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  • Date: 14 August 2012
  • Artform: All, Literature, Music, Theatre, Visual arts
  • Area: Midlands
A picture of three actors in the round The Story Tree by Roundabout Theatre

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The new £8.4m Worksop library provided the setting for a cultural programme designed to engage new audiences with the arts and attract new visitors to libraries in an area of low cultural engagement. Collaboration between the new library and local and national cultural organisations was fundamental to the programme's success.

Key aims of the programme included:

  • exploring the potential of new spaces in the library for visual and performing arts events
  • the use of market segmentation tools to target potential new audiences and visitors and tailor the programme to their needs
  • collaboration with other arts and cultural organisations to position the library as a centre for cultural activity
  • the development of new marketing channels and new relationships with commercial partners

The programme involved many new relationships with other cultural organisations in order emphasise the place of libraries in the cultural landscape. Commercial organisations were also involved in supporting promotional and events activity.

The programme featured several events each week ranging from creative workshops for young people to stand-up comedy.

Achievements

The programme produced many positive outcomes:

  • increased library visits and participation. More than 5,000 people attended the cultural programme between September 2010 and April 2011
  • increased engagement and interest in visiting cultural venues beyond the library. Having seen a preview exhibition in the library almost 70 per cent of people surveyed said they would be more likely to visit the locally based Harley Gallery
  • increased frequency and quality of library-based cultural activity whilst lowering costs and gaining resources through collaboration
  • new, mutually beneficial relationships formed with local cultural and commercial organisations
  • the approach of cultural collaboration, audience targeting and segmentation has been extended to other library venues

Key learning

  • getting the venue right within then new library setting was a key success factor
  • when programming, careful consideration of the needs and interests of a particular target audience led to a much better experience for organisers and audience
  • linking to appropriate commercial brands such as The Body Shop was key to pitching the events to the target audience
  • developing a market focus involved a significant internal culture-shift within the libraries service
  • contacting a publisher's press office proved significantly more successful than going direct to the author or publisher