A contemporary  library for Everyone;

 

an engaging space, open longer and with broad appeal.

Our vision is to create a renovated library building, a 21st century gateway to experience for local people. By turn a library, co-working and meeting space, creative hub, tech resource and archive attracting diverse audiences and enabling people to enjoy experiences that are usually only found in cities.
The Offer
From the creative conversations we’ve had to date, we know there is widespread interest in the library, both from existing and prospective users and from others in the town who treasure the principles of a library even if they never use it. Our aim is to increase the numbers and diversity of people who practically use the library and to connect more effectively with the wider population maximizing opportunities for Liskeard Library to act as a gateway to experience supporting, enriching and extending activities across the town. As well as a renovated building and Well-designed space (which you can read more about below), it is equally important to build a positive, open, inclusive culture co-produced with local people. The creative conversations have started this process which we will continue with a broad-based, diverse, participative approach, building partnerships and collaborations, responding to opportunities and developing the library as a safe, accessible space for the whole community. Through careful curation of a variety of activities and support to groups to extend and connect their offers, we will increase the diversity and number of people engaging with the library.
The Building
Liskeard Library is an original John Passmore Edwards Library, designed as a purpose built library for the town of Liskeard in 1896, reflecting the beliefs of a Victorian benefactor and philanthropist that access to knowledge and learning should be available to all. Over the years, various alterations have unfortunately stripped out many of the heritage features, instead adding partitions and sub-divisions to create a complex set of rooms, some of which are now unused. We have worked with local architects for several months and following pre-application advice have developed a scheme to open up and simplify the layout to create attractive, flexible, contemporary spaces. On the ground floor, the primary space will incorporate books, comfortable sofas, chairs and tables, good coffee and cake during the day. In the evening, a bar will transform it into a book club, a pop-up cinema, acoustic music event space or gaming environment. There will be a well-equipped kitchen, not only for use by the library but as a resource for local groups and entrepreneurs. Currently, redundant office space will be removed to create a courtyard, an inside/outside space to accommodate small-scale performance and visual art. A former outside lavatory and store will be opened up and developed as a maker space. Upstairs, the focus will be co-working for creative businesses and social entrepreneurs with meeting and learning spaces to hire, plus business support, networking, and events. Excellent digital connectivity will be installed throughout the building, connecting with and supporting local creative industries.
The Business Model
Across England, libraries face challenging economic conditions. Local authorities can no longer afford traditional levels of support and new approaches are urgently needed. Currently, there are three core models:

  1. local authority run
  2. library services ‘spun’ out into independent mutuals
  3. community or voluntary run libraries

Our approach is a social enterprise one, using trading opportunities to generate sufficient revenue to cover the costs of providing a free to use library building and staff. From our experience renovating and re-purposing Devonport Guildhall, we are confident we can develop a sustainable model capable of generating a small profit while also offering a safe, accessible, freely available, contemporary library. Income to support our vision will come from co-working memberships, meeting room and space hire, ticketed events, classes, activities, food and drink. It could also come from partnerships, for example third sector providers based in the library, or universities offering subsidised co-working space to graduates.

Facts and Figures

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Budget cuts to Cornwall Libraries 2015-2019

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Library users in Liskeard

The Team

Lindsey

Lindsey

Chief Executive

Lindsey’s track record in the public and private sectors as a social entrepreneur, thinker and leader has seen her set up and develop products and services across the creative, learning and education sectors. From building award-winning programmes in the UK to driving groundbreaking initiatives internationally, Lindsey has the experience and skills at management, board and executive level to steer social business ideas towards success: making money and making a difference at the same time. In her spare time Lindsey is chair of the Pathways to Employment group and is heavily involved with Cornwall’s creative and cultural scene. Lindsey and her family have enjoyed living in Cornwall for 16 years and regularly used Liskeard Library and the Liskeard Leisure Centre when her children were younger.
Kate

Kate

Head of Employabilty and Pathways

Kate is Head of Employabilty and Pathways for RIO’s young people projects. Based in Cornwall, Kate leads the Talent Match Cornwall and Game Changer programmes, overseeing both to ensure that they deliver support to young people experiencing barriers preventing them from getting into work, education or training.

Kate has a background in education, youth work, business development, bid writing and training. She has worked in Cornwall in partnerships with other organisations delivering complex programmes and outcomes for 15 years and was part of the team that initiated and secured resources for Devonport Guildhall.

Kate and her family have lived in and around the Liskeard area for over 16 years. She is passionate about making a positive difference to her community and strives to deliver real and meaningful support for young people in Cornwall.

Steve

Steve

Head of Resourcing

Steve is Head of Resourcing for RIO and has a career history spanning 25 years in the Voluntary Community Sector. As a JNC qualified youth worker, Steve worked across a range of youth & community settings in various parts of the country before becoming an Adult Education tutor and then eventually venturing into Human Resource Management on completion of his CIPD qualification.

 As part of RIO, Steve has oversight of Human Resource functions, systems and processes with a focus on creating and sustaining a stable and well organised staff team who have access to the right tools and skills at the right time.

Steve and his family have lived in Liskeard for 15 years. Both Steve and his partner Kirsty, a local artist, have had active roles at Liskeard Hillford School; Steve as a Parent Governor and Kirsty on the PTA.

Both Steve and Kirsty try where possible to buy local and see the value and importance of supporting local business, while also being passionate about reducing plastic waste. His boys are keen sportsmen and play Rugby and Football for Liskeard.  In his spare time, Steve plays squash, wild swims, and also enjoys spending time in the outdoors as a Bushcraft Instructor and Canoe Leader, and likes nothing better than spending time in the woods, off grid, whittling spoons.

Tracy

Tracy

Business Performance and Social Impact Administrator

Tracy joined RIO in November 2017, she is the Business Performance and Social Impact Administrator. Tracy has a worked in variety of fields, from working for the NHS to audio transcription for television programmes. She is highly skilled in administration with over 20 years of experience. Tracy has recently been supporting the Talent Match Cornwall project, a programme that aims to help long term unemployed young people. In her spare time Tracy enjoys giving back to her community, she volunteers for Liskeard Radio alongside supporting the organisation of the Liskeard Ploughmans Festival. Tracy has lived and worked in Liskeard for many years including owning her own business in the town centre, she’s well known for her vintage dresses and homemade fudge! Tracy says: “I love working for RIO, every day is different and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that creates lasting positive change for people and communities.”