Today DCMS published Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016 – 2021. As a member of the Libraries Taskforce, and of William’s Sieghart’s panel for public libraries, SCL fully supports Ambition and is taking steps to ensure that the goals and objectives included in the report are delivered by and in public libraries.
SCL represents the public library sector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: we are the leaders and managers of library services and everything we do is aimed at providing a service that meets the needs and standards of communities today, and looks to the future to flourish. We are delighted that the backbone of Ambition is the Universal Offers for Public Libraries, which we launched in 2013. We are proud of the work that went into researching and developing the Offers, and the daily work that library staff do to deliver them to communities across the UK.
In summary, the Society of Chief Librarians:
Welcomes the objectives outlined in Ambition and is ready to help deliver them.
Looks forward to further developing the Universal Offers to ensure they help libraries support other public services and help enable individuals and communities to flourish.
Welcomes the “Think Libraries First” approach. Libraries have proven to be strong partners in delivering agendas across local government, including health and wellbeing, digital inclusion, literacy, life chances and skills and social cohesion and integration.
Looks forward to seeing many new and exciting projects developed under the ‘Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone’ innovation fund, managed by Arts Council England, to pilot library service projects that provide people with opportunities they might not otherwise have access to.
SCL has developed five Universal Offers focused on libraries’ core role supporting reading, digital, health, information and learning. A sixth offer around culture is currently in development. Since their introduction in 2013, the Universal Offers have gained a high level of recognition and support within the public library sector with over 80% of library services signing up to all 5 offers, and the complementary Children’s Promise and Six Steps for Blind and Partially-Sighted People.
The Universal Offers provide a package of partnerships, resources and advocacy messages at a national level which can be delivered locally, shaped to meet local needs. The offers have been informed by customer research, tested with partners and developed in conjunction with The Reading Agency and Arts Council England.