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“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation"

Walter Cronkite

The Story Today

Public libraries in Hull have long been a cornerstone of community life, playing a vital role for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Funding from the James Reckitt Library Trust is designed to ensure that modern public libraries remain at the heart of the city’s development, helping to build strong, knowledgeable communities. Over the past ten years the Trust has awarded over £5 million to projects and activities designed to extend the scope and impact of Hull’s libraries.

With the help of funding from the Trust, Hull’s librarians and their colleagues now run a huge range of programmes aimed at improving literacy and encouraging a love of reading among children and young people. They run information support services for small businesses as one of the British Library’s ten regional Business and IP Centres. They run one of this country’s biggest oral history programmes, giving people the opportunity to record their memories and experiences of life in Hull.

They provide IT facilities for the many people who don’t have access at home to the equipment they need to manage their lives, and they teach people IT skills. They support people to become more employable and help them find jobs. They take literature into local communities through an annual cycle of literature events, and have established Hull’s magnificently successful children’s literature festival, The Big Malarkey, alongside the annual James Reckitt Children’s Book Awards.

With Trust funding, a new Music Library not only provides books, sheet music and thousands of recordings, but also a collection of musical instruments, a performance space, computers with software for musical composition, and crucially a space where people can come together to share their passion for music, collaborate and create. Hull’s librarians contribute regularly to the city’s annual Freedom Festival, and organised some brilliant events for Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017.