Have your say on libraries vision

Consultation Published: Thursday, 31st January 2019

Warrington Borough Council is asking people to share their views on a three-year plan to make the borough’s libraries inclusive, dynamic and inspirational for all.

A six-week consultation has been launched, giving everyone the chance to have their say on the Council’s draft strategy, ‘Transforming Warrington’s Public Libraries’.

The strategy, developed by Warrington’s Libraries Partnership Board, aims to ensure the borough’s library service remains sustainable and relevant for the future, by meeting the needs of all sections of the community.

It underpins the Council’s £1m investment in a programme of repairs, maintenance and refurbishment at all 12 of Warrington’s libraries, along with a major investment in book stock.

At the heart of the strategy is for Warrington libraries to “make a meaningful, visible and measurable difference to the lives of people in Warrington, as a place of enjoyment, reflection, calm, inclusion, safety, insight, inspiration, creativity and learning.”

The strategy includes a range of proposed measures to achieve this, including embracing technology; supporting health and wellbeing; providing welcoming and inclusive social spaces; and becoming a focal point for learning, creativity, culture and imagination.

The Libraries Partnership Board wants to get feedback on the draft strategy from as many local people of possible. All views will be taken on board and will help shape the final version of the strategy - due to be published in summer 2019 – which will in turn shape the future direction of libraries in Warrington.

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “Warrington people have told us how highly they value public library services. That’s why we are investing so heavily in their future. But refurbishing buildings and improving book stock are only part of the story. We also need to make sure our libraries are sustainable into the future, by listening to what people want, and designing a service that truly meets their needs.

“We know that to sustain our libraries, with limited resources, we need to think differently and creatively, as the needs of our communities change. That means that there are many challenges ahead, as well as opportunities to explore.

“Our draft strategy sets out how we aim to provide a sustainable libraries service to meet the needs and choices of our communities for many years to come. I would urge everyone who values their library service to get involved in the consultation, have your say, and help us get it right.”

You can get involved in the consultation in the following ways:
•    By completing the online survey, at www.warrington.gov.uk/consultations  
•    By requesting a paper copy (also available in other formats), on 01925 443921
•    By sending an email to warringtonpartnership@warrington.gov.uk
•    By writing to Warrington Borough Council, Strategic Partnerships and Commissioning Team, Warrington & Co.  The Base, Dallam Lane, Warrington WA2 7NG

The closing date for responses is Friday 8 March 2019.

More information

•    Warrington’s Libraries Partnership Board was established at the end of 2017. Made up of representatives from the Council, LiveWire, the third sector and Friends of Libraries groups, the Board is overseeing the borough’s libraries modernisation programme.

•    The results of the consultation will be presented to the Partnership Board at its meeting of 20 March 2019, after which, the final ‘Transforming Warrington’s Public Libraries’ strategy will be developed, for publication in the summer.

•    A number of objectives are set out in the draft strategy, including: 
-    The completion of the investment programme in library buildings and book stock by 2020
-    The realisation of external income opportunities, where possible
-    Securing relationships with partners, focused on adding value to the library offer
-    A vision and programme of activities for each library, personalised to reflect the local community
-    Improved accessibility to libraries
-    Maintained or improved library usage