Bringing ideas, imagination, creativity and knowledge to enrich lives and build thriving communities


Creative Communities

Creative Communities is an imaginative programme of events and artworks within Devon and Torbay’s libraries, delivered by Libraries Unlimited, in partnership with artists and communities and funded by Arts Council England and Exeter City Council.

Our programmes encourage residents and visitors to come together and share in creative activities, discover new talents and enjoy theatre, talks, musical performances and more within their local library.

Arts Council England



Learn more about the Creative Communities’ Events Programme >>

The Secret Book Quest

Instilling a life-long love of reading and books in children is the aim of an ambitious new initiative from Libraries Unlimited.

It’s aimed at children over the age of five, with the target of getting them to read 50 books.

Each child who signs up to the Quest will receive a booklet featuring a story that takes them on a journey through their local library. The adventure has been brought to life with beautiful illustrations by designer Emily Fox.

The Secret Book Quest has been made possible with funding from Tesco Community Grants and the Unwin Charitable Trust which supports projects that encourage reading and literacy.

More about the secret book quest >>


Unlimited Potential (UP)

Unlimited Potential - Arts Council England Project

Libraries Unlimited successfully secured funding from Arts Council England to deliver an innovative project in North Devon and Torridge. The project, Unlimited Potential, aims to introduce creative, animated and engaging experiences and equipment, designed to reach a new audience and to show them what libraries have to offer.

Across the year there will be a new FabLab and Business & IP Centre built at Barnstaple Library and a mini FabLab that will be taken out to a range of different settings to reach new audiences. We’re also creating a cohesive events programme, collaborating with a range of cultural organisations and national and international artists, with a particular focus on reaching into communities and creating events that directly meet people’s needs.

Find out more about UP events here >>

Unlimited Value

Libraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter secured £200,000 Arts Council England (ACE) research grant to carry out a two-year research project to understand the impact of libraries on local communities in Devon, in partnership with the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), and ODI Devon, part of the Open Data Institute.

We have teamed up with the University of Exeter Business School to undertake research into the value of our libraries, and how they can best meet the needs of their users. The project aims to build improved understanding of the ways in which libraries support individuals and communities, reaching beyond libraries’ traditional book lending role.

As part of the project, staff from across the organisation will take part in problem-solving and learning meetings called Action Learning Sets (ALSs),  allowing managers to identify challenges and solutions. The academics will also host a series of Action Research Summits at the Business School, where the innovative ideas developed as part of the project will be shared with staff who work across the arts and cultural sector in other parts of the country.

Read the project blog here >

Library Work Clubs – Barnstaple and Bideford

Libraries Unlimited works with partner organisations to deliver Work Clubs supporting people into employment or education. The Work Clubs in Bideford and Barnstaple libraries are supported by an ESF Community Grant.

ESF Community Grants are funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and are managed by Petroc in Devon and Somerset. For information about the Work Clubs contact Barnstaple or Bideford Library.

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.