libraries - Nantwich Library (Google)

People in crisis across Cheshire East and others needing help are turning to local libraries for support and advice, writes Belinda Ryan.

Some vulnerable people have picked up food and others have received items such as duvets and hot water bottles after seeking help in Cheshire East libraries, according to a council document.

A report due to go before Friday’s meeting of the environment and communities committee states: “Adults coming in to browse the book stock and borrowing of books has not returned to pre-pandemic levels yet.

“However, we are seeing more people in crisis and more people needing low levels of support to enable them to help themselves.

“Winter wellbeing resources were delivered to all Cheshire East libraries enabling other agencies working in communities and library staff to provide residents in need with much needed equipment including duvets, hot water bottles, gloves, and slow cookers.

“One family that came into Nantwich library to pick up some food and other things expressed how grateful they were to the library for helping them and as a result they have been moved from their tent into a B&B and are awaiting a permanent move into a rented flat in Crewe.”

The annual performance review states the face-to-face council customer service points within libraries continue to add significant value for many residents.

Staff had helped a number of people, including a 94-year-old woman who sought help because her pension that hadn’t been paid.

“The staff phoned DWP and were able to sort the issue,” stated the report.

“She commented that she has been a library customer since the 1960s and she didn’t know where else to go.”

When it comes to the traditional uses associated with libraries, the report states children’s usage continues to grow and informal learning activities for adults are very popular.

In 2021-22, 1,528,857 books were borrowed from Cheshire East libraries, 782,115 by adults and 735,395 by children.

In total, 91,506 e-books, 59,877 e-audio titles and 44,645 e-magazines were downloaded.

(image by Google maps)

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