Renfrew Town Hall

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]New plans for the management of Renfrewshire’s libraries, museums and town halls will ‘promote greater investment, increase community participation in decision-making, and support economic regeneration’ according to a new report.

A meeting of Renfrewshire Council on Thursday December 18 will consider a proposal that the existing Renfrewshire Leisure trust should take over the running of cultural services and facilities.

Renfrew Town Hall

Renfrewshire Leisure has more than doubled customer visits to sports facilities and increased jobs by over 50% since it took over the management of Renfrewshire’s sports centres and swimming pools in 2003.

Council chiefs believe that incorporating cultural services into the trust can deliver a similar boost for a sector that the council has put at the centre of its programme to regenerate the Renfrewshire economy.

Councillor James Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sports, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “Renfrewshire has a unique cultural heritage and a vibrant arts scene. The council is putting that living tradition at the centre of our plans to bring jobs and investment.

“Our approach takes account of the Renfrewshire Tourism Framework, the Paisley Heritage Asset Strategy which could be worth £45m a year and 800 new jobs, and the plan for Paisley to bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

“The council has set out an approach which builds on a successful existing model in Renfrewshire. Vital services would be retained in public ownership through a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. We would also draw on the best practice of trusts which are already operating successfully in two thirds of Scottish local authority areas.

“It’s vital we get the right approach to maximise the potential of our museums, town halls and libraries. We have looked at different options, consulted widely, and believe that broadening the scope of a trust which has a proven track record offers the best way forward.

“There are strong economic reasons for creating an expanded trust. At a time when the council is facing a funding shortfall of between £20 and £30million over the next three years, it makes sense to take advantage of the £600,000 savings from VAT and business rates which trust status would deliver every year.

“The trust’s facilities and services would continue to receive public funding from Renfrewshire Council but would also have more flexibility to attract additional funding from other sources. The facilities, including museums, libraries and town halls would remain in public ownership.

“There would be increased opportunities for community and business representatives to be directly involved in decision-making on the future of cultural services through representation on the trust board”

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Along with a change to the management of libraries, museums and town halls, a number of other services could transfer to the trust, including: sports development and Active Schools programmes, bowling greens and pavilions, and some community facilities. The aim is to provide a better, more streamlined service – for example, on pitch bookings.

Added Councillor Harte: “Our proposals are ambitious and reflect our vision for not just preserving cultural services in Renfrewshire but strengthening and developing them.”

If the plan is approved by councillors, there would be a phased transfer of services to the trust during 2015.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

New heritage centre is highlight of ‘Digital December’.

A new digital heritage centre in Paisley Central Library has been unveiled as part of a ‘Digital December’ of online activity from Renfrewshire Libraries.

The Heritage Centre, based in what was known as the Reference and Local Studies Library, is designed to meet the growing demand for access to digital archives and records and to showcase Paisley’s proud history.

Cllr Stuart Clark with libraries manager Jenifer McFarlane

The new centre was officially opened this week by Cllr Stuart Clark, depute convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board.

The opening the new centre is the centrepiece of a month of online activity from Renfrewshire Libraries.

A new website for library members will make it possible to borrow at all hours and access electronic and audio books amongst a wealth of other online resources.

Libraries staff will hold a number of drop-in sessions during the month designed to help local people ‘tame technology’ and get to grips with the growing number of smartphones, tablets and e-readers they possess.

Cllr Clark said: “Shows such as the BBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” have made research into family history an ever more popular leisure activity. As our libraries do more to tap into that demand, our visitor numbers will only increase.”

“But Digital December shows that our libraries are about so much more than places to borrow books.

“They are places where people can go online for free and access information about the job market. They host Bookbug sessions where parents and children can bond through reading and song. And they are sources of vital health information and advice thanks to initiatives like Living Well @ The Library which we’ve developed together with Macmillan Cancer Support”.

“Libraries are ideal places to bring like-minded people together within a community, or for people to go to get the information and services they need, and that’s why we’re investing in their future.”

A programme of events for Digital December is available in every Renfrewshire Library. More information about library services is available by calling 0300 300 1188 or emailing

The new Renfrewshire Libraries website is available at

Creative kids Skoob-up library prizes

Creative kids from across the county are competition winners after helping Renfrewshire Libraries with a new initiative.

‘The Skoobs’ are a bunch of colourful characters created by Renfrewshire Libraries to encourage children to read more. Lurking on the library shelves, the animations are designed to attract the eye of younger borrowers.


Until recently, all they lacked were their own names but a competition over the Easter school holidays saw hundreds of local kids suggest what they could be called.

Nine children were picked out as winners after coming up with the names chosen for each of the nine Skoobs.

Lochwinnoch-based children’s author Franzeska G Ewart was one of the competition judges.

Franzeska said: “It was a real honour to be asked to judge and great fun reading all of the hugely-imaginative names that were submitted.

“Ideas like The Skoobs are so good because they help give children a feeling of involvement with books.”

Councillor James Harte, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s sport, leisure and culture policy board, presented the winners with their prizes.

Councillor Harte said: “It’s always encouraging to see how keen Renfrewshire children are to take part in competitions like this and it was great to meet the winners and see how enthusiastic they are.”

“Congratulations to all of the winners and I hope they’ll enjoy the pleasure of a lifetime of reading!”

The winners received a T-shirt each featuring the Skoob they had successfully named and a certificate.

Competition winners were:
* Molly Wishart, aged 6, Newmains PS
* Cameron Morton, aged 8, Brediland PS
* Kate Beverland, aged 10, Lochwinnoch PS
* Max Ralston, aged 6, Kirklandneuk PS
* Olivia Vanni, aged 5, Thorn PS
* Chloe Termini, aged 10, St Paul’s PS
* Aisling Murray, aged 8, Bridge of Weir PS
* Amy Beverland, aged 8, Lochwinnoch PS
* Angel McCallum, aged 7, West PS

Paisley Library - Paisley Museum

Kids competition at Renfrewshire Libraries

Libraries across Renfrewshire want local kids to help name some friendly little monsters who live among their books!

The ‘Skoobs’ are a bunch of colourful characters designed to attract children to the library.

Kids up to the age of 12 can enter a competition to name the Skoobs. The winner will have their picture taken with a life-size Skoob in May.

Paisley Library - Paisley Museum

Younger kids can pop into the library to help the staff colour in some of the smaller Skoobs.

Franzeska G Ewart will be on the judging panel. Franzeska is a Lochwinnoch-based children’s author who has written over 20 novels.

Franzeska said: “The Skoobs are a great idea – the competition should give children a feeling of involvement with books, and that has to be good!

“It’s a real honour to be judging the competition and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of names we get in.”

Competition entry forms can be picked up from any Renfrewshire Library from 8 April onwards. Completed entries can be posted in the Skoob postbox in each library. The closing date for entries is Saturday 27 April.

More information is available online at

6 Book Challenge winners

Six Book Challenge
More than 50 people who signed up for a reading challenge through Renfrewshire Libraries have been honoured at an awards ceremony.

Renfrewshire Libraries hosted an awards ceremony for those who took part in the Six Book Challenge.

Now in its fifth successful year, the Six Book Challenge was launched in 2008 by The Reading Agency, a charity which works to inspire more people to read more. It is promoted through libraries, adult education, prisons and workplaces.
This year Renfrewshire Libraries signed up over 50 participants through working with partners including Adult Learning and Literacies , the Disability Resource Centre and the STAR Project.
6 Book Challenge winnersOn the night, held in Paisley Central Library, author, playwright and poet, Des Dillon, who has himself written material for emergent readers, gave a talk on the importance of reading.
Certificates were presented to each of the participants by Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board.

Councillor McMillan said: “The Six Book Challenge is a great way of inspiring more people to take up reading. By working with our partners, our libraries service were able to sign up more local people to take part. They’ve each done a fantastic job and I was delighted to present them with their awards.”

The Six Book Challenge is a UK-wide annual incentive scheme that encourages less confident adult readers to develop a reading habit through choosing, reading and expressing their views about books. Research confirms that engagement in reading for pleasure through the Six Book Challenge increases confidence, motivation and skills.

Also on the night, Emma Richardson from the STAR Project spoke about the impact the challenge had on her group.

She said: “Through taking part in this challenge, parents have grown more confident in reading along with their children. As a result families have become more motivated to come along and join the library.”