Merton Council’s Library & Heritage Service has been short-listed for a top national award.

The Library Service entered the Library Association’s Libraries Change Lives Awards and could be in line for one of the highly regarded awards.

Merton’s application was focussed on the work that has been carried out with Asylum Welcome that involved visits to the Asylum Welcome drop in centre and escorted visits for the centre users to local libraries.

This project is one of many that the Black Minority Ethnic (BME)/Outreach service has embarked on since it was first launched in September 2000.

Despite only being operational for about six months, it has established itself as a leader in its field and has excited interest and partnerships from a wide range of authorities and organisations including Kent County Council and the Social Exclusion Action Planning Network.

Being shortlisted for the Libraries Change Lives Award is further verification of the work of this service, which is spearheading the Community Development strand of the library and heritage strategy.

Councillor Karl Carter, Cabinet Member for Lifelong Learning, said: “This is fantastic news for the Library and Heritage Service and further proof of the quality in the BME/Outreach service.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the project for getting this far and I hope to be congratulating them in the very near future if we win an award.”

The service was established as a result of the Library Review and seeks to reach out to the Black and minority ethnic communities in Merton (which make up 20 % of the local population) and others who do not currently use the library service.

A panel of judges for the award will visit Merton on 2 April and the winners will be announced on 6 June at the Library and Information show at the NEC in Birmingham.