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New winter season of earth-focused events rolls out across libraries in Devon and Torbay this winter

Libraries are looking to the future in Libraries Unlimited’s third season of exciting events in Devon and Torbay this winter

The charity secured a £720,369 grant from Arts Council England in 2022 to boost its thriving programme of music, films, workshops, and high-quality community events between 2023 and 2026.

Two seasons – ‘Pride of Place’ and ‘Get Creating!’ have so far reached thousands of people with workshops, performances, art, and music events.

Now ‘A Better Tomorrow’ will invite local communities to consider the planet and their place in it and encourage local action. The season will feature everything from singing circles and Bhangra dancing to a crime fiction workshop and a jazz orchestra performance.

The sessions kick off in December and run through until March at three key libraries – Barnstaple, Exeter, and Paignton – as well as smaller libraries around Devon and Torbay.

Rae Hoole from Libraries Unlimited said: “The breadth of events we’re able to put on with this incredible Arts Council England funding has been a big hit with a great variety of people in our communities. Winter is tough time for many with costly fuel bills and gloomy weather and we think it’s the perfect time to get out and get together in the warm, welcoming space of a library. We think we’ve got something for everyone and every age and look forward to a vibrant and creative season ahead.”

Events for ‘A Better Tomorrow’ are listed below. Please note that there may be a small additional booking fee for those booked via Eventbrite.


Tiny travels – Christmas around the world

Saturday 9th December    11am – 1pm

Age up to 11    Donations

A fun, interactive session where earning about how people celebrate Christmas Around The World with a focus on Latin America. Learn about Christmas celebrations from Mexico, Cuba to Colombia. Huge selection of crafts, instruments, smelling sensory pots, musical sound buttons to press and play food from different countries. Travel the world without leaving Devon and give your child a unique opportunity to explore world cultures.

Ceramic gifting workshop

Tuesday 5th December   4 – 5.30pm 

Aged 13+    £4 

Join Vicky from VJ Ceramics to make a small gift for a friend or loved one from clay. Create a soap dish, ornament or small gift and colour using slip. Vicky will take it away to be fired and you can come back to collect your gift in time for Christmas. 

Tiny travels – World religion day

Saturday 20th January   11am – 1pm

Age up to 11    Donations

A fun, interactive session be celebrating World Religion Day and learning about different world religions with a focus on Asia. Huge selection of crafts, instruments, smelling sensory pots, musical sound buttons to press and play food from different countries. Travel the world without leaving Devon and give your child a unique opportunity to explore world cultures.

We need music – Carers singing circle

Monday 22nd January 11.30 – 12noon

All ages    Donations

An inclusive singing circle open to carers of all ages and abilities. Songs are learnt by ear without any written music. Anyone can join in and be part of the group. We will sing uplifting, beautiful but simple rounds, call-&-response, and harmony songs. Free but pre-booking essential.

We need music – Community singing circle

Friday 26th January    11.30 to 12noon

All ages     Donations

An inclusive singing circle open to all ages and abilities. Songs are learnt by ear without any written music. Anyone can join in and be part of the group. We will sing uplifting, beautiful but simple rounds, call-&-response, and harmony songs. Free but pre-booking essential.

Brick ideas – Cars of the future

Thursday 15th February   11am – 12noon and 2 – 3pm

Age 6 plus    £3-£5 pay what you can

A fun, interactive workshop with Brick Ideas for children to build the car of the future. Using Lego bricks and Lego Technic to create motorised vehicles with an assortment of gears. Will your car make it up hill, what speeds will it achieve, and can you win a race in your car of the future? 

Bhangra dancing with Avtar

Saturday 2nd March   1.30 – 3pm

All ages     £4

Bhangra folk dance workshop (with a splash of Bollywood). Get ready to be transported to the villages of the Punjab – dancing to the rhythm of the dhol – and the streets of Mumbai dancing to masala beats of Bollywood. Bhangra & Bollywood dance can be quite strenuous, but this will be a gentler pace which builds. A chance to learn something new about India’s rich and diverse culture and have fun.

Ceilidh Barn Dance

Saturday 2nd March   7 – 9.30pm

Adults and families – dancing for those aged 6+

£6 adult, £4 concession/child

An evening of traditional dancing to the music of the Amber Fire Ceilidh Band. All ages and abilities welcome as the dance will be well guided by professional caller Jeremy Child.

Future proof

Saturday 2nd March      10am – 3pm

All ages       

All activities in the main library area will be free to access. Workshops and talks held upstairs will be individually ticketed

This event is seeking to offer a taste of a positive and creative future for Torbay in the midst of a world being reshaped by climate change. The day will weave together crafts, film, free exchange, repair and upcycling, practical workshops and inspiring speakers that map pathways toward greater local resilience.

Day of Dance
Saturday 2nd March 2024    11am – 12pm

Ages 6+        £3

Celebrate the joy of dance in Paignton Library’s first Day of Dance! Ami Lauren is back with another of her amazing dance workshops. This time Ami will be teaching you an introduction to cheerleading! An exciting workshop incorporating cheer motions, balance and teamwork skills. The workshop is for children over 6 years old and adults of all abilities. Grab some pom poms and learn a fun cheer dance. 

Earth stories

Saturday 23rd March    10.30am – 12.30pm

Ages 5 – 11      £3

What if we all knew we were a valued part of the Earth, right from an early age, and brought this through our lives? How might we live, and how might we treat the Earth? Parents and carers and their children are invited to join Ambă for a facilitated Storytime morning, gently weaving in this idea of Belonging to the Earth. There will be a reading of a picture book and then there’ll be space for sharing what stood out and in the story. There will be plenty of colour and art materials to get creative with.


Swinging Christmas with Exeter Jazz Orchestra

Saturday 16th December     7.30 – 9.30pm

All ages

Tickets for this performance are Pay What You Can Afford, on a sliding scale from £6 – £12

Swing into Christmas with a night of jazz classics, golden age groovers and cool carols, as the Exeter Jazz Orchestra make their triumphant, trumpeting return to Exeter Library with Swingin’ Christmas! Following a sell-out show earlier this year, the band are back. Don’t miss out on this glorious gig.

Tiny travels – Cultural learning through play

Saturday 27th January   10am – 2pm

Free for children aged under 10

Join Tiny Travels for a fun, interactive family session for all ages and abilities, to help children learn about cultures and religions of the world – with a focus on Asia. Travel the world without leaving the Children’s Library. This is a free, drop-in event. No booking required.

Winter warmer – Poetry and music

Thursday 8th February    7.30 – 9pm

All ages   £10 (£8 self selecting concession) 

Snuggle up in Exeter Library for a cosy evening of poetry, music, and magic. Featuring poet Chris Tutton (award-winning author of eight collections) accompanying harpist Anne Denholm (joint Principal Harp with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales from 2015-2019.) Plus, the library’s young spoken-word competition winner and others.

Thrills and spills an evening of crime fiction

Thursday 29th February    7.30 – 9.30pm

Age 12+ (some non-explicit mentions of murder, violence, and other crime fiction related themes)

£8 (self-selecting £5 commission)

An evening of exhilarating crime fiction. Featuring a conversation with award-winning novelist Sarah Pearse (The Sanatorium No. 1 Sunday Times Bestseller,) as well as a crime writing workshop that’s perfect for beginners and a mini murder mystery from Moonstone Theatre Company.


Snowflakes & Stars
Saturday 2nd December   11am – 1pm

All ages      FREE (donations welcome) 

A fun, festive craft session under the Reading Tree with origami artist Caroline Preston. Drop in and create a paper snowflake – or for those who fancy more of a challenge, a star! There’s something for all abilities.

Natural Capital: Protecting our Roots or Putting a Price on Forests?’ with Myc Riggulsford
Wednesday 6th December   11am – 1pm

All ages      £2

Myc Riggulsford is a science & environment journalist, specialising in climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, soils, GM crops & ancient woodland.

Join Myc for a fascinating conversation concerning the concept of our Natural Capital in our society today. Natural Capital is the clean air we breathe, safe water to drink, fish from the sea, good soil to grow crops in and bees to pollinate them, services we get apparently for free, but without which we could not survive.  How does society put a value on the world that surrounds us?
Refreshments will be included in the ticket price.

M/Other who mic

Mondays 15th, 22nd and 29th January 10am – 12noon

Mothers       £6 per workshop

Join Lizzy Humber and Kate Massey-Chase from M/Others on the Mic to explore poetry and your creative voice in this new three-part series. All levels of experience and interest are valued. All experiences of m/otherhood supported. Children of any age are welcome with you. You do not have to have children with you to attend.

M/Others on the mic

Monday 5th February    11am – 12noon

All ages      £6 (performers free) 

A relaxed daytime gig, with local m/others sharing poems, songs and stories exploring everything from mythology, domesticity, and power. Headlined by mother/songwriter Holly Ebony and support from mother/poet Kate Massey-Chase. The performances are adult-centred with children very welcome too. Expect both a relaxed and lively space, where children are welcome to be themselves and performers may have children with them too.

Butterflies & Flowers
Saturday 2nd March   10.30am – 12pm

Ages 14+      £8 

Treat yourself to some time out in mindful creativity with origami artist Caroline Preston. Learn how to fold beautiful origami butterflies, believed to represent life, beauty, joy, freedom, transformation, new beginnings, rebirth and longevity.

Also enjoy creating a range of origami flowers symbolizing everlasting friendship.

Library Lates

Friday 15th March       7 – 10pm

Age 16+           £10

Barnstaple Library will be throwing open its doors after closing time for a newly launched programme of out-of-hours music, creativity and fun. Music, board games, dancing, chill out tunes with Matt The Hat, make a mandala workshop with Gherkin Blue and other activities will be taking off between the shelves after closing time. Enjoy music under the reading tree, from local acoustic duo DogLeg, and singer songwriter Laura Kate (with special guests). With a pop-up bar provided by ‘Beer Matters’.


Farewell Jamaica

Thursday 14th March   7.15 – 8.15PM

Age 16+      £3

A captivating and heartwarming play based on Neville’s Windrush journey, as he leaves Jamaica in search of a brighter future to help rebuild England after WW2. 


Participate Arts

Tuesday 19th December  10.30am – 12.30pm

Ages 4 – 11        £2

Winter Decoration Workshop. Step into a world of winter magic and create your own beautiful, sustainable decorations with a positive message for the future and looking after our world.

Drum Devon

Friday 16th February   10am – 12noon

All ages      £1

Join James from Drum Devon for this exciting drumming workshop that helps to promote global citizenship, cultural understanding, and appreciation. Learn about cultural context and the impact rhythms have on individuals and communities. 

Letters to a Stranger

Tuesday 12th March 10:30am – 12:30

16+ £2

Experiment with collage, drawing and printing techniques to create your own ‘letter to a stranger’, a uniquely decorated letter containing original artwork and a positive message.  


Nature Doodles

Monday 4th March  4pm – 6pm

All ages    Free drop in

As winter turns to spring, the beauty, variety, eccentricity, and sheer magic of nature erupts into colour! Join local artist Megan Dowsett and explore how to doodle with Nature in this interactive family friendly workshop.


Flying with Strings

Monday 12th February    10.30 – 11am performance and 11.15am – 12noon workshop

Age 5+ children under 7 will need an accompanying adult


Join Louis and Sarah for a spectacular puppet show performance and an accompanying marionette making workshop. Inspired by the avian world of Britain, Europe and Africa, this interactive show features intricate string puppetry and live music.


The Magical Screentest of Isobel Jeffery

Friday 8th March 7.15 – 8.20pm

16+ £3

Four of Swords presents the true story of a resourceful young neurodivergent woman, her trials, and tribulations, and her quest to become a successful actor!

For further details and booking go to

Libraries in Devon and Torbay are run by Libraries Unlimited, an independent staff and community owned charity. Join up for free by filling in the online form at or Follow Libraries Unlimited on Facebook.

For further information and full contact details please visit our web page