In June and July 2016 the Arts Partnership for Fylde supported an artist-led public consultation to alert the residents of Lytham to the potential additional loss of the Lytham Library building should the town’s library service be cut by Lancashire County Council. The loss of this building to the community threatened the work of Lytham Heritage Archive and the Lytham St. Annes Civic Society as well as other community and arts organisations deliverering thruogh the library.
The consultation was focused on three questions:
Did the public use the building?
What did they use the building for?
What services and activities might they want to access from the building in the future if we were able to retain it as a community space?
The consultation was called Library Hack and was led by two Fylde based artists, who set up an outdoor typing pool at Lytham Club Day in June and in Lytham Square in July to encourage the public to share and record their opinions, thoughts and ideas about the Lytham Library building on old typewriters.
The feedback was unstinting and irrefutable. The public wanted to retain the library and for it to remain in the building it is currently housed in. However, they also wanted access to a more modern facility which provided a broader, cultural offer in a non-judgemental, accessible space in which every member of the community, young or old, felt safe and welcomed. Without exception, every person consulted welcomed and understood that in order for this community offer to be realised within the existing building, it would need to be supported by some sort of commercial offer.
Based on the public’s feedback we submitted a proposal to Lancashire County Council to transfer Lytham Library to independent status and redevelop the building as a mixed space facility featuring a community managed self-service library, a collaborative space for intellectual growth, community outreach and creative pursuits supported by a relevant commercial / retail offer.
Lancashire County Council will inform us of the outcome of our proposal at the end of October.