IT was really positive to hear maths and numbers expert and guru Bobby Seagull talk about the value of public libraries recently.

He also mentioned the national success of the ‘Friends of Padgate Library’ in winning the Lego “Library of the Future” construction competition.

Bobby reminded us of the social value and community importance of our libraries – all of which remain open in our town.

They are important local community spaces that encourage education and informal learning, positive wellbeing, encourage the prevention of social isolation, the promotion of social mobility and the digital and getting on line agendas.

Our libraries make a powerful contribution to education and learning and 88 per cent of our learners say using a library makes them more confident and 76 per cent say using the library helps them improve their qualifications.

Virtually every young child has access or use of a “digital screen” these days.

The big question is how can you get them to access and use real books – not just ‘e’ books?

Research has shown that by choosing a book rather than just being given one can improve young reading scores by more than 30 per cent.

As a town we have made significant investment in early years education to encourage the best start in life.

Our early years education programme in terms of its quality and accessibility is probably one of the best in the country.

A child who attends nursery education is likely to hear and learn some 35,000 more words than a child who does not.

Some of these activities are now held in our local libraries.

This best early start ensures good overall performance later in life.

We are currently second in the north west for Key Stage two reading scores and 10th nationally and our GCSE scores in Maths and English are well above the national averages.

These are challenging times but I believe that investment in public libraries and early years is the best investment we could make in our local communities and it will give a lasting and transformative returns.

Libraries supply cultural, social and personal development, higher life satisfaction and happiness.

So perhaps it’s time to get behind Bobby’s manifesto for libraries campaign,