Thursday, January 18, 2018
Lancashire County Council's cabinet has agreed changes to the way it works with Friends of Libraries groups to make the most of their potential to improve library services.
Proposals agreed today (Thursday 18 January 2018) will coordinate the way that libraries and Friends groups work together better to support the development of the library service, and boost engagement with local communities.
The key changes to the Friends of Lancashire Libraries Constitution and Guidance emphasise the role of Friends groups in supporting the service to develop and promote library-based activities rather than simply acting as ambassadors for libraries.
Friends of libraries groups carry out a wide variety of roles for their libraries from helping to spread the word about the services that the library offers, to developing activities, and supporting staff with community events.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "Libraries are a vital service at the heart of our communities, offering free access to books and information, as well as being a place where communities can get together.
"Friends groups know their communities best and make a very positive contribution to the library service by adding to the activities libraries can offer, and engaging people in making the most of their local library.
"We are fortunate that so many people want to do something for their local library and the changes agreed today seek to provide more clarity for library staff and Friends groups, helping to make the most of their time and energy.
"I hope that it will also encourage new Friends groups by providing a better understanding of their role and the contribution they can make. We want to achieve greater community involvement and an increased sense of ownership, while increasing the opportunities for attracting additional external funding via the Friends Groups which can be invested in our libraries."
Friends groups are open to anyone who wants to get involved in supporting their local library.
Following the closure of 26 of the county's 73 libraries by Lancashire County Council towards the end of 2016, a new administration was elected in May 2017, and a phased re-opening of as many libraries as possible is ongoing.
More are due to reopen over future months, as the county council continues to work towards reopening libraries in all of the areas where they were closed.
Anyone who lives in the UK can join a Lancashire library, either online or by visiting in person. It's free and there are no age restrictions.
To find out more about becoming a member of a Friends group at a library near to where you live, call 0300 123 6703 or go to www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries
Tagged as: Libraries and Archives