The Word

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Word's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Word is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.theworduk.org

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | THE WORD
Principal Librarian JuliaRobinson
The Word, National Centre
for the Written Word
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, is a
cultural venue and modern library. It hosts space for
conferences and museum exhibitions and it is also
a cultural hub. At its heart the building remains a public
library, albeit tailored to a different clientele than one might
conventionally expect. Principal Librarian Julia Robinson tells
TheParliamentary Review
that The Word’s team seeks to
provide a different feeling and aesthetic to the usual library
building – one that welcomes and champions diversity.
Our building replaced the former Central Library for South Shields, which had
opened in 1976. Over the decades changes in technology and in library services
meant the building needed further investment, and South Tyneside Council
recognised the value of a modern public library.
Read all about it
The council has been focusing on reinvigorating South Shields town centre through
its recent 365 regeneration campaign. The investment in The Word has been
followed by a new transport interchange with plans for additional retail and leisure
facilities in due course. The council has made a bold commitment to libraries not
only through opening The Word, but also by investing in new libraries in Jarrow
Focus and Hebburn Central.
We opened in 2016, with a renewed commitment to education and to our
community. During the planning process we consulted with the public and plans
FACTS ABOUT
THE WORD
»Principal Librarian:
JuliaRobinson
»Founded in 2016
»Located in South Shields
»Services: State-of-the-art
cultural venue
»No. of frontline staff: 27
The Word
27THE WORD |
CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
were extended to include a café, visitor
centre, Fablab and exhibition space as
well as the library. The input from the
local community and existing library
users was exceptional, allowing us to
create a truly unique space that is free
to use.
All welcome
It is essential to act as a space in which
everyone feels welcome. We believe
that all our visitors complement each
other well, and we are visited by a
diverse range of people. Through
expanding our audience, we are able to
encourage people to visit us who, for
example, may not feel so comfortable
in spaces such as art galleries.
Our venue has a café, which is
always busy and provides a welcome
background noise and buzz around
the building. We believe that when
coupled with our light and welcoming
glass building, we offer a comfortable
environment for any and all who wish to
visit us. The space we work within has
been referred to as a town square, and
with the atrium-like space on the ground
floor, the comparison works well.
While we value areas where people are
free to make noise, we also understand
the importance of peace and quiet in a
library there are quiet spaces available
throughout the building and generally
Sunday is a much quieter day. Through
combining planning and architecture,
we can offer space foreveryone.
The write kind of staff
We recognise that our staff have been
fundamental to the success of our
venture. They have actively sought
opportunities and been committed
to providing the best possible library
service. Our location, in the South
Shields Market Square so close to the
River Tyne has also encouraged a wide
range of visitors, many coming from
North Shields and Tynemouth. As a
library with historical records, we also
find that a number of visitors come to
research their family history, with some
coming from as far afield as Australia
and America. Extensive IT facilities
with staff on-hand to
give advice
We believe that
all our visitors
complement
each other
well, and we
are visited by a
diverse range
of people
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | THE WORD
Principal Librarian JuliaRobinson
The Word, National Centre
for the Written Word
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, is a
cultural venue and modern library. It hosts space for
conferences and museum exhibitions and it is also
a cultural hub. At its heart the building remains a public
library, albeit tailored to a different clientele than one might
conventionally expect. Principal Librarian Julia Robinson tells
TheParliamentary Review
that The Word’s team seeks to
provide a different feeling and aesthetic to the usual library
building – one that welcomes and champions diversity.
Our building replaced the former Central Library for South Shields, which had
opened in 1976. Over the decades changes in technology and in library services
meant the building needed further investment, and South Tyneside Council
recognised the value of a modern public library.
Read all about it
The council has been focusing on reinvigorating South Shields town centre through
its recent 365 regeneration campaign. The investment in The Word has been
followed by a new transport interchange with plans for additional retail and leisure
facilities in due course. The council has made a bold commitment to libraries not
only through opening The Word, but also by investing in new libraries in Jarrow
Focus and Hebburn Central.
We opened in 2016, with a renewed commitment to education and to our
community. During the planning process we consulted with the public and plans
FACTS ABOUT
THE WORD
»Principal Librarian:
JuliaRobinson
»Founded in 2016
»Located in South Shields
»Services: State-of-the-art
cultural venue
»No. of frontline staff: 27
The Word
27THE WORD |
CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
were extended to include a café, visitor
centre, Fablab and exhibition space as
well as the library. The input from the
local community and existing library
users was exceptional, allowing us to
create a truly unique space that is free
to use.
All welcome
It is essential to act as a space in which
everyone feels welcome. We believe
that all our visitors complement each
other well, and we are visited by a
diverse range of people. Through
expanding our audience, we are able to
encourage people to visit us who, for
example, may not feel so comfortable
in spaces such as art galleries.
Our venue has a café, which is
always busy and provides a welcome
background noise and buzz around
the building. We believe that when
coupled with our light and welcoming
glass building, we offer a comfortable
environment for any and all who wish to
visit us. The space we work within has
been referred to as a town square, and
with the atrium-like space on the ground
floor, the comparison works well.
While we value areas where people are
free to make noise, we also understand
the importance of peace and quiet in a
library there are quiet spaces available
throughout the building and generally
Sunday is a much quieter day. Through
combining planning and architecture,
we can offer space foreveryone.
The write kind of staff
We recognise that our staff have been
fundamental to the success of our
venture. They have actively sought
opportunities and been committed
to providing the best possible library
service. Our location, in the South
Shields Market Square so close to the
River Tyne has also encouraged a wide
range of visitors, many coming from
North Shields and Tynemouth. As a
library with historical records, we also
find that a number of visitors come to
research their family history, with some
coming from as far afield as Australia
and America. Extensive IT facilities
with staff on-hand to
give advice
We believe that
all our visitors
complement
each other
well, and we
are visited by a
diverse range
of people
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | THE WORD
We have a number of exhibitions
taking place at present and have
worked hard to ensure a range of
groups are comfortable visiting us.
We worked hard to bring the existing
groups we had at our old library, like
our choir, with us to The Word, and
we have also added chess, Lego and
fiction writing groups, plus a writing
group aimed at young people.
We have also founded a literary
festival, known as the Write! festival,
which has grown year on year. We
began as a week-long festival and
this year we will be hosting events
over three weeks. We have moved
the festival to coincide with school
holidays, which will allow more
children to be involved. We have had
speakers ranging from Val McDermid,
David Baldacci and Michael Rosen to
Kevin Maguire and Ann Cleeves.
Moving forward
Much like any transition, we faced
a number of challenges in the way
in which we operate. When we
reopened in 2016 to meet the needs
of customers, we worked new hours
and seven days a week.
Since opening we have seen huge
increases in library use, with around
19,500 people actively borrowing
books. We have seen a dramatic rise in
the number of children’s books being
borrowed, and in the numbers of
preschool children attending events.
We have 48 PCs available for public
use, with staff around to help those
who are less confident – demand for
the computers is high.
Reading the future
In the coming years we are confident
that we will continue to be able to
engage with the local community and to
see members of our community become
more involved in the planning process.
We also hope to be able to keep up
with the ever-evolving technology we
are faced with. If we can continue as
we have gone before, we will remain
an invaluable resource to the people of
South Tyneside and beyond.
We believe it
is essential to
act as a space
in which
everyone feels
welcome
Over 70,000 books to
browse and borrow

www.theworduk.org

This article was sponsored by The Word. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development