Arts in Libraries service receives top national recognition

Head of Library Services Sue Williamson with Senior Arts In Libraries 'Officer Owen Hutchings and Jan Parry, President of CILIP (centre). 'Image courtesy of CILIP and Rolf Marriott Photography
Head of Library Services Sue Williamson with Senior Arts In Libraries 'Officer Owen Hutchings and Jan Parry, President of CILIP (centre). 'Image courtesy of CILIP and Rolf Marriott Photography

A VITAL St Helens service has been honoured with national recognition at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Cultural Hubs – Arts in Libraries, part of the Council’s library services, attained a position in the top three finalists for the annual Libraries Change Lives Award at this year’s London event.

This highlights the very best transformative and profoundly life-changing initiatives developed by library staff and delivered via library services across the country.

And it is organised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Community, Diversity and Equality Group.

Cultural Hubs was selected because of its ability to improve the skills and learning of local people, to engage with the needs of local young people, to support neighbourhood development and community cohesion and to promote an environment that supports the health and wellbeing agenda, through creative use of the arts across the borough’s network of 13 libraries.

Coun Jeanie Bell, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Cultural Hubs has been opening up our library spaces in new and innovative ways since its establishment in 2013.

“Bringing high-quality arts activities into libraries allows us to break down barriers of access to the arts.”

Not only this but the Cultural Hubs has recently received just under £100,000 of National Lottery funding to continue the programme through to March 2017.

The funding, allocated through Arts Council England’s ‘Grants For The Arts’ scheme, enables the production of another four seasons of high-quality music, dance, drama, theatre and visual arts performances, exhibitions and participatory arts projects.

To get an inside look at Cultural Hubs – including the aim, the team and the positive impact the programme has had on local people – in the short video on www.youtube.com, searching ‘Cultural Hubs’.

The recently announced autumn season brochure is available now in libraries, leisure centres, arts venues and online at www.issuu.com/culturalhubs.