New vision for libraries

Libraries Published: Monday, 22nd July 2019

A new, three-year plan, to make Warrington’s libraries sustainable, inclusive, dynamic and inspirational for all, has been launched.

Warrington’s Libraries Partnership Board has launched a new strategy for 2019-2022 - ‘Transforming Warrington’s Public Libraries’.

The strategy 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.

Shaped by the public, the strategy reflects the views and stories contributed by local people, who have explained why they believe libraries are important, and how they make a positive    difference to people’s lives.

At the heart of the strategy is the mission to make Warrington libraries “valued community spaces that make a positive difference to the lives of the people that use them and to make them “welcoming spaces for all, offering the opportunity for reading, learning, enjoyment, reflection, calm, safety, creativity, insight and inspiration.”

Underpinning this ambition are six, key strategic aims:

•    Encourage and promote enjoyment of reading, learning,    creativity, culture, imagination and play.
•    Provide    children and young people with    an engaging and relevant offer to help them fulfil their full potential.
•    Embrace technology and digital    formats, supporting greater inclusivity in accessing new media.
•    Support positive physical and mental wellbeing.
•    Enable access to up-to-date, accurate and trusted sources of information.
•    Provide    attractive, welcoming, inclusive, safe and social community spaces for all

The strategy will evolve, as opportunities become clearer and plans widen further. 

Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins said: “We have developed this new strategy in response to feedback from local people, who have clearly demonstrated that libraries are vitally important to local communities. We’ve listened to them, and are fully committed to investing in the future of our library service.

“We are already making fantastic progress, with major improvement works under way at Stockton Heath library, the successful co-location of the post office at Burtonwood Library and the opening of a new, high quality library facility, as part of the Great Sankey Hub.

“This strategy provides a clear vision to give Warrington’s libraries fresh impetus and direction, so that they remain valuable community resources now, and in the future. Working with LiveWire, local users and a range of key partners we can deliver a true 21st century library service for our borough.”

Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director of LiveWire, said: “Everyone who has contributed to this three-year vision for Warrington’s libraries firmly understands and believes in the important role libraries play in our local communities – and this strategy reflects this. 

“From encouraging a love of reading and books from a young age to events aimed at helping to combat social isolation, the past couple of years have seen great strides taken in making our library service both sustainable and relevant for 21st Century library users – whatever their age and interests. 

“As well as borrowing books, library users have been able to enjoy a wide range of activities within the library spaces, from speed dating to Lego workshops, which, along with new library stock including the latest in augmented reality technology, helps ensure people continue to use our libraries, helping to sustain their place in our communities.

“Tributes must be paid to the ‘Friends of’ groups who have worked closely with LiveWire’s library teams to help develop library spaces into creative, welcoming and enjoyable spaces for everyone.”

You can view the strategy, ‘Transforming Warrington’s Public Libraries’ at warrington.gov.uk/lpb

Notes to editors

•    Warrington Borough Council and LiveWire Warrington are investing in Warrington’s library buildings and book fund, to modernise the library offer and to develop plans to attract income and savings, with the intention to sustain libraries as important community spaces. 

•    The Council, has committed £1.15m of capital investment in a programme of repairs, maintenance and refurbishment at all 12 of Warrington’s libraries, while LiveWire is maintaining the libraries budget at its current level for three years and increasing the book fund to £150,000 per year.

•    Warrington’s Libraries Partnership Board was established at the end of 2017 to support this work. 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.