Paula Brown

Library Manager, Access Services, Derby Libraries

Paula set out to use the Practical Outreach course to plan improvements to the Library Home Service. During lockdown she worked to plan how to widen and enrich readers’ choices once the service was up and running again. People who cannot visit a physical library are unable to browse and to discover new favourites.  Paula’s project aimed to find creative ways to solve that problem.

Paula devised a new promotion to offer curated selections of books based on a series of reader-centred themes that could be delivered to outreach locations on a regular basis.  The selection can be presented in a box, attractively labelled. The aim is to offer residents of care homes a range of treats and surprises with a unifying theme that readers already loved such as A Skeleton in the Closet, Short and Sweet and A Trip Down Memory Lane

Paula put a lot of care and effort into identifying useful themes, selecting key titles and writing tempting reviews that would go into the box or be used in publicity. She also created guidance for staff to add similar types of read when they made up the boxes.

Paula’s outreach strategy developed a presence in libraries too, as her themed promotions will be used by staff to create lively displays that can accommodate a wide range of books and will also publicise the Home Library Service to regular library users who may know someone who would benefit.

Paula’s work on the course was exemplary. Although she is in a part-time role and in a demanding job, she used the coursework to take on the development of a significant project for her library service that will have a wider impact throughout Derby Libraries.

Once her plans are in place, they will make a tangible difference to the reading lives of people who use Derby’s Home Library Service.  Her idea to widen the impact of her work to boost displays in libraries and improve the message about the Home Library Service shows her value as a strategic thinker and a dedicated and creative a staff member.

Paula says:

“The course certainly made you think differently… from the readers’ point of view rather than you own.”

If you want to ask Paula about her experience of applying the training on the Practical Outreach course, you can email her at


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