The Future of Libraries – Get engaged

Today’s guest blog is from Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig (Communities, Equalities & Public Health).

Have you got ideas or suggestions for your library and its building? Can you help make these ideas happen?

Last July the Mayor and Cabinet decided to keep all 27 libraries open and pledged to hold a series of community events to bring together local people and organisations to identify opportunities for community led activities and partnerships that will create a library service for the future.

We want to let people know how they can get involved and how the library team is going to be working alongside residents and organisations to come up with solutions for extending the service and the use of the buildings, while also looking at the wider needs of the local community.

These meetings will offer an opportunity for collaboration and will consider the support needed – both financial and practical – to take ideas forward that will become pilot projects.

We want people to come to these events with suggestions and ideas – small ideas that could be developed quickly, and bigger ideas that make a significant difference to how a library service is provided in the future. This is not about saving money, it is about the community finding sustainable solutions and working with us to deliver them.

It is a busy time for libraries. While the community events are taking place, the council is developing a library strategy to help modernise the service and take it forward. The strategy will propose the following areas of priority: reading and learning, digital inclusion and access, extended access and Knowledge Hubs. The strategy will align with the proposed community engagement events which will look in detail at local ideas and solutions for each library.

Libraries continue to provide key services for local communities, but what residents want from them is changing, and the service needs to change with this. We want to hear from community organisations, current and potential library users, businesses and councillors. The idea is that we work together to find the best possible solutions. We are looking for people to come forward with workable ideas for their local library – we are open to discussing new ideas and are keen not to stand in people’s way. This will be different in each area as it needs to be targeted to what that local community wants and needs. We understand that there is no one-size fits all approach.

For those that cannot attend an event there will be an online ideas form where people can share suggestions.

To find out more about the community events or take part in the survey please visit: www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas

MEETING DATES:

Rose Green Centre, 65 Gordon Road, BS5 7DR

  • Tuesday 29 January 10am-12noon
  • Tuesday 29 January 7-9pm

Libraries being discussed: Hillfields, Fishponds, St. George, Junction 3

Withywood Community Centre, Queen’s Road, BS13 8QA

  • Monday 4 February  10am-12noon
  • Thursday 7 February  7-9pm

Libraries being discussed: Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe, Whitchurch

City Hall, College Green, BS1 5TR

  • Tuesday 12 February 10am-12noon
  • Tuesday 12 February 6-8pm

Libraries being discussed: Central, Clifton, Redland, Bishopston, St Pauls

The Park Centre, Daventry Road, Knowle, BS4 1DQ

  • Tuesday 26 February 10am-12noon
  • Saturday 2 March 10am-12noon

Libraries being discussed: Wick Road, Knowle, Stockwood, Filwood, Marksbury Road, Bedminster

Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road, Southmead, BS10 5PY

  • Wednesday 6 March 10am-12noon 
  • Saturday 9 March 10am-12noon

Libraries being discussed: Southmead, Westbury, Henleaze, Horfield, Lockleaze

Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road, BS11 9TX

  • Monday 11 March 7-9pm
  • Wednesday 13 March 10am-12noon

Libraries being discussed: Henbury, Shirehampton, Avonmouth, Sea Mills

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