Libraries Live Learning Journal

New online resources have been developed as part of the #LibrariesLive project to share the project’s learning with other libraries and the wider public library sector.

Libraries Live is a creative partnership project which took place in three libraries, led by three artists in three different communities, across Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Leicestershire.

Artists took up residency in community managed libraries and embedded creative activity in each library over 8 weeks to inspire and engage their visitors, volunteers and the wider community to explore the theme of ‘change’ in libraries and the ethos behind communities working together.

In response, artists have created new work which has toured libraries over the summer and will now form a permanent centrepiece at the heart of each community to celebrate their achievements and encourage newcomers.

To accompany the Libraries Live film made by Geoff Broadway which shows each residency in action, one of our main aims for the project was to create a learning journal to share with other community managed libraries.

The journal is mostly relevant to those wanting to run creative projects to engage more with their existing communities as well as bring in new audiences. It illustrates the path we took and what we learned along the way including case studies, artist profiles, artistic commissions, challenges and successes, top tips to take forward and finally, arts takeaway ideas to inspire further activities in library venues.

Artist Residencies & Commissions

In Staffordshire, a performance for children & families ‘Bobbi in the Blue Room’ was developed by New Vic Theatre’s education team with Glascote Library and neighbouring nursery and primary school. The performance comes from the perspective of a young child who sees change happening around them but without any explanation of why it has to happen. Following a tour over the summer, the piece is now shown on a screen in the library together with interactive resources for younger children and families to enjoy.

At Water Orton Library in Warwickshire, Michaela McMillan worked with young adults and teenagers on the themes of Change, Growth and Time for her residency. As a response, Michaela created an installation, ‘The Mother of Libraries’ which shows the maternal, female face of the library being held up and supported by the hands of the volunteers, all holding books with the names of the participants and volunteers that took part.

At Newbold Verdon Library, Leicestershire, textile artist Ruth Singer worked with adults and older people to explore their experiences of volunteering and the sense of community which working together brings. Ruth chose to work with the idea of Patterns of Making, her finished piece is a quilted book which represents community connections reflecting the way that each little act of community adds up to a much greater whole. The book is on display alongside an activity book and resources to encourage further activity and engagement.


Libraries Live Film:

Bobbi in the Blue Room:

Libraries Live Journal:

#LibrariesLive #LibrariesWeek

@StaffsLibraries @leicslibraries @warkslibraries


Libraries Live is a tri-county partnership project between Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Leicestershire County Library Services, supported by Arts Council England Lottery Fund.