GUEST COLUMN: Membership milestone for Inspire, by Coun John Knight

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Membership for Nottinghamshire County Council’s new cultural organisation Inspire has reached the 10,000 mark.

The county council is the first in the East Midlands to set up an organisation to manage its libraries, archives, learning and cultural services across the county which will launch in the spring.

Inspire is a community benefit society giving people a greater say in the running of their local library and other cultural and learning services. A total of 10,476 people have now signed up since it began recruitment in November.

We are delighted with the number of people who have already become an Inspire member. Membership is free and provides an exciting opportunity to give local people even more of a say in the future management of their local library and other cultural services such as arts and employment programmes.

We have a proud record of running modern, popular and accessible library and cultural services across the county. We lend more than three million books from our libraries each year, with e-books and e-magazines increasingly popular and host thousands of events.

We have recently invested £2.5m in our archives building, had a good Ofsted inspection of our community learning courses and help dozens of teenagers into training, education or employment through our Skills for Employment Service each year. We are committed to our library and cultural services, and Inspire provides an exciting opportunity for these services to be even more enterprising and creative to achieve benefits for local communities now and for future generations.

Inspire will deliver the following services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council: public libraries, archives, arts, instrumental music teaching in schools, community learning and skills service, Nottinghamshire music hub and the education library service.

People can still continue to enjoy their local library and the other cultural and learning services NCC currently provides without becoming a member - but Inspire would love for you to join them.

Just fill in the online form, and Inspire will send you a membership card. You will receive an Inspire membership newsletter with special offers, discounts on events and an invitation to its annual general meeting. Find out more at www.inspireculture.org.uk.