This World Book Night Libraries Unlimited, the new independent organisation running Devon’s libraries, welcomed local author and playwright Michael Morpurgo, to officially launch their organisation at Exeter Library on Saturday.
Libraries Unlimited, a staff and community-owned social enterprise, took over the running of 50 libraries across Devon from April 1st. They were pleased to be welcome local partners, authors and community groups to learn more about their mission & development plans for improving and extending services provided by the libraries and to celebrate what is the 6th Annual Celebration of reading and books across the UK – World Book Night.
Whilst promoting and encouraging a love of reading is key to their vision they are keen to develop new and exciting ways to connect people with their other 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.
Ciara Eastell, Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited, said: “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 so pleased Michael was able to join us and share not only in our continued commitment to providing a modern, vibrant and sustainable library service but in celebrating this wonderful evening of community spirit.”
Alan Lambourne, Chair of the Friends of Ashburton Library says, “We’ve worked closely with the Devon Libraries team in recent months to set up Ashburton Library in the Post Office and we’ve been delighted with the support and encouragement we’ve received from the team. Now we are looking forward to supporting Ciara and her team as they complete their metamorphosis into Libraries Unlimited. As a Friends Group, we are pleased to be a member of the new organisation and look forward to working with Libraries Unlimited and Friends Groups across the county to develop great library services across Devon together. We wish everyone concerned all the success they so richly deserve”.
World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books. It 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.
In total 85 volunteers, from all over the county, came forward as community book givers and distributed books at various locations across towns and villages in Devon on Saturday 23rd April. 10 volunteers handed out books in Exeter
Ciara continued, “We are overwhelmed at the support we have received not only from our Friends Groups and partners across the county but also through the Devon Book Club, who have worked with us to encourage local writers and authors to take part in World Book Night.
Ian Hobbs, Founder of Devon Book Club, 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”
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey says , “Libraries remain important to communities, not only as places to borrow books but as spaces where people can access a wide variety of information and services.
Alternative governance models such as community co-operatives, mutuals and social enterprises can help maintain these important local services and put expert staff and communities at the forefront of decision making I wish Libraries Unlimited great success as they start their new role in running libraries in Devon.”
To find out more about Libraries Unlimited and the services they are running across Devon’s Libraries please visit www.librariesunlimited.org.uk
For information on World Book Night community giving locations please see their social media sites.Follow