Innovating and diversifying to reduce costs at Warwickshire Libraries

Warwickshire County Council’s library service is reaping the benefits of innovation by reshaping the network and taking a fresh look at its digital offering.

A recent report on Library Service Performance highlighted that over £2m in savings has been made while at the same time digital engagement increased.

Warwickshire County Council was one of the first authorities to transfer libraries, 14 in all, to community management. The model has been cited as an exemplar of best practice and has been adopted by other local authorities.

It also introduced Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for self-service returns, renewals and e-books following a county-wide public consultation. This and other measures has enabled the service to make savings without a single compulsory redundancy.

With the help of the Government’s Arts Council Libraries Opportunities for Everyone Innovation funding the council has been able to set up two Let’s Make spaces offering access to the latest digital technologies. The spaces offer a range of inspiring digital activities which include virtual and augmented reality, robotics, programming, 3D design, printing and film making. They provide welcoming spaces where children and adults can come together to access quality learning and share new skills. As part of Libraries Week (7-13 Oct) which is on a digital theme, a third Let’s Make space will be launching at Leamington Spa Library.

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

“By continuing to reshape and realign our library network we are now more able to meet the needs and preferences of our modern-day customers.

“The Let’s Make spaces help to build confidence and give all ages an opportunity to access the latest digital technologies and develop new skills, they’ve been very popular, and we’ve had some great feedback.”

For more information about Let’s Make visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/letsmake