For my final guest blogger post, I want to highlight the award-winning work at Oldham Libraries – a small authority on the edge of the city of Manchester.
This year they won gold at the CILIP / PPRG Marketing Excellence Awards for their innovative work to bring in new audiences, based around the refurbishment of their performance space.
In 2015, Oldham council received funding from Arts Council England’s Small Capital Grants scheme, being one of the only library services in the country to have benefited from this funding. Additionally, further funding was secured from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts (Libraries) pot which went towards developing the successful live@thelibrary programme and brand. Their idea was to support the key strategic aims of Oldham Council Libraries to raise the profile of the library as a resource not only for learning and social development, but also as a place to experience live cultural performances.
The rejuvenated performance space now has a capacity of around 80 people. The library has worked closely with other partners in Oldham to bring in a wide range of events, including musicians, drama troupes, comedians, authors and TEDx talks. The brand works extremely well, and their marketing strategy is an important part of the brand’s success. Impressively, the project has significantly increased library membership throughout its first year of operation. Surprisingly though, they don’t seem to have invested too much in their website!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of new developments in UK public libraries, from Wakefield, Lambeth, Staffordshire and Oldham, and I hope they’ve made you think about what your library could do next.