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Libraries Unlimited is part of the successful bid awarding Exeter UNESCO City of Literature status

Posted on 07 Nov 2019

Exeter has been awarded prestigious UNESCO City of Literature status.

It is the only place in the UK to be given the status. It joins 65 other cities across the world who have become part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Exeter’s bid was very much a collaboration of people and organisations across the city and Libraries Unlimited are pleased to be working in partnership with key organisations across Exeter.

Those involved in the bid were: Exeter City Council, Exeter Culture, The University of Exeter, Devon County Council, Libraries Unlimited, Literature Works, Exeter Cathedral and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust. Literature Works, the literature development agency for south-west England, wrote the bid on behalf of the steering group.

Alex Kittow, Libraries Unlimited Chief Executive said “This is a major achievement to secure UNESCO City of Literature status for Exeter.  We are proud to be part of this project and to celebrate Exeter’s historical and cultural heritage. The long-established link Exeter has to literature, reading and writing is inspiring.”

“We look forward to working with our partners in the city to celebrate our history and to welcome in new cultural activities and to be part of the future connection to books for the community of Exeter and beyond.”

Exeter’s bid centred around 1,000 years of unbroken history around reading, recognising the Exeter Book at Exeter Cathedral but also about what reading and writing means to residents in Exeter.

The Exeter Book is one of the oldest and best-preserved collections of old English verse in the world, and is older than famous texts such as Beowulf.

Exeter Library has a rich archive consisting of early printed books ranging in date from 1480 to c.1900. Keeping these collections adds depth and breadth to our existing stock and preserves these rare and unique items for future generations. We welcome the opportunity to celebrate our special collections, share them with our customers and to use this collection as inspiration for new work and projects.

Exeter’s bid focussed on ‘cultural wellbeing’ – the power that words can have in all types of setting.

“This is a fantastic announcement for the City and is a credit to the hard work of the bid writing team and all the cultural partners in the city.  Exeter Library is a key cultural organisation in the city and we are excited to be looking at how we can support the celebrations of this announcement and the treasures Exeter holds.” Said Emily Macaulay, Centre Manager at Exeter Library.

This is a four year programme and the next step is for the project to apply to the Arts Council for funding.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.