Skills: HEAR, Better business

Better libraries for people

The award winning Suffolk libraries service is at the forefront of pioneering new roles for libraries in the 21st century. Libraries are playing an increasingly central role in the delivery of the priorities for Adult and Community Services (ACS).

Cultural Intelligence was asked to conduct qualitative research with ACS priority groups to explore their experience of using libraries and how this can be improved. The research populations were people with learning difficulties, people with mental health issues, older people, family carers and people with physical disabilities.

Cultural Intelligence proposed a creative consultation and commissioned Artist Caroline Wright to help design a consultation workshop which would work across a wide range of abilities.

Three or four consultation workshops were held with each target population in which small groups used everyday materials to model their experience of libraries and their aspirations for libraries in Suffolk. Evidence was collected through group discussion, video interviewing, annotations on the models, storytelling and other games.

This was ground breaking research which enabled rarely heard groups to contribute effectively to a consultation exercise which will have far reaching influence for the development of the libraries service. Besides producing findings about libraries and their place in the lives of disadvantaged people, the methodology has had a major influence on the way we work at Cultural Intelligence.Download the summary report.

Thank you to

East & West Suffolk MIND, Suffolk Family Carers, Out and About, Optua Leisure, Suffolk Befriending, Mencap, Mid-Suffolk Axis, May Centre for Disabled People, Beccles, Crossroad – Caring for Carers, Lowestoft, Felixstowe Resource Centre, InsideOut Community, Royal British Legion, Bury Info Bar, Top Time, Felixstowe,