Head of libraries receives New Year Honour from the Queen

MVSC would like to congratulate Anthony Hopkins, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM), for services to libraries. This honour is for people who have given a hands-on service to the community that has made a significant difference.

Anthony’s dedication to Merton libraries goes back to his childhood. From early visits to Pollards Hill library as a toddler, Anthony went on to do work experience at Mitcham Library, which led to a job as a Saturday assistant. Two decades later, Anthony is still working for Merton Council, now as Head of Libraries, Heritage and Adult Education.

In his time working for the library service, Anthony has seen the transition from paper library cards and book stamps to self-service technology. Despite challenging financial times, Anthony has been instrumental in ensuring that all seven of the council’s award winning libraries have remained open. His hard-working staff are supported by a committed team of volunteers and library opening hours have been extended.

Anthony is dedicated to introducing as many people as possible to the libraries - increasing library membership through schemes for school children and organising pop up libraries to visit areas where there are low levels of library membership. Earlier this year, Anthony’s team successfully bid for £95k of Arts Council funding for themed sensory areas in each of the libraries for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Anthony said: “I am very surprised to have received this honour and want to thank all the wonderful people I have worked with during my career. I am proud to work for Merton Council and I am delighted with the way we have managed to develop our library services in challenging times. Whilst I am very grateful for the personal acknowledgement I would like to dedicate this honour to the staff and volunteers of the library service who continuously go the extra mile to provide excellent services."