MBEs for Past Chairs of ASCEL

Monday, 10 June, 2019

We're delighted and proud to hear that two ASCEL members have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Sue Ball (ASCEL past chair) and Gillian Harris (Tower Hamlets SLS and Chair of ASCEL 2009-11) have both received MBEs for their services to libraries in the recent list.


Current Chair of ASCEL, Stella Thebridge says, "There can be no doubt that their immense contribution to ASCEL has been recognised as well as their work for their own library services.  We are immensely proud of them and send our heartiest congratulations!"


Sue Ball worked at Quinton Library initially as a Saturday Assistant and graduated from Leeds Polytechnic in 1986 with a degree in Librarianship. Sue returned to the West Midlands and worked as a Library Assistant at Quinton Library to gain experience before covering a maternity leave in Sandwell Schools Library Service.

Sue began working in Staffordshire in 1988 as the Wombourne Mobile Librarian. Sue has had various roles during her career in Staffordshire – Children’s Librarian, Group Librarian, Portal Librarian and has been in her current post as Stock Services and Activities Manager and a member of the Libraries Management Team since January 2016. During her career in Staffordshire Sue has had responsibility for Bookstart, Learning, the Schools Library Service, Bibliographical Services, established the Young Poet Laureateship within Staffordshire and project managed the relocation and design of Stafford, Newcastle Under Lyme and Lichfield Libraries.  

As part of Sue’s wider professional role she chaired ASCEL West Midlands for 7 years before becoming the National ASCEL Chair in 2016. Sue has been a member of The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge and Reading Hacks steering groups, the Children’s Laureate selection panel and currently chairs Libraries Connected’s Health Offer group.

Speaking about the award, Sue said: “I am absolutely delighted to be awarded this Honour.  I am passionate about the role libraries play in enhancing the lives of people of all ages and the communities in which they live and I hope that in being awarded this honour it will help to raise the profile of our public library service and Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts Service.”


Gillian Harris is currently Head of Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service.  She has been a school library advisor, children's librarian, school librarian, a VSO librarian in The Gambia, West Africa and organised a job exchange for herself with a children's librarian in Vermont, USA.  She has served on the National ASCEL committee, committee of the School Libraries Group London Branch and as Chair of the International Library and Information Group of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).  In 2015, she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of CILIP.  During her time with the National ASCEL Committee, she worked to raise the profile of Schools Library Services nationally and has been part of the sub-group which set up national offers for SLSs under the brand of SLS-UK.

On her honour, she said: "I am amazed and deeply humbled to be nominated for an MBE, and proud on behalf of all the many very hardworking and dedicated people I have worked alongside in my career – in Tower Hamlets and with CILIP, SLG, ILIG and Ascel, as this award is for them too."