TWO Black Country library services have been shortlisted for the Library of the Year award at the prestigious The Bookseller Industry Awards.
Both Dudley Library Services and Sandwell Library and Information Service are among the six finalists from across the country.
However, the Black Country libraries face stiff competition from a near neighbour – the new start-of-the-art Library of Birmingham, the biggest public library in Europe, which opened to much acclaim last year.
The other finalists are The Hive, the combined library of Worcestershire County Council and Worcester University, which opened in 2012; Midlothian Library Service and Surrey Libraries.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in May and the judging panel includes prominent figures from publishing, journalism and literature, such as best selling author Adele Parks and Ion Trewin, the literary director of Man Booker Prizes.
Dudley is the only authority to have been shortlisted two years in a row.
Dudley Libraries were shortlisted following the news that local residents have bucked the national trend by increasing the number of their visits to libraries to more than 1.1 million.
Last year the libraries team organised more than 4,500 public events, attracting in more than 55,000 people.
All Dudley's 13 libraries have been refurbished within the last five years. In addition, the new archives and local history centre in Tipton Road, Dudley, opened its doors in January this year.