Council welcomes the official launch of Libraries Unlimited

Posted on: 22 April 2016

Devon County Council has welcomed the official launch of the newly formed Libraries Unlimited, the independent organisation that now runs the county’s 50 libraries on the council’s behalf.

The organisation is officially being launched this Saturday 23 April on World Book Night, with events at Exeter and Barnstaple libraries.

The new service is keen to develop ways to connect people with other public services, which include free access to information, support in health and wellbeing in communities, as well as offering a welcoming space to meet, socialise, learn, read and enjoy new experiences.

Cllr Roger CroadCouncillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the service said:

“An immense amount of hard work has gone in to getting this far, and I am proud that we have delivered a strong and sustainable model for the future of Devon’s library service that has professional staff and communities at its heart.

“We have not closed a single library in Devon, despite significant reductions in government funding. Nor have we replaced our professional staff with volunteers.

“The new service gives libraries the opportunity for greater community involvement, more flexibility, focus and opportunity to work collaboratively with customers, communities and partners to deliver a service that meets local need.

“I have every confidence that Libraries Unlimited will be a huge success, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and supporting them as they embark on this new and exciting chapter.”

Libraries Unlimited is using World Book Night as its launch day.  The initiative sees passionate volunteers give hundreds of thousands of books away in their communities to share their love of reading with people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books.

85 volunteers from across Devon will be distributing books at various locations in towns and villages in Devon on Saturday 23 April.  10 volunteers will be handing out books in Exeter.

Ciara Eastell, Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited, says:

“World Book Night is a fantastic opportunity to unite individuals from across the county who have a passion for reading and at the same time establish ourselves as the new service provider for library services in Devon.  We are committed to providing a modern, vibrant and sustainable library service.

“We are overwhelmed at the support we have received for World Book Night not only from our Friends Groups and partners but also through the Devon Book Club, who have worked with us to encourage local writers and authors to take part.”

Ian Hobbs, the Founder of Devon Book Group, said:

“Over 800 people across Devon are connected to our network and expressions of support for Libraries Unlimited have been pouring in.  The importance of the library service to our community is plain to see.  We are proud to be a partner of the new organisation and wish Ciara and her team every success.”

To find out more about Libraries Unlimited and the service they are running in Devon’s libraries, please visit their website.

For information about World Book Night community giving locations, please see their social media sites.

Twitter: @DevonLibraries

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