Amanda Duffy, Chair of Judging Panel
For some librarians official publications are a boring, tedious, difficult area they would rather leave well alone – someone else can worry about them.
Fortunately for the library user there are people who understand the importance of the publications from local government, national government and international bodies, and are willing to be closely involved in the organisation and clarification of them and to enable other librarians to use the publications with knowledge and confidence. We have been very lucky in the United Kingdom to have such a person in Howard Picton, the Winner of this year’s Walford Award.
In his day job Howard worked for many years at the Bank of England, firstly as Deputy Manager of the Information Centre and later as Manager for Parliamentary Affairs. Enough to keep anyone busy full time you would think. However at the same time Howard was very involved in ensuring that official publications were a source of help to the librarian and information worker rather than an obstacle. He was honorary secretary of SCOOP (Standing Committee on Official Publications) until 2007 and from 1993 provided a regular column in Refer. In 2011 he was joint author with Jane Inman of ‘Finding Official British Information: official publishing in the digital age, a work, designed for the non-specialist, that has been described as an invaluable addition to the librarian’s working tools. From 2007 to 2010 Howard wrote a regular feature in Update magazine on what’s new in public sector information; a popular column that many found extremely useful and readable. In British Librarianship and Information Work 2001-2005, he wrote the chapter on UK official publishing. He was a member of the Crown Copyright Advisory Panel.
For many years Howard represented SCOOP on the ISG National Committee and the meetings were enlivened by his ready wit, good humour and pertinent contributions.
Last, but not least, for one of the editions of The Year in Reference he did an excellent job of reviewing the section on whisky – the editor presumed whilst sober!
Now retired from the Bank of England, Howard warmly deserves recognition for his outstanding contribution to making official publications more accessible. It is with great pleasure that the Information Services Group presents the Walford Award for 2015 to Howard Picton.
Refer 31 (3) Autumn 2015