LEGO Library Winners

Linda Riley tells Libraries Week about Friends of Padgate Library, winners of CILIP’s Library of the Future Competition 

About Friends of Padgate

In 2016 Padgate Library was under threat of closure by Warrington Borough Council  and Livewire, the company that manages Warrington Libraries. The ‘Save Warrington’s Libraries Campaign’ was instrumental in saving the libraries which were due to close. As a result various libraries around the town formed ‘Friends of’ groups all of which have supported one another. The Friends of Padgate Library group was formed in May 2018.

We are a group of like-minded people whose aim is to promote and support Padgate Library and to help it thrive by putting on events and promoting a programme of activities. Our group is made up of Warrington Borough Councillors, local residents, library users and ex library staff. A sub-group has been formed to pursue the ‘Business Case’ for the future and we are currently working with Livewire to achieve this.

As well as Lego Club, our other activities include a programme of talks on a variety of subjects including local history, literature and walking holidays. Our latest one began in Libraries Week on Monday 7th October and was called ‘Warrington Wolves Rugby Club – Past and Present’. The group were delighted when the representatives of the club and both players, past and present, came along with the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup which had recently been won by the club. All the talks have been sold out.  A ‘Fresh Steps’ walking group, set up by the Friends sets out from the library once every two weeks and then returns for refreshments.  One of our group ran a series of Meditation sessions in the spring and another programme will be held next year. Coffee mornings are held to celebrate Wimbledon and Christmas and, in September, raising funds for the Macmillan Charity. Space is available to display local artists’ work and to hold exhibitions. Warrington is celebrating fifty years as a ’New Town’ and an exhibition will be on show in the library. 

The Parish Council has been supportive and given us funding for chairs and display boards. Other grants for insurance, stationery, sound equipment and refreshments have been obtained from Warrington Charities Trust, Warrington Community Initiative Fund and ASDA.

Formation of the LEGO Club

The first activity in July 2018 was the formation of a Holiday LEGO Club. This is held on each Wednesday afternoon during every School Holiday from 2.30-4.30pm. This has also been offered to local schools and a class attended towards the end of the summer term. Further visits are planned for the end of the Autumn term. There is no charge and refreshments are included.  There is a mix of people coming to the club including parents, grandparents, childminders and there is a great community atmosphere.

We received funding for LEGO and refreshments from Torus, our local Housing Trust. The LEGO Club has between 20 to 30 attendees at each session and the range of children is from toddlers to fourteen year olds. We have duplo bricks, bags of traditional bricks and around thirty LEGO Kits for young people who like to follow instructions as well as being creative. The enthusiasm and social co-operation amongst the children is wonderful to see. We are also building up a small collection of Lego Books of ideas.

About their Library of the Future

It is the programme of activities outlined above and the future plans for the Business Case which have influenced our LEGO Library of the Future. This can be seen in the Lecture Theatre, Art Gallery, Coffee Shop with walking group leaving the building  and a Meditation Garden. In the future we would like to be able to offer rehearsal space and a recording studio for local music groups. Having access to 24 hour issuing of items from an automated outside system would be a dream.

Science and Maths clubs are ideas we are working on. A reading bench or benches both inside and outside would be attractive in the new interior design.

The Friends Of Padgate Library have worked very hard as a group to support the library staff and bring activities into the library which the staff would not have the time or funding to do. Footfall and new borrowers have increased. We would like to acknowledge the role that the Livewire staff play in co-operating with us.

“Winning the competition is recognition both of the Friends Group’s hard work and the success of the Lego Club. The Club’s success means we were able to form a Lego building team comprising Nathaniel 7, Callum 10, David 10 and Samuel 14 and four adult builders and to enter ‘The Library of the Future’ competition. The build was led by the young and enthusiastic designers of the team. Their ideas included the out of hours automated/robotic Issue system, indoor play centre, information desk and electric charging points for cars. The programme of activities we already do and our future plans were instrumental in our ideas for the build. We feel we have a unique and innovative model and are delighted to be winners of the competition.”


Check out  Friends of Padgate’s Library of the Future: