We're very pleased to announce that local community wellbeing trust, Active Luton, has taken over the management of Luton’s library service from 1 April 2020 for a period of two years.
With the Culture Trust Luton’s contract ending in March, we've been exploring options for an interim provider, while a longer-term strategy of ensuring Luton has an innovative and modern library service in the future, is developed.
There will be minimal change to the library service during the interim period and all existing staff have transferred over to Active Luton on their current terms and conditions.
Councillor Sian Timoney, Deputy Leader of Luton Council, said: “The council has worked with Active Luton for a number of years and seen the positive impact they make to Luton’s communities. They are passionate about Luton and are really excited about adding libraries to the long list of excellent services they provide.
"Running the libraries service will allow Active Luton to build on their work and widen their reach in ensuring more residents live healthy and fulfilled lives.
“I would very much like to thank the Culture Trust Luton for doing a great job delivering the library service to the to almost 60,000 members over a number of years, with a total footfall of more than 500,000 visits in the last year alone.
"We are also really appreciative that they agreed a one-year extension of their contract last year which has allowed us to advance the libraries strategy and make the necessary arrangements to ensure Active Luton are ready to deliver the service from day one.”
Helen Barnet, Chief Executive of Active Luton, said: “We are delighted to have taken over responsibility for the library service. As a community wellbeing trust this is a perfect fit with our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Luton and will allow us further opportunities to reach and support people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
“Library services have been proven to play an important role in improving the health, wellbeing and quality of life of both individuals and whole communities by promoting healthy living and effective signposting to local support.
“Whilst users won’t notice a change to the library service once they reopen, we will be looking to maximise the potential that libraries offer to promote healthy living and engagement opportunities across Luton’s diverse communities.”
We will be working with Active Luton and library staff over the coming months to co-develop a future strategy for Luton’s libraries.
Last year, we carried out a consultation last year to gather views from local communities on what they value and what could enhance the library service. This included getting views from those who do not regularly visit a library on what services or activities would encourage them to use them more.
The responses from this survey will be added to a review of best or innovative practice in modern library provision, along with the expert views of existing libraries staff, to help inform the new strategy for Luton libraries and what it could look like in the future.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus crisis, all of Active Luton’s centres, and now libraries, are currently closed. However there are multiple digital offers to look after the health and wellbeing of Luton.
Active Luton’s Facebook page - daily programme of Facebook Live physical activity sessions for all abilities from yoga, stretch and relax and even mindfulness through to Fight Klub and Clubbercise, plus regular videos of home workouts by its exercise specialists.
Luton Libraries’ offer a range of digital services to help keep people occupied during these times of social distancing.
Total Wellbeing Luton, the integrated wellbeing service, is still open with telephone lines manned and ready to take calls from people who require support with their physical and emotional wellbeing.
This could be:
Anyone can telephone for support now by calling 0300 555 4152.