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Stuart Maconie becomes Patron of Wigan Borough’s Libraries
Tuesday 7th June, 2005

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust has officially launched its vision for the borough’s library service for 2005-2015 at Wigan’s Library Conference, held at the Turnpike Centre in Leigh on Monday. The highlight of the event was the official inauguration of celebrated author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie as Wigan Borough’s first Patron of the Library Service.

Stuart Maconie, originally from Worsley Mesnes, has already proven to be a passionate advocate for libraries emphasised when he was recently ‘honoured’ to officially re-open Golborne Library. Stuart’s knowledge of Wigan and the historical significance of libraries, together with the fact that he is a revered writer, make him the perfect candidate to take on the role.

“This is a fantastic honour for me today. I really believe in the power of libraries and have personal experience of how important they are to communities such as Wigan and Leigh, in fact I wouldn’t be were I am today without them,” said Stuart enthusiastically. “The vision I have witnessed being presented today has really impressed me. The borough’s libraries are clearly evolving and as a source of information, whether it be for research or purely for fun, they are fundamental to the fabric of our society.”

“I feel as though my life only really began when I was first issued with my library card. The great thing about libraries is that the books housed in them belong to everyone. It doesn’t matter what age, class or race you speak, the only qualification you need to enjoy a library is ‘interest’,” Stuart continued.

The quality of Wigan Borough’s library service affects a population of over 300,000 people and across sixteen libraries stretching from Leigh to Standish. In the last financial year 1.3 million books were issued; 265,000 enquiries were answered and over 1.1 million visits were made to the borough’s libraries. The library service is crucial to the cultural and educational development of the local community, WLCT’s vision for 2005-2015 seeks to build on the successes of last year and ensure that libraries across the borough provide a service relevant to all members of the public.

Highlights of the vision for 2005-15 include:

  • Improving the community’s ability to use the library as a source for knowledge.
  • Ensuring that libraries are a successful source of information for the public.
  • Providing a range of learning opportunities.
  • Creating and sustaining community networks.

These aims will be achieved by investing in additional books, CDs and DVDs; programmed activities including reading and learning groups; longer opening hours and better Information Technology resources. In 2005/06 the library service also aims to increase the number of library users by an extra 110,000 visits.

Central to the vision are the physical changes to be witnessed in the library service over the next few years. April saw has the introduction of the exciting new ‘Explore’ brand (initially at Golborne Library), which will be cascaded to other libraries, making them a more inviting and exciting centre of learning and discovery for all members of the community.

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