risen to the challenges presented by Covid-19 .

“It is my pleasure to be able to present this award as a gesture of thanks for all that the NHS Wales and Library Knowledge Service team and Newtown Area Library team have achieved this year.”

The judges Andrew Eynon, (CILIP Cymru Wales), Steve Williams (WHELF & CILIP Board), Kristine Chapman (National Museum of Wales) and Amanda Bennett (Welsh Government) were impressed by all six nominations and pleased to hear about outstanding teams from across the sector in Wales.

The judges said that the Newtown team nomination “really brought alive what the service was doing” for local people.

They added: “Although the challenges of trying to fulfil basic services during a pandemic might have prevented them from feeling like they were improving services, in truth the innovative and enthusiastic way they have adapted to remote working has no doubt reached new users.”

As joint first prize winners Newtown Library and NHS Wales and Library Knowledge Service will take £400 back to their service.