Justin Tomlinson MP celebrated National Libraries Day with visit to Swindon libraries.
As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Libraries, Justin Tomlinson MP visited Swindon’s Central Library and the Old Town Library to mark National Libraries Day.
National Libraries Day is a celebration of the work done in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries to promote learning, literacy and the enjoyment of reading to all.
Library users new and old are being encouraged to go along to their local library and find out about the great services on offer – from book loans and homework clubs to advice on starting a business and how to get online. Regular users are being asked to bring a friend and give them the chance to speak to library staff and find out exactly what services are available locally.
Justin met with the Central Libraries team in Swindon, joined by representatives from the Arts Council and Libraries South West. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the position of Swindon’s Libraries in relation to those in comparable towns and the challenges libraries face.
Before being elected to Parliament, Justin Tomlinson MP was the Lead Member for Leisure on Swindon Borough Council and was responsible for delivering the brand new £10m Central Library on time and on budget. He highlighted the importance of the cafe as a way to draw people in, something that is proving successful both in the Central and Old Town Libraries.
Justin also shared his other ideas to help secure the future of libraries. From using Section 106 money to refurbish local community libraries as was done in Moredon, introducing more self service technology and putting libraries into existing facilities, such as the successful marriage of the Arts Centre and Library in Old Town. Justin also discussed the possibility of Library Services running community phone box libraries in more rural areas.
Justin Tomlinson MP said “Swindon is served by 15 excellent central and community libraries, which is well above average for comparable towns. Swindon Borough Council continues to invest in our Library Services and we have seen great improvement with the brand new Central Library and refurbishment to our community libraries.
“Such investment is vital at a time when usage is falling. We are going to have to be clever in our approach to Library Services if we are going to reverse this trend, especially as our libraries face challenges from the easy availability of ebooks. I’d like to see greater innovation in the services libraries provide and clever money saving ideas if our libraries are to grow in strength in the future.”