Hertfordshire Librarian recognised in Queen's Honours

Published: 11 Jun 2019

The Head of Libraries and Heritage Service, Andrew Bignell, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his outstanding 42-year service to Public Libraries.

During his career, Andrew has led a number of major initiatives which have seen Hertfordshire libraries flourish into the modern community hubs they are today.

Andrew Bignell said: “I’m rather overwhelmed to be recognised in this way – it really is unexpected.

“I passionately believe in the power of public libraries to enrich and improve people’s lives. I have always done my best to deliver high quality services in any job I have had, but I have never thought of myself as the medal-winning type!

“I’m extremely proud and quite humbled that my efforts have been recognised by the award of a British Empire Medal.”

Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Libraries and Localism, Cllr Terry Douris said: “Andrew is hugely respected by library and heritage services staff, the senior officers in HCC and the elected members. Andrew is also well known and respected across our neighbouring library services, not just those in Hertfordshire.

“His authenticity, integrity and commitment have shone through his leadership. He is a champion of the public library ethos within the profession.”

Scott Crudgington, Director of Resources at Hertfordshire County Council said: “This is such a great honour and richly deserved recognition for over 40 years of public service. Having worked in libraries all his career, he has achieved so much and helped produce a library service fit for the digital generation.”

Andrew joined Hertfordshire County Council in 1989 as the Deputy Librarian at Watford Library and has worked in a variety of roles since then before being appointed Head of Libraries and Heritage Services in April 2011.

Under his leadership, Hertfordshire Libraries were one of the first in the country to have self-service and Wi-Fi across all sites, as well as helping to develop volunteer-partnered libraries.

A true innovator, Andrew has brought in new ideas like Creatorspaces and developed eLibrary services, as well as modernising library buildings across the county – proving time and time again the contribution that Libraries make to learning, digital inclusion, health and wellbeing and the culture of local communities.

He has most recently led the county council’s Inspiring Libraries Strategy, which has seen Hertfordshire libraries radically change and develop in the last few years, making significant savings while challenging the media cliché of public libraries as a service in decline.

Outside work, Andrew’s interests include going to the theatre and art exhibitions, listening to jazz and reading books! He plans to retire later this year.