The Society of Chief Librarians has today responded to the Independent Public Library Report for England.
READ FULL RESPONSE HERE: Response to the Independent report- final

Reacting to the publication of the Independent Library Report for England, Ciara Eastell, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said: “The public clearly value libraries as centres of the community – more people go to libraries every year than go to cinemas and premiership football matches combined. Libraries play a vital role in society and SCL will redouble its efforts on innovation in 2015.”

Commenting on the report in detail, Ciara Eastell said:

• “The SCL endorses the report’s recommendations”.
• “Public library services have a successful track record in delivering high impact work for modest investment and could do even more in the future as vibrant community hubs”.
• “The SCL’s Universal Offers on reading, digital, health, information and learning, are a strong platform for the future of the public library service”.
• “Would have welcomed a commitment to investment in public libraries to support the report”.
• “Universal free wi-fi coverage would enable all libraries to play a crucial role at the heart of local communities”.

SCL digital innovation projects in 2015

• SCL will develop the first important phase of a single Universal Digital Platform–one web presence for public libraries in England, with support from Arts Council England
• SCL launched a pilot Digital Leadership Programme in December 2014.
• SCL has jointly managed e-lending pilots in libraries which will report in March 2015
• SCL has developed Digital Information Skills training, with funding from Arts Council England, to ensure that people who work in libraries have the tools needed to help library customers access life-critical digital resources. More than 5000 library staff have completed the e-learning platform to date. Over 90% of staff in libraries trained by April 2015.
• 50 young people will be recruited as interns in libraries (subject to a successful Creative Employment Programme bid) from January 2015 onwards. The interns will help support the delivery of the Universal Offers locally and nationally.

Case studies of innovation in public libraries

• Lewisham Libraries Embrace Digital: All libraries in the London borough of Lewisham offer free wifi access. Frequent free IT support classes are offered across Lewisham’s 13 libraries. Many libraries, including the Library at Deptford Lounge offer both PCs and Macs for customers to use at no cost.
• Warwickshire Libraries Sign Up Schoolchildren: Libraries across Warwickshire have joined forces with schools to provide every primary-aged pupil with a personalised library card.
• Tabitha Witherick, Lead Librarian, North Somerset Library Service: “I am on the cohort of library leaders participating in SCL’s Digital Leadership programme and over the past 6 months I have been one of SCL’s 56 regional trainers, supporting the programme of digital skills training for library staff. This training reinforces the role libraries play in helping communities to access life essential information and services, which are increasingly online. It is critical that we continue to develop the library workforce at all levels in this fast changing digital world so that we can deliver better and more innovative library services to the people of North Somerset”.