Julie Griffiths, SCL Learning Offer Lead 

What a busy few months! A lot has happened since I took on the role of lead for the Universal Learning Offer in June this year.

Planning for the second Cracking the Code event is well underway, taking place this time in Manchester in November. Tickets sold out in 2 weeks demonstrating a continuing passion among library staff to develop new skills and confidence around technology, coding and digital making. The event will involve a variety of partners including the BBC, Code Club and CoderDojo, alongside a number of library services sharing their experiences and offering practical support to those attending. This time we’re also adding a ‘Maker Taster’, an opportunity for some hands-on tinkering and making in between sessions. I can’t wait! It’s going to be a great day.

The number of Code Clubs in libraries has risen to 261; 191 of these clubs registering since the Cracking the Code event in London earlier this year. I am continuing to develop the partnership SCL has with Code Club and to explore new opportunities with them and with CoderDojo.

As head of libraries in Halton it’s exciting to see the Learning Offer in action. The Digital Development Officer here attended Cracking the Code in London and has since set up Code Clubs in our libraries, delivered sessions using CodeBugs & Electro Dough, with Halloween themed Minecraft and virtual reality activities coming soon. We’ve had really good feedback following all of our digital activities and our staff have embraced learning new skills with enthusiasm.

SCL is committed to delivering a cohesive set of offers and as such the Learning Offer continues to evolve. Focus has been on supporting library services and staff to deliver activities that support the STEM agenda and this will continue. Digital skills development is an ongoing need and public libraries are well-positioned venues for informal learning opportunities. I continue to work with partners to ensure the role public libraries can play is nurtured and developed.

We have some great things in the pipeline. Next up is the start of a project to develop a new stretch element to the offer around family / intergenerational learning. Research will take place this year with the aim that the project will be delivered in 2017. Busy and exciting times ahead!