Arts Alive in North Cambridgeshire Libraries

Arts Alive in North
Cambridgeshire Libraries
Lynda Martin
James Nicol
Nathan Jones
 Arts Council award of £99,850 towards the delivery of
high quality arts experiences selected by the community
in 8 libraries across north Cambridgeshire (areas of low
arts engagement)
 This builds on the successful Library Development
Initiative partnership project delivered in Fenland
 Partners are AdEC (Arts Development East
Cambridgeshire ) and CS3 (Cultural Consortium for
Cambridgeshire and Suffolk)
LDI summary
 Four Fenland Libraries
 Library Friends Groups commissioned arts activities
from CS3 with the support of AdEC
 Diverse range of high quality activities in libraries (many
a sell-out) – including theatre performance, comedy,
creative writing, Manga workshops, photography
 Building community (and arts organisation) recognition
of libraries as flexible spaces for community use
 Recognition that Libraries are trusted spaces for arts
 Raising the level of aspiration and expectation in areas
of the county often overlooked for arts events
 Chatteris, Littleport, March, Ramsey, Sawtry,
Whittlesey, Wisbech and Yaxley libraries
 Timescale – completion by mid June 2016
 Two rounds of commissioned arts activity of £3,800 for
each library (i.e. £7,600 in total for each library)
 Strong links to local communities for decision making
and skills development
 Building strong links between libraries and arts
 Budgets for marketing, project management, evaluation
and equipment
 Steering Group in place to guide the project
 Each library has a community decision making group
 This group will be supported by Library staff and AdEC to
design an arts brief linked to their locally defined outcomes
 The brief will be openly circulated with bids for activity
managed through the CS3 consortium
 Bids will be collated into a costed menu
 Community groups will choose the activities for their library
Round 1 - Spring 2015
 Income from ticket sales or sponsorship will be expected to
build future sustainability
 Process repeated for Round 2 of activity building on
experience – for Autumn 2015
Links to other activity
 Any activity will complement and link with “Creative People
and Places” plans
 Links with District and Town Council plans (such as festivals
and local history)
 Links with existing library activity such as “Summer Reading
Challenge”, “Reading Aventures”, “ImagiNation”, book
festivals, music tasters, reading groups and EngAGE events
 Links with other arts activity such as the Young Fenland
Cultural Consortium
 Links with partners in the buildings such as Sawtry Village
College, Children’s Centres, and a multitude of other users
 Marketing via print, news releases, Shape Your Place and
social media
 Numbers of new people engaged with arts activity and
feedback from events
 Comparison with Arts Insight data and Active People
Survey data
 Success and sustainability of local commissioning
 Integration of new arts activity in libraries
 Impact of the activities on library use (new customers,
new opportunities and partnerships)
 Design of library and Community Hub spaces for arts
 Feedback from community groups, AdEC, CS3 and
library staff
Learning so far
 The time it takes for community consultation and
decision making
 Managing ambitions upwards (rare opportunity to “give”
 Finding the right mix of people if there isn’t a Library
Friends Group or partners group
 Supporting and managing concerns over expectations
from community groups
 Need to create even more flexible library spaces
 Value of leaving the commissioning process to Arts
 The community energy that this releases for more
 Library staff “letting go” but supporting where necessary

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