If you still think libraries are full of dusty book shelves, think again and take a closer look at Worcestershire’s libraries.

Following the success of The Hive as a cultural space, Worcestershire’s libraries have become friendly, safe meeting spaces with a focus on local services, learning and cultural enrichment.

To continue to put libraries at the centre of our communities, reach more residents and remain cultural hubs, a new Library Strategy is expected to be approved at the next cabinet meeting.

Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet which is meeting on Friday 20 December will consider the new strategy that has been developed over previous months. It has come about as a result of the consultation earlier in the year. This gave residents across Worcestershire the opportunity to have their say on the role of their local library in their community.

Already the whole Library Service has been evolving with traditional services of book borrowing, computer access and family activities being delivered alongside a comprehensive programme that includes adult learning, targeted reading and literacy schemes, job clubs, job fairs, health and wellbeing services and a varied volunteering programme.

The County Council recognises the community and cultural contribution libraries can offer residents. Ambitions for the service include; finding new ways to sustain all of our library provision, doing more to support our county’s businesses and supporting people into work.

The strategy also makes provision for widening the library space with other community groups and introducing self-service technology to enable people to access library services independently at times that are convenient to them.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "We recognise the tremendous potential that libraries offer local communities. While a lot of good work has already been done to keep libraries sustainable and ensure value for money, this new strategy aims to focus our efforts to ensure this potential becomes a reality.

“We want a Library Service that is central to the lived experience of people in Worcestershire, offering friendly, safe spaces for all to enjoy.

“To deliver these changes the new Library Strategy sets how the service can further be modernised and how it can respond to local needs now and in the future.”

Worcestershire County Council cabinet will meet next on 20 December in the County Chamber, County Hall. To watch proceedings as they happen, log on to the council’s website and watch our webcast live. worcestershire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home