Somerset Libraries are absolutely delighted to be hosting a Festival Hub for the Outing The Past festival for the first time in 2019.
We are a relatively large library authority offering a diverse range of services through 34 libraries and one mobile library across a rural county of 545,390 residents. We receive around two million visits each year, and have a growing events and activities programme, attracting 50,000 participants to 3,500 events during 2016/17. These events ranged from reading to digital, from social wellbeing groups to business support one to ones. We pride ourselves on being an innovative library service and each year we aim to introduce new events and activities that allow our community to learn new skills and enjoy new experiences.
One of our 6 key outcomes as a library service is to strengthen and enable our communities, and it is in line with this that we have become a festival hub. We hope that through hosting events that promote LGBT history, we will provide our community with the opportunity to learn more about the different groups that are a part of it, and become stronger as a result. We hope to engage people from all ages and backgrounds in the festival including school aged children. As we are part of a consortium of libraries – Libraries West – we also hope that we will be well placed to engage the wider South-West community.
We will be hosting the festival in Taunton Library, which is our biggest and busiest library. It is ideally placed to host events in the south-west as it is easily reached from both the east and the west by train or by car via the M5. As it is our busiest library, it also benefits from a lot of ‘passing trade’ allowing us to best promote the festival. We will be using our new digital and innovation space, The Glass Box, to hold events and talks. This lovely space is half walled in glass, and so benefits from being separate to the rest of the library whilst still feeling a part of it.