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Have your say on the future of the library service

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STOCKTON Heath and Appleton parish councils are urging residents to make their views known on the borough council’s draft proposals for the future of Stockton Heath Library – and the library service generally.
A six-week consultation has been launched to give everyone a chance to have their say on the borough’s draft library strategy.
But time is running out. The consultation period ends on March 8 and the borough’s Libraries Partnership Board – which drew up the draft strategy – aims to study the feedback on March 20.
The final version of the strategy – “Transforming Warrington’s Public Libraries” – will be published in the summer.
It will aim to ensure all the borough’s libraries remain sustainable and relevant for the future by meeting the needs of all sections of the community. It underpins the borough council’s £1 million investment in a programme of repairs, maintenance and refurbishment of all 12 libraries, along with a major investment in book stock.
At the heart of the strategy is for the libraries to “make a meaningful, visible and measurable difference to the lives of people in Warrington, as a place of enjoyment, reflection, calm, inclusion, safety, insight, inspiration, creativity and learning.”
A range of measures are proposed to achieve this, including embracing technology; supporting health and wellbeing; providing welcoming and inclusive social spaces; and becoming a focal point for learning, creativity, culture and imagination.
Stockton Heath Parish Council is to move its offices into Stockton Heath Library to help make the building sustainable. It is also hoped other parts of the building can be adapted for use by local businesses – possibly including a café.
Cllr Peter Walker – a member of both Stockton Heath and Appleton parish councils and the borough council – said: “We want people to respond to this consultation and let the Libraries Partnership Board know what they think of the draft proposals and, perhaps more importantly, what they would like to see in our libraries in the future.
“Stockton Heath Library draws people from all over South Warrington and is one of the busiest in the borough. We want to see it become even busier.”
The borough council’s lead member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “Warrington people have told us how highly they value public library services. That’s why we are investing so heavily in their future. But refurbishing buildings and improving book stock are only part of the story. We also need to make sure our libraries are sustainable into the future, by listening to what people want, and designing a service that truly meets their needs.
“We know that to sustain our libraries, with limited resources, we need to think differently and creatively, as the needs of our communities change. That means that there are many challenges ahead, as well as opportunities to explore.
“Our draft strategy sets out how we aim to provide a sustainable libraries service to meet the needs and choices of our communities for many years to come. I would urge everyone who values their library service to get involved in the consultation, have your say, and help us get it right.”
You can get involved in the consultation in the following ways:
•    By completing the online survey, at www.warrington.gov.uk/consultations
•    By requesting a paper copy (also available in other formats), on 01925 443921
•    By sending an email to warringtonpartnership@warrington.gov.uk
•    By writing to Warrington Borough Council, Strategic Partnerships and Commissioning Team, Warrington & Co.  The Base, Dallam Lane, Warrington WA2 7NG

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