SCL and CILIP set out joint public library skills strategy

The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and CILIP, the UK’s library and information association have launched the Public Library Skills Strategy, a new model to invest in and develop the skills of the public library workforce in England and maximise the impact of the public library network. PLSS July 2017

It sets out a path to a thriving future for libraries by 2030 as centres of digital, creative and cultural excellence that will enhance prospects for their communities.

Neil MacInnes, President of SCL said: “If public library services are to thrive in a changing world with competing needs and priorities, local libraries need clear workforce development plans so that staff can meet the needs of the communities they support. In turn, this has to be underpinned by a national framework which brings economies of scale and collective ideas and energy. Our vision is a thriving future network of innovative virtual and physical civic spaces where every community has access to a free hub of learning, creativity and engagement.”

Nick Poole, CILIP CEO said: “We’re very pleased to work with SCL to lead the development of a more open and inclusive way of developing skills and professionalism in the public library workforce, which recognises that ‘leadership’ happens at every level of the organisation. The future of public libraries relies on harnessing the power of technology, creativity and local participation. This strategy is how we will ensure that our sector has access to the skills, competencies and capacity it needs, now and in the future.”

The strategy makes eight recommendations structured around key aims for workforce development and commits to ensuring that Local Authorities understand the expertise of the library and knowledge profession in developing and delivering quality services that are needed by today’s communities.

CILIP and SCL have incorporated several of the recommendations into existing work programmes, and will pursue additional external funding to implement the remaining recommendations.

The strategy has been jointly developed by CILIP and SCL with support from the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce and a working group of library practitioners from across England. It was created in consultation with experts in the profession from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and experts from the wider information, library and knowledge sectors.

The work will continue into 2018 as CILIP develops a UK wide Sector Skills Strategy, articulating how it will attract talent and invest in these new skills. In parallel, SCL will be working on a programme of leadership and skills development aligned to their Universal Offers which describe and identify current and future countrywide library experiences.


Press contacts

Cat Cooper

Communications and Campaigns Manager, CILIP

Tel: 020 7255 0653
Mobile: 07867 455070

Elizabeth Elford

SCL Advocacy Manager


Mobile: 07891 056114

Notes to editors

About SCL
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) is a local government association made up of the chief librarian of each library authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. SCL takes a leading role in the development of public libraries, through sharing best practices, advocating for continuous improvement on behalf of local people, and leading the debate on the future of the public library service.

CILIP, the library and information association is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. CILIP’s goal is to put information and library skills and professional values at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014.