At the presentation was Elaine Brown, Vanessa’s manager, who had nominated her for the award. Elaine stated in her nomination: “Vanessa has created an amazing space for our SEND and Foundation Skills students. It initially started with a few bookshelves, but with her enthusiasm and innovative ideas, it has resulted in a full-sized library full of books, games and bird feeders.
“Vanessa has worked with curriculum colleagues and students to create wonderful artwork around the walls, so that the students truly feel that this is their space. She runs storytime and activity sessions within the library, as well as out and about in the curriculum. She knows all the students by name and her lunchtime club is a safe space for students needing some ‘time out’. She has even started learning Makaton to enable her to communicate with our students with high needs.”
Vanessa’s colleague Sally Nason, said: “Vanessa is popular with both staff and students. Many students choose to spend their free time with her and enjoy helping with displays and artwork. Vanessa is excellent in making students feel valued and confident.
“Nothing is too much trouble for her – she is committed, hard -working, funny and a positive role model. She has made the library the centre of the department, constantly researching new ideas and creating a stimulating and welcoming place. Vanessa has made a difference to many of our students’ college experience and is so worthy of this award.”
Audrey Stranders, Group Director of Learning Resources at New City College, who was also at the presentation said she was ‘delighted to share and celebrate Vanessa’s achievements’.
Vanessa commented: “I am so grateful to CoLRiC. It’s fantastic to receive recognition for the work I do with the students. I would like to thank my managers – Elaine Brown and Audrey Stranders – and all my colleagues for supporting me in the development of this focused learning resource service.
“Our aim is to provide a welcoming and inclusive space for our amazing students. Developing their capabilities and supporting their needs have always been our priority. I feel proud of what we have achieved.”
CoLRiC is an independent organisation that is the voice of Further Education and Sixth Form College Libraries and Learning Resource Services in the UK. It advocates and champions quality and exemplary practice across the educational sector, supporting staff to show the impact and value that they bring to teaching, learning and the student experience.
We caught up with Vanessa during her busy working day for a Q&A. Here’s what she had to say: