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Travelling Librarian Award

Applications for the 2014 Travelling Librarian Award are now closed, they will be opening again in early 2015.

2014's Travelling Librarian is Elizabeth Williams, a subject librarian at Goldsmiths', University of London. Elizabeth will use the award to visit the University of Pretoria, where she will explore its HE outreach initiative to promote literacies needed for Higher Education, and the role of libraries and librarians in this. Please click here to read more about Elizabeth's trip.

2013 Travelling Librarian tours Australia's libraries ahead of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games

Click here to read the full press release. 

2013's Travelling Librarian, Kirsten McCormick, is the General Services Librarian at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, the host city for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. She has used the award to complete a tour of Australia to learn about the process of building and maintaining collections around an international sporting event. Click here to read Kirsten's blog!

 "The Travelling Librarian award opened up lots of new opportunities in my workplace, particularly in the area of collection planning and management and also working with colleagues from other departments including our Special Collections department and the City Archives. The opportunity to speak publicly at events, including for the ESU Scotland members, has been a great confidence booster and I have made a huge number of contacts both at home and in Australia expanding my professional network. I’ve also been invited to contribute to various publications based on my experiences and it has not only been a pleasure to share with colleagues, but also a fantastic source of evidence for my imminent chartership submission to CILIP."

Kirsten's full report can be found here. 

Kirsten will now continue to be involved with the Commonwealth Games collection; planning how to select, preserve and make the items accessible in the future and she has also been invited to submit an article for inclusion in the Australian Library and Information Association’s magazine INCITE later this summer.

She is planning her next big project at the Mitchell Library which will be to get involved with Wikimedia UK projects. The inspiration for this project originates from her travels in Australia where Kirsten met with Liam Wyatt, Vice President of Wikimedia Australia and formerly the first wikipedian-in-residence at the British Museum. 


Run in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the Travelling Librarian Award builds relationships between library and information professionals in the UK and their counterparts in the US and across the Commonwealth through a professional development study tour. 

The award of £3000 covers flights and some accommodation. Normally the visits last 2-3 weeks and take place during the autumn. The successful candidate is free to put together their own programme of visits (although help and advice is available). Where possible, the recipient is encouraged to take up hospitality with ESU branches in the US and international ESUs across the Commonwealth. 

The full list of Commonwealth countries.  


Applications for 2014 are now closed. We will open for new applications in early 2015. To be eligible to apply, candidates must be:

a) UK library and information professionals and;

b) a member of CILIP at time of application. 

How to apply 

- Apply by email or post with a CV, cover letter, and reference letter from your current/most recent employee.

- Send your completed application to or Education, ESU, Dartmouth House, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED. References may be emailed/posted separately if needed. 

- Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview at the ESU in London.

A selection panel will judge all applications objectively on how well they further the aims and purposes of the award, and the evidence provided in support of this. Your cover letter should outline the intended focus of your study tour, proposed location, and potential relevant institutions. It would set out initial thoughts relating to the planning of the project and look at the benefits of the project to the broader profession (and other relevant stakeholders) as well as the award recipient. 

On return, the successful candidate will be expected to give some presentations and produce a short report. Usually, a Travelling Librarian reception is held each year when the most recent recipient has the opportunity to make a short presentation on their study visit. Past recipients have found the study tour a rewarding personal and professional experience which has often helped to advance their career.  For further information please visit CILIP's website.  

2012 Recipient

George Roe is Senior Indexer at the House of Commons Library and studied how libraries in the United States enriched the democratic process during the 2012 Presidential elections. He was keen to learn how US libraries have engaged people from a variety of backgrounds, especially those generally considered to be marginalised from the democratic process.

“I am extremely passionate about the role that libraries and information professionals play in the role of any truly democratic nation. I am thrilled to have won the ESU CILIP Travelling Librarian Award and I cannot wait to investigate this further and hopefully bring back some learning and best practise to our sector and to the House.” George Roe.

Click here to see George's blog.