Lincolnshire’s libraries are said to be ‘thriving’ a year after Lincolnshire County Council entered into a partnership with GLL – the UK’s largest leisure charitable social enterprise.
Positive strides have been made in improving the look and feel of local libraries, increasing footfall, book issues and activities across the county’s 15 core sites and 40 community hubs.
GLL was awarded the five year libraries contract (with an optional five year extension) in April 2016 with a mandate to improve the service, make the best use of resources, and ensure sustainability in the long term.
1.76 million visits were made to the county’s libraries in the 12 months to April 2017, while popular activities such as messy mornings, knit and natter, and kids coding clubs saw attendance rise by 171 per cent between April 2016 and January 2017.
National library and literary promotions including Harry Potter Book Night and Where’s Wally’s 30th Anniversary boosted community engagement and allowed staff and customers to show their creative side with artistic window displays and imaginative and fun costumed events.
Meanwhile, the Roald Dahl-themed 2016 Summer Reading Challenge saw staff double the usual number of activities delivered in core libraries and as a result there was a 30 per cent increase in participation compared to 2015.
In addition, GLL’s Annual User Survey in July 2016 showed satisfaction amongst Lincolnshire library users at 99 per cent.
Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “It’s been a very positive first year for the new-look library service, and I’d like to thank the staff, volunteers and GLL for their outstanding efforts.
“It’s given local libraries a shot in the arm, and I think that’s reflected by the way our communities have embraced the service.
“We have a solid foundation to build on, and I look forward to seeing things develop over the coming years.”
Diana Edmonds MBE, Head of Libraries at GLL, added: “One year on, these results are a real boost for the library service in Lincolnshire.
“GLL’s extensive experience, management capability and economies of scale have reaped huge rewards for library users who have been flocking through the doors in droves for education, looking for employment opportunities or just for the sheer joy of reading.
“GLL has an excellent relationship with Lincolnshire County Council and from this position, more good things will follow – including this Summer’s Reading Challenge.”
GLL is the UK’s largest public libraries provider, running 88 libraries in Lincolnshire, Wandsworth and Greenwich – and from the autumn, Bromley and Dudley, too.