So you can imagine that I'm as pleased as Punch to find my name on the shortlist for the CWA Dagger in the Library, along with such luminaries as Nicci French, Peter May, Simon Kernick, Rebecca Tope, and Keith Miles (aka Edward Marston). This is an award where the nominees are selected by librarians throughout Britain, and I'm duly honoured.
There are some truly wonderful libraries in this country. It's been a privilege for me, over the past few years, to become quite closely associated with the British Library, and that relationship, in particular with Rob Davies and his team in the publications department, has brought me enormous pleasure. The same goes for Louisa Yates and her colleagues at Gladstone's, a very different place, an independent library run as a charity, and rich in history, atmosphere and charm.
And then there are the public libraries which mean so much to the communities of which they form part. I've enjoyed working, for instance, with local and area librarians, and also a Friends Group in Stockton Heath which aims to support the professional staff in a variety of ways.
Hard to believe, but it's almost two years since I wrote about the threat posed to Lymm Library, a short walk away from my home. Like other local people, I was deeply worried about its future, but I'm thrilled to be able to report that it's just been announced that the library is not only to be saved, the empty space in the building is to be utilised for the benefit of the community: the detail is here.
So there is a great deal of room for optimism about libraries, despite the undoubted financial pressures they face, if all of us who believe in libraries pull together. I look forward very much to trying to play a part, in the coming months and years, to trying to play a small part in helping their almost limitless potential to be realised for the benefit of communities not just in my neck of the woods, but further afield as well.