Wiltshire Council libraries have officially become warm spaces for people this winter, providing a warm and friendly welcome to support anyone who needs help through the cost-of-living crisis.
Of course, Wiltshire libraries are open to the public throughout the year, but now anyone is welcome to drop-in to any library in the county during the usual opening hours to have a sit down, a hot drink where possible, pick up some useful information, take part in activities and enjoy a friendly chat with staff should they need it.
Working with Warm and Safe Wiltshire and The Rural Communities Energy Support Network, our friendly library staff will be able to assist residents seeking basic energy advice and make referrals to experienced energy advisors in all but our smallest libraries. All libraries will be able to signpost people to community partners and agencies that can support people through the rising cost of living. Libraries will also be collection points for Warm Packs, which includes a hot water bottle and blanket, for anyone who would benefit from some free essentials. These will be available for collection soon.
All the other usual library facilities will be available too, including free access to books, newspapers, computer facilities, digital support, and tables for anyone who needs to do some quiet work. Libraries are also continuing to provide a home library service for people who are housebound or who struggle to get to the library. If anyone is interested in this service, they should contact their local library.
There is no criteria for anyone who might need to use the library as a warm space, and staff will be friendly and welcoming so that people feel as comfortable as possible.
We also have a range of support and advice on our dedicated cost of living webpages. Our recently launched interactive community directory can also be found there, which contains details of other warm spaces in the county as well as community food providers. It can all be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living.
We are always looking for volunteers to support library services, so if anyone has time to spare and wants to join a friendly team this winter, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries.