Excellence Awards for Music Libraries and Personal Achievement 2019 – Guidance notes for applicants

The deadline for submissions for the 2019 Excellence Awards has now passed


Music and its performance lie at the centre of our culture and traditions. It offers a rich variety of opportunities for learning, personal fulfilment and research and is a significant part of the UK and Irish cultural and creative industries.

The range of music libraries in the UK and Ireland is diverse. No two are alike, each reflecting, supporting and engaging its own user community with a range of collections and services.

Every three years IAML (UK & Irl) invites nominations for its two Excellence Awards – the Excellence Award for Music Libraries, and the Personal Achievement Award.

The Excellence Award for Music Libraries

There is so much to celebrate, and IAML (UK & Irl) wishes to recognise the achievement of individual music libraries through its Excellence Award for Music Libraries. The award is presented every three years, and focuses on outstanding music services to the library’s user community.

Award criteria

The basis of the award will be to demonstrate:

  • sustained good work and good practice which has the potential to be adopted and adapted by others

           and may also include, if relevant:

  • serious development of a service
  • innovation of obviously lasting value.

How to apply

The award is open to ANY music library (or music service within a larger library) in the UK or Ireland. The library may be nominated by its own library staff or by its users, managers, or by other libraries or library colleagues.

Completing the nomination form:

Nominations closed on 29th November 2018. The self-assessment form must be submitted by 31st January 2019.

The self-assessment form you receive will enable you to provide evidence demonstrating appropriate good practice in service delivery which must include items 1 to 3 in the following list, but may also include any of items 4 to 7, or any additional evidence which you wish to submit.

  1. Materials/resources supporting the study, enjoyment and performance of music
  2. A knowledgeable person (or team) managing the service
  3. Good and appropriate availability of the service and access to collections, information and knowledgeable staff
  4. Appropriate documentation and publicising of the collection and the service, through catalogues, website or other suitable means
  5. Participation in appropriate inter-library co-operation
  6. Partnerships with other organisations to enhance the value of the service for users
  7. Engagement with both users and potential users

If you do not work for the library/organisation you are nominating then please complete the entire form using the supporting statement to explain in no more than 750 words, and taking into account the award criteria, why you think the library you are nominating should be considered for the award.

State which of the award criteria your nomination relates to — the essential criterion must be fulfilled, but you may also choose either or both of the others if they apply to the library you are nominating.

Your completed nomination form should be submitted by 29th November 2018.

When your institutional nomination is received, the institution nominated will be sent a self-assessment form to be completed by that institution, to be submitted by 31st January 2019.

How the application will be assessed

The nominations will be judged by a panel of experts from both the music and library worlds and will include both library professionals and users. We are pleased to announce that the Chair of the 2019 Judging Panel will be Dr Charles Inskip, Senior lecturer and Programme Director at the Department of Information Studies, University College London

New for the 2019 Awards – Institutions which are judged to have achieved the highest standard of Excellence in all compulsory criteria will be eligible for an Excellence Award “with distinction”.

The awards will be presented on Saturday 13th April 2019 at the 2019 IAML (UK & Irl) Annual Study Weekend in Leicester.

The Personal Achievement Award

After the original launch of the Excellence Award, IAML (UK & Irl) added a second award to recognise individual achievement by a member of staff in a music library service. The award criteria are the same as for the Excellence Award and can apply to any aspect of service delivery or development.

NOTE: the person being nominated for the Award must still be employed by the library service at the time of nomination.

Award Criteria

The Award is based on sustained good work and good practice which can be adopted or adapted by others.

This is the essential criterion against which all applications will be adjudicated.  You may also choose for the nominated person to be considered with reference to either or both of the following:

  • Serious development of a service and/or
  • Innovation of obviously lasting value

How to apply

Please complete the supporting statement at the end of the nomination form explaining in no more than 750 words, why you think the person you are nominating should be considered for the award, taking into account the award criteria. The Personal Achievement Award will be assessed entirely on the supporting statement.

Your completed nomination should be submitted using the Personal Achievement Award nomination form by 31st January 2019.

How the application will be assessed

Applications will be considered by the Excellence Award Panel at the same time as those for the Excellence Award for Music Libraries.

The awards will be presented on Sunday 14th April 2019 at the 2019 IAML (UK & Irl) Annual Study Weekend in Leicester.

A list of winners of the 2016 awards in both categories, together with citations and pictures, can be found here.