Moorlands libraries still cornerstones of their communities

New figures published today show how vital Staffordshire libraries are to their communities.

As well as more than 1.5 million physical book loans in 2022/23, Staffordshire County Council’s 43 libraries have offered business start-up advice and job clubs; recycled thousands of items of school uniform and old laptops; and created reading groups for young and old.

And both book borrowing and visits are recovering well after the pandemic, while online initiatives developed during Covid are still thriving.

Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Communities and Culture, said: “For many years our libraries have been far more than a place to borrow books.

“They have become community hubs, responsive to helping people find the help, support and friendship they need.

“There are so many success stories and we intend to build on this excellent foundation.”

Not only are Staffordshire’s libraries being used to support the local economy and moves to net zero carbon emissions, they’re a base for initiatives to support child development and good health and wellbeing in adults.

Successes include:

  • 520 people accessing online support for businesses;
  • 338 job club meetings;
  • Families saved by an estimated £60,000 by recycling school uniform schemes;
  • 1,096 Blue Badge applications made for residents;
  • 12,983 young children gifted ‘bookstart’ packs;
  • 254 items given via the Donate IT programme
  • 58 ‘teacher’s tickets’ issued to promote classroom reading.

Other positives include winning grants to support the economically inactive, to promote grass roots activities to promote net zero carbon emissions, and to improve physical and mental health.

Recently published research by economists at the University of Eastern England revealed that a branch library typically provides £1 million in value annually by encouraging people on to High Streets.

Victoria Wilson added: “Libraries are a community anchor and a provide a ‘front door’ to many other services.

“As well as helping people with opportunities to learn new skills and find out information, they support town and village centres by encouraging footfall.”

At the same time, the council is maintaining its digital and social media presence, which expanded through lockdown, so it can offer the best of both worlds for customers.

The service has launched a new library app and has thriving Facebook groups connecting readers from across the county and beyond.

Tony Mullins
Tony Mullins
Presenter & News Editor

Must Read

Latest Local Sports News