A DEDICATED librarian who campaigns to share his lifelong love of libraries has been honoured by the Queen.

Ian Anstice, who has worked at Winsford Library for more than 20 years, has received a British Empire Medal for services to the public library sector.

The dad-of-two believes the library plays a vital role in the community and feels honoured to present the Winsford Oscars which recognises the town's community champions every year.

He launched a blog Public Libraries News in 2010 to highlight the threats to the public library across the country.

The 48-year-old spends three hours every evening meticulously chronicling key stories on libraries, recording exciting new developments and pinpointing cuts to the service and aims to provide the most comprehensive source on the subject online.

His painstaking devotion to libraries has been heralded in the House of Commons and he regularly speaks at national conferences and on TV and radio interviews.

Discovering he had been recognised personally with a royal seal of approval came as a big surprise.

"I thought 'Oh Wow!" said Ian, who has a masters in librarianship. "My first library job was in Winsford in 1994. It was lovely because you got to know people as friends.

"It was a fascinating job. It was before Amazon, the Internet and Google.People came to the library for information, you never knew what you were going to be asked.

"Libraries can have a tremendous impact on people's lives. We are often still the first port of call for all sorts of things."

Ian vividly recalls his first visit as a child.

"I can remember catching a bus to the library, it was amazing," said Ian, who is married to Naomi, an assistant head teacher and has two daughters aged 14 and 12.

"I now see children's eyes light up when you give them a library card. To discover the world from an early age and become a member of a library for free is unique. Reading is part of children's lives and should be free for everyone. It's sad when I see children who haven't had access to books.

"People should have access to all sorts of books regardless of what money they have."

Winsford town mayor Cllr Gina Lewis paid tribute to Ian's crusade.

She said: "I am very pleased to hear of Ian's award. It is very well deserved through his leadership. He is a great supporter of the town council's library and our Oscar awards. He makes the occasion special every year.

"The library plays a crucial role in the community.

"In the current climate where libraries are under threat, Cheshire West libraries, especially Winsford and Wharton are doing an excellent job."

Ian has nothing but praise for Cheshire West's libraries and now plays a pivotal role in their growth.

He works as a locality librarian buying children's books for libraries across the county and promotes reader development amongst libraries across the north west three days a week as part of a two year secondment.

"We are very lucky in Cheshire West," he added. "We have won two national awards. I take visitors from Australia around to see the unique things we do.

"Libraries aren't just for books. They're often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It's actually kind of magical."