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Suffolk Libraries and Suffolk County Council to launch Suffolk Libraries Local

Suffolk Libraries and Suffolk County Council are launching a new initiative called Suffolk Libraries Local in March. This pilot scheme is being funded by Suffolk County Council and will bring improved access to literacy, information, digital skills, activities and learning opportunities to the heart of Suffolk’s communities.

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Suffolk Libraries Local will supplement Suffolk’s network of public and mobile libraries by creating a weekly library experience in three existing community venues at geographical locations not directly served by a static library. As a pilot project, Suffolk Libraries Local will run in each of these communities for six months.

Local residents attending these weekly sessions will be able to browse and borrow from a selection of books, attend a range of activities for all age groups and use IT facilities for research, work and pleasure. The initiative aims to enable different groups to come together to enrich the lives of residents by supporting them to lead healthier, happier and more prosperous lives. Suffolk Libraries is currently talking to residents of the three communities about the project to ensure the sessions will meet their needs.

The first Suffolk Libraries Local sessions will be launching in Red Lodge on Thursday 16 March at the Millennium Centre and will run every Thursday afternoon from 12:30pm to 3.45pm for six months. We are also also holding a consultation in Red Lodge to share more information, answer any questions and find out what activities local residents would like to see. Anyone living in the area is encouraged to have their say by completing the Suffolk Libraries Local Red Lodge online survey.

Tony Brown, Chair of Suffolk Libraries Board, said: "This is an exciting new project to help us explore new ways of extending the library service to communities in Suffolk. It’s something we are doing to support existing services, and it’s important that we are always looking to the future and how we can ensure the county’s library service meets the developing needs of the people of Suffolk. The locations selected for the pilot project have all been chosen because they are areas of increased housing development and the communities could benefit from the many services and benefits that libraries offer."

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Heritage, Cllr Richard Smith said: "Suffolk Libraries Local is an exciting pilot that will test out a method of providing a range of the events, activities and learning opportunities that make a 21st century library service such a rich experience. We think there’s an opportunity to reach younger children and the adults that care for them, as well as older people, who perhaps find it difficult to travel to their nearest library. We are bringing the service nearer to them."

Two further Suffolk Libraries Local sessions are being planned for Shotley and Moreton Hall near Bury St Edmunds, with the details due to be announced soon.