A £1,000 grant from Arts Council England will help LiveWire further develop the library service’s e-books and e-audio services – which are helping to keep adults and children reading during the current pandemic.
The grant follows a similar one in 2020 and is a welcome boost to the digital offering during the current lockdown period.
The community interest company, which manages the libraries service on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, has been awarded the money as part of £150,000 nationwide funding by the Arts Council England (ACE) to local library services.
LiveWire’s libraries have seen a number of closure periods since March 2020 due to Government guidance aiming to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
To help balance the closures, LiveWire operates a wide digital offering – including e-books and e-audio books – as well as the research and homework tool Credo, and Theory Test Pro tool, for practising the driving theory test.
The ACE funding will be spent on expanding this offer, including popular titles, children’s materials, both recreational and educational, titles to support hobbies and crafts and to help with health and well-being issues.
Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director of LiveWire said: “We are very grateful to Arts Council England for this grant, which will be spent on further developing our ever-growning e-book and e-audio service.
“Digital library options have never been more important, and we know have proved vital for people over the past 12months as we navigate the ongoing pandemic.
“This money is important recognition of the place libraries and books have in our communities, even if current circumstances mean that libraries have to be accessed in a different way. Our digital offer, alongside other services such as Order and Collect and the Home Library Service, means we can continue to deliver a library service to the people of Warrington even if our doors have to temporarily close.”
Cllr Tony Higgins, Executive Member for Leisure and Communities, said: “This funding from Arts Council England is fantastic news for our libraries, giving us the opportunity to invest in our digital offer at a crucial time.
“The current challenges of the pandemic means our libraries are having to do things differently to keep people connected to the services they provide. Providing high-quality digital resources is a vitally important part of that.
“I’m delighted that this grant will be put to use in expanding and improving our collection of e-books and audiobooks. It will bring huge benefits to adults and young people across the borough who rely on our libraries for recreation, education and wellbeing.”
Sue Williamson, Director Libraries, Arts Council England, said “I am delighted to announce this grant to help public libraries provide the services their users need. Now more than ever, with so many families homeschooling, we know how important it is to have access to digital resources. Many people have found reading and listening to audiobooks during the pandemic a huge support and we hope that this investment will benefit many households across the country. We are extremely grateful to our Sector Support Organisation, Libraries Connected, for distributing this grant on our behalf.”
For more information in how to join LiveWire libraries during the closure period, and the digital offer, visit https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/news/2353-how-to-join-libraries-online-during-the-closure-period