Engaging library service users in the arts
Transported is a strategic, community-focused programme which aims to get more people in Boston Borough and South Holland enjoying and participating in arts activities. In 2013, as part of its Open Book project working with the Lincolnshire County Council Library Service, Transported commissioned Pestiferous to create a site specific piece of theatre that would tour eight libraries in Boston Borough and South Holland. The piece - The Librarians - engaged library services users in the arts whilst drawing in new audiences into the libraries.
Conclusions and recommendations
The project was effective because it brokered the relationship between Transported and the local libraries in a respectful and exciting manner. At the time, there was a lot of controversy around library closures and loss of jobs. Many of the LCC libraries were destined to be taken over by community groups or face closure entirely. In return for the librarians time and advice, we would bring an innovative piece of theatre to them that would bring people through the doors and showcase the venue as more than just a place to rent books; as a community space that is worth looking after. We have since carried on infusing the libraries with arts activity. With the help of the LCC staff, we have begun to broker relationships with the community groups soon to be running some of the libraries and carry on bringing people through the doors.