‘Libraries Live!’ Water Orton Community Library volunteers scoop Creativity and Heritage Award

An innovative arts project at Water Orton Community Library, which couldn’t have happened without the dedication and commitment of the library’s volunteers, has scooped the Creativity and Heritage award at WCAVA’s North Warwickshire Volunteer Awards 2019.

The award was presented to Water Orton Community Library volunteers at a special ceremony at Wood End Village Hall last week, in recognition of their time, determination and willingness to make the Arts Council funded ‘Libraries Live’ project work.

Mixed media artist, Michaela McMillan, became ‘artist in resident’ at the library for the project and the volunteers worked with Michaela, visitors and the wider community to help explore the themes of ‘change’ in libraries and of communities working together.

Younger adults and teenagers were invited to the library to share stories about volunteering, what libraries mean to them, what their aspirations are for the future and how libraries and communities can work together to achieve them.

Artist Michaela then worked with the young people in group ‘making sessions’ to create large scale pieces of art that demonstrate what can be achieved when people work together.

The combination of Michaela’s skill and simple, creative ideas and the willingness and commitment of the library volunteers led to the project going from strength to strength, with many people attracted into the library time and time again for the duration of the project.

Councillor Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation, said:

“I’m delighted that Water Orton Community Library has won this award from WCAVA and I’m extremely grateful to the volunteers for their time and commitment in making the ‘Libraries Live’ project such a success in Warwickshire.

“Volunteers make an enormous contribution to the wellbeing and quality of life of our communities in Warwickshire and they deserved to be thanked and celebrated for their achievements at the WCAVA awards.”

‘Libraries Live’ is a partnership project across 3 counties – Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire – with 3 artists working in 3 libraries in 3 different communities.

A joint bid, led by Staffordshire County Council, was submitted to the Arts Council to run the project in Community Managed Libraries across the 3 counties – and Water Orton Community Library was picked to be the location for the event in Warwickshire.

In Warwickshire, there are an estimated 191,000 adults aged 16 and over who are regularly volunteering, giving nearly 91,000 hours each week. This is valued at £80.2 million per annum.

For the first time this year, WCAVA has held Volunteer Awards in Nuneaton & Bedworth, North Warwickshire, Rugby and South Warwickshire, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council and Stratford District Council.