The Society of Chief Librarians is pleased to have supported a new BT and Barclays initiative to bring free Wi-Fi and hands-on digital support to over 50 libraries across England. There are 100 UK centres taking part in the initiative, which will provide online access to broad cross-sections in towns and cities the length and breadth of the country.

Libraries are a valued learning and meeting space for the local community and free internet access, which combined with expert support, will open up opportunities that being online has to offer. BT have supported the set-up of Wi-Fi connectivity while BT Digital Friends and Barclays Digital Eagles, specially trained members of Barclays’ staff, will provide training and support to help local people build confidence and develop the skills they need to succeed in the digital world.

In the UK some 12 per cent of the adult population have never been online and this increases to 61 per cent for those over 75 years old. With so many opportunities from education, interacting with friends, job opportunities and access to government and health services all available online, it has never been more important for libraries to be at the forefront of supporting residents and communities digital skills.

–Nick Stopforth, SCL Digital Lead & Head of Libraries and Culture, Doncaster