The prize is given for an initiative by public libraries in Gloucestershire that demonstrates the power of reading, leading to more borrowing, reading and discussion of books. It welcomes community support and volunteers in the libraries. The prize money may be used by the libraries at their discretion for reading-related purposes.
To give public recognition to the value of libraries and their volunteer support, this year’s prizes will again be presented at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literary Festival in October 2019.
The winning library is awarded a prize of £5,000; the other short-listed libraries are each awarded £1,000. Moreover, in 2019 every eligible entrant will also receive £100, simply for entering. The winning library will also hold for a year the Willans Bowl, given by Cheltenham solicitors, Willans LLP. In addition, Bodleian Libraries will invite staff of the winning library to visit Oxford and include a tour of its libraries.
In considering submissions, the Judges welcome initiatives that result in more reading by children and by older readers. The Judges consider submissions, select a shortlist of up to four libraries and visit them before determining the winner.
The Chairman of the Trust, Jonathan Taylor CBE, former chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation, has commented, “I am confident that the David Vaisey Prize will demonstrate and reinforce the continuing vitality and relevance of the county’s libraries and the importance of reading. With success in Gloucestershire this project that could be extended more widely.”