Three Suffolk case studies highlighted by Libraries Change Lives week

July 10, 2024
June 25, 2024
James Powell
A menopause support group

This week is Libraries Change Lives Week with several stories showing the impact of Suffolk Libraries featured in a list of 150 different stories showing the huge value of libraries across the UK.

Libraries Change Lives week is run by CILIP, the library and information association. The campaign aims to show the power and reach of libraries and the difference they make in their communities.

An interactive map of the UK features 150 library case studies, three of which highlight the diverse range of services run by Suffolk Libraries and the impact they make.

CILIP has been working closely with library services to build an impressive portfolio of the life-changing impact libraries have on their users through the stories that librarians have shared to illustrate the breadth and value of their work.

These 150-plus stories reveal narratives of dedicated library staff across the UK working daily with to help library users. The Suffolk examples include:

Menopause & Me

Menopause & Me is a project which has been running since March 2023 in partnership with Suffolk Mind to provide more support for women in Suffolk affected by the menopause and perimenopause. With funding by the Department for Health and Social Care, the project is working with women with lived experience of the menopause, local employers and other voluntary organisations to provide information, free courses and support groups across Suffolk. Read more about the impact of this project.

Jen Evans, is someone with lived experience of the menopause and who also volunteers to run one of Suffolk Libraries’ support groups. She said:

“I see Suffolk Libraries Menopause & Me project to be a real game changer for women in the county who have so many questions about this transitional stage and feel like they’ve nowhere to turn.”

Blank Page

A successful programme of free creative workshops in libraries for young people offering a chance to try something new. The workshops run during school holidays with the aim of providing meaningful opportunities for children of families on low incomes who often miss out on holiday activities. It’s also been a great way of engaging teenagers in their local library. The Blank Page Project has hosted 135 different workshops across Suffolk which have been attended by more than 1,500 young people. The new Summer programme for 2024 has just launched and young people and parents can now book a place.

Quote from a parent: “It was lovely to see my anxious teen coming home so vibrant and happy. Thank you.”


Now part of Suffolk Libraries’ Moving Minds programme, Jumpstart offers free online and in library fitness activities. The aim is to provide something for people who are less likely or less able to take part in fitness activities or visit traditional settings like gyms or leisure centres. It has been proven to be successful in getting people to become more active and to make them feel fitter and happier.  

From a Jumpstart participant: “I feel I am really getting a physical benefit from the activities and feel my mood lifted by doing them.”  “I 100% feel happier and more positive for joining in.”

Bruce Leeke, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries: said,

“Libraries are as much about the positive real-life stories that they help people create as the ones people borrow. It's never been more important to showcase the true value of what libraries offer their community, and the many surprising and amazing things we do, and - most importantly - how we can help.”  

Of the 1,400 people who recently completed Suffolk Libraries customer survey, 97% said libraries were extremely important or important to them and their families and 70% said they felt their wellbeing had been supported or improved by attending library activities.

CILIP, the library and information association, is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. The map of case studies can be found on their website.

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