Public libraries in Yorkshire and Humber are celebrating after welcoming a combined total of more than 9 million visitors last year.
The figure is included in the first annual report from Libraries Connected Yorkshire and Humber (LCYH), the regional group of national charity Libraries Connected. The group brings together over 300 libraries from the region’s 15 authorities to work in partnership and pool resources.
The report, which is published today, describes how libraries in the region worked collaboratively on a range of innovative projects in 2022/33. These included:
Reading Pictures Seeing Stories Visual Literacy Festival
Delivered in partnership with the regional Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), the Reading Pictures Seeing Stories festival in spring 2022 gave young people the opportunity to meet award-winning illustrators and explore the connection between literacy and the visual arts. The festival, which was launched at The National Media Museum in Bradford, included 400 events attended by over 7,000 children.
Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, libraries across the country were awarded funding from Arts Council England to host celebration activities. Members of LCYH agreed to pool this funding to deliver a regional programme which included producing bespoke jigsaws featuring book cover artwork and Twixt T’Covers, a live streamed Jubilee-themed book event with a panel of special guests.
Rugby League World Cup
Yorkshire & Humber’s libraries partnered with the Rugby League World Cup in autumn 2022 to run an exciting programme of arts activities as part of the tournament’s cultural festival. LCYH led the library programme across 34 local authorities in the north of England. The programme involved almost 600 individual libraries and saw more than 3,000 people attend over 180 events. A further 12,500 people listened to episodes of Forty20 Live, the rugby league podcast, that were broadcast from local libraries.
Throughout the period of the report LCYH was led by outgoing chair Andrea Ellison, Chief Librarian at Leeds Libraries. The new chair of the group is Christine May, Head of Libraries and Archives at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
"Our first annual report really demonstrates the power of partnership. By pooling some of our resources and sharing the skills and experience of all the region’s library services, we can deliver much more for our communities than we could working on our own. After the uncertainty of the pandemic, I’m delighted to see that Yorkshire and Humber's libraries have really bounced back. We’re looking forward to working in partnership on even more exciting activities in the coming months and years."