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Libraries set to increase engagement in art and culture

Published Friday, 16 March 2018

Coventry’s is part of the West Midlands launch of an exciting new Culture Offer taking place this week in libraries across the region.

This will build on the excellent work already happening in libraries to bring new and diverse cultural experiences to local communities.

The Culture Offer, from the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and its partners, including Arts Council England, will help libraries use their high footfall to engage with all library customers, including those who might not otherwise experience art and culture.  This complements other Universal Offers for Public Libraries —Health, Reading, Information, Learning and Digital.  Library staff will be trained to become confident Cultural Champions for their communities, and SCL will provide resources for libraries to maximise partnerships with local and national arts organisations.

Coventry’s libraries offer opportunities for adults to try out and learn new creative skills.  People can experience performance, visual arts, digital arts and meet actors, dancers and writers who excite, inspire and challenge.

Neil MacInnes, President of SCL said: "We are delighted to be launching the Culture Offer at a time when libraries are playing an ever stronger role in the cultural life of the nation.  We know that the cultural offer will play a significant part in libraries’ development over the next four years and we are looking forward to the new partnerships and creative opportunities that it will provide.  This offer will give libraries the resources to expand their partnerships with local culture organisations and provide more ways for customers to get involved.  We want to attract new library customers through arts and culture, and help people who don’t engage with art to develop a love and appreciation of it.”

Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council’s support for the Society of Chief Librarians in delivering the Universal Offers reflects our commitment to the development of libraries in all they do.  The development of the Culture Offer provides a distinctive opportunity for the Arts Council and SCL to collaborate in supporting libraries to maximise their potential as creative, making spaces.  We recognise that libraries reach people and places which can be challenging for arts organisations, and the Culture Offer will see libraries provide fresh opportunities for people to engage with and enjoy the arts and culture in new and interesting ways.”

Cllr Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Anyone visiting a library in Coventry will already know they offer far more than just the books on the shelves, they play host to many different cultural events.

“I’m pleased Coventry will be part of the Culture Offer strengthening the role libraries play in the cultural life of the city.”

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