Creative Hub










11.25, Wednesday 5 July

Beyond the summer reading challenge: Using young volunteers to shape your year-round teenage offer
Are you looking to engage with young volunteers to develop your library service? Interested in setting up a new young volunteer programme, or expanding an existing one? This workshop will showcase the Imaginators, the young volunteers at Bolton Library & Museum Service, and how the programme has evolved over time.

The workshop will cover the following areas: recruitment and retention of young volunteers; developing a year-round young volunteer programme;  things to think about: safeguarding, training and pizza!; Accreditation, including Arts Award; and the impact of a strong young volunteer scheme – on the library service and on the young people involved. One of the Imaginators will also be on hand to talk about their experiences and answer any questions.

Emma Ali, Collections Access Officer – Libraries & Learning, Bolton Library & Museum Service
Emma Ali has worked for Bolton Library & Museum Service since 2008, beginning as a Library Assistant before moving to Library Manager and then to her current role in the Libraries & Learning team. Emma works with children and young people of all ages across the public library and museum and Schools Library Service, and her day-to-day work includes lots of storytelling, family events and running fortnightly Arty Babies sessions. Emma is a member of the North West Youth Libraries Group committee and particularly enjoys reading Young Adult fiction. With two young children, picture books feature heavily on her reading list too!

 15.40, Wednesday 5 July

Using the Arts in Libraries to benefit health and well-being
Sue and Cath will outline the value of a vibrant Arts in Libraries programme in delivering on the agenda of health and well-being. They will describe their journey to a strong partnership with Public Health and Adult Social Care and Health and the lessons learnt along the way. They will also talk about how they secured support from organisations such as Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery in cementing the strong bond between Arts and Culture and Libraries and the huge benefits of working together to deliver a focussed programme offering support to marginalised groups.

Sue Williamson, Head of Library Services, St Helens Council
Sue has been Head of Library Services for St.Helens Council since August 2013 and has many years’ experience in a variety of roles in libraries. A vocal and enthusiastic advocate for public libraries and the benefits and possibilities of their role at the heart of the community, Sue has been bowled over by the positive results for health and well-being of programming arts events and activities in Libraries. St Helens’ renowned Cultural Hubs Arts in Libraries programme has been running for 4 years and was voted Best Arts Project in the National Lottery Awards in 2016.


Cath Shea, Arts Development Manager, St Helens Council
As Arts Development Manager, Cath leads a small Arts Team within St Helens Library Services. Cath worked with colleagues to initiate Cultural Hubs, St Helens Arts in Libraries programme, writing the funding bids to secure Arts Council England investment for this work (£320,000 over a 5 year period). At borough level, Cath brought together partners to bid successfully for the initial Creative People and Places programme, securing £1.5million for St Helens in 2013, resulting in Heart of Glass, an arts agency for collaborative and social practice based in St. Helens.

An established artist, Cath is currently developing performance based work through her alter ego, Kitty O’Shea, a 40-something, messed up, wannabee sensation!

10.50, Thursday 6 July

Tools and Resources for Transition from Libraries to Wider Community Use Centres’
This is an interactive session to introduce a collection of freely available tools and resources enabling the transition from libraries into wider community use centres. These tools were co-designed by a group of 20 librarians in Lancashire this co-design process brought together expertise from junior staff to Julie Bell, the head of libraries for Lancashire. They worked in close collaboration with design researchers from Lancaster University, funded by the Leapfrog project ( Leapfrog is a £1.2million project that seeks to transform public engagement by design.

Leon Cruickshank, Professor of Design and Creative Exchange, Lancaster University
Prof. Leon Cruickshank is Director of Research for ImaginationLancaster on of Europe’s leading centres of design research at Lancaster University. He is a Professor of Design and Creative Exchange. His research focuses on the development of open and co-design processes especially in the public sector. This has included running a co-design project in Lancaster for involving 2,000 participants as well as working with cored for young people, librarians and other public sector groups. He currently leads the £1.2 million AHRC funded Leapfrog research project (

Leon will be presenting with:

Debbie Stubbs, Project Manager Leapfrog, Lancaster University
Laura Wareing, Research Associate Leapfrog, Lancaster University
Julie Bell, Head of Libraries, Lancashire County Council

13.20, Thursday 6 July

Harris Transformers: Re-imagining the Harris
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Harris Transformers is a programme that aims to increase youth engagement and direction of the museum, library and gallery are re–imagined.It is delivered by Blaze, a youth-led organisation with a strong track record of work across Lancashire developing the next generation of cultural producers, leaders and artists.

Matthew Wilde, Director, Blaze Arts
Matt Wilde (23) runs Blaze; a company that works across Lancashire to develop the next generation of Cultural Leaders, Artists and entrepreneurs. Young people in Lancashire’s Libraries, Museums and Galleries bring the project to life by running Blaze Festival, and a number of other initiatives, from conception to completion. Blaze is supported by Curious Minds who’re currently ‘incubating’ Blaze to explore avenues to financial independence and governance. Matt also sits on the Board of Directors for music organisations Brighter Sound and Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

 Sue Latimer, Interim Manager, Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library

Sue has worked at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery since 2009 and, with Library colleagues, is now part of the joint Harris management team, which is developing a shared service and planning for a Re-imagined Harris. Much of her career in museums has focused on developing a wide range of audiences through learning and creative projects. She has worked with Blaze previously on projects to promote contemporary art and animate the Harris for young people.


15.10, Thursday 6 July

Digital play: Ways to enhance the library experience
Using simple apps and tech we’ll take you through a journey of some of the activities that we’re currently using in Manchester Libraries. We’ll look at ways that you can enhance your current offer using green screen technology, stop-motion animation and augmented reality. This will be a hands-on playful session helping you explore ways you can simply develop and enhance a creative digital offer.

Paula Carley, Service Development Coordinator, Manchester City Council
Paula has worked in libraries for the last 7yrs, always in a role that has been working with and engaging local people and communities. Her background as a community and digital artist has led her to both embracing and exploring ways that she can engage Manchester residents in a playful digital arena.

Siobhan O’Connor, Archives & Community Officer, Manchester City Council
Siobhan has worked in Manchester Libraries for 31 years, starting just before the introduction of digital technologies. She has enjoyed her journey of learning new digital skills and over the years she has worked with library visitors of all ages in developing their digital knowledge in fun and exciting ways.