Libraries open their doors to support local residents this winter

Our libraries in Devon are throwing their doors open in welcome this winter, to provide a range of help, support, advice and comfort to people who may be struggling, or beginning to struggle with the rising cost of living.

The ‘Libraries for Life’ campaign, run by Libraries Unlimited, will carry right through until March 2023, and will cover six topical themes, including the rising cost of living; loneliness and community connections; food, health and wellbeing; digital access and support; and employment, skills and business.

Libraries across Devon and Torbay will provide warm welcoming spaces, where people are welcome to join and spend time in the library, and to use the free WiFi and computers if they wish to. There are many free events and groups that people can attend, and some libraries will be hosting sessions providing help and advice about energy efficiency, debt advice and other topical subjects.

In Tavistock, Tiverton and Exeter libraries, with more libraries to follow, there are community fridge projects operating, that make surplus food from local supermarkets available to all for free. Those libraries are working with Sustainable Tiverton, Live West in Tavistock, and the community fridge in Exeter is partly funded by the Community Fund.

Coat rails in the Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Exmouth, Totnes, Bideford, Ivybridge, Sidmouth, Seaton, Exeter and Tiverton libraries, introduced in partnership with IKEA, Willmott Dixon and Julian House, are installed for people to donate warm winter coats, for vulnerable people. Other libraries are collecting donated clothing.

Otherwise, libraries are continuing to provide a home library service, for people who are housebound or who struggle to get to their library.  Contact your local library or email home.library@librariesunlimited.org.uk for more information.

Free baby weighing facilities are available at libraries in Ottery St Mary, Totnes, Ivybridge, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Exeter (St Thomas), Dawlish, Okehampton, Newton Abbot, Cullompton, Tiverton and Exmouth.

Libraries also provide a selection of Reading Well books, to support good mental and physical health, for children, teens and adults.

Most libraries provide free drop-in IT sessions, and Newton Abbot Library is also hosting Barclays once a week, to offer a free Digital Wings Programme