Libraries Conference Highlights Successful Partnerships and Collaboration

More than 140 library leaders, policy makers and partners will mark the start of the Society of Chief Librarians’ annual Seminar, a two-day conference focusing on innovation and best practice in libraries, with a welcome by SCL President Ciara Eastell. The 2016 Seminar— Changing Horizons: challenges, trends and new ways of delivering— will explore the challenges and trends in managing and delivering public library services during a continuing period of austerity.

The programme includes presentations by passionate library advocates and innovators. R. David Lankes, professor and Dean’s Scholar for New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, will speak on the evolution of librarianship and key messaging for building support from communities. Other speakers include: Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library; writer and campaigner Stella Duffy, Co- Director, Fun Palaces; Ed Vaizey, Minister for Libraries; Kathy Settle, Chief Executive of the Libraries Taskforce; Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, and more. The full programme is available on the SCL website.

Three grant-giving foundations will participate in a session on new partnerships and opportunities for public libraries. Martyn Evans, Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust, Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of Wolfson Foundation will join a panel chaired by Ciara Eastell to discuss investment in libraries.

The Wellcome Trust has supported a health panel, Building healthier communities: new partnerships and opportunities for public libraries, which will be chaired by Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency. Panelists Andy Wright, Sue Crossley and Bromley-by-Bow Centre Chief Executive Rob Trimble will debate how libraries contribute to healthy communities.

The 2016 Seminar comes at the end of a two year period which saw SCL and public libraries partner with a record number of organisations across many sectors, both on new and existing programmes.

Ciara Eastell, SCL President, said: “We are proud of this year’s programme, Changing Horizons, and we look forward to two days of engaging conversations about how to make libraries more resilient. We have worked hard to build library partnerships across the country and embed the Universal Offers for Public Libraries and that work really shows in the dedication of library staff and eagerness of partners to work with public libraries.”

Roly Keating, Chief Executive, The British Library, said: “With its gathering of dynamic library leaders from across the sector, SCL’s Changing Horizons seminar is the perfect context for the British Library to share its vision for greater openness and collaboration, including our plans for a “Living Knowledge Network” that aims to build on the success of our existing Business & IP Centre partnerships.”

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Libraries, said: Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The library workforce across the country are doing fantastic work in maintaining a strong service and this event shows how passionate staff are about our libraries.  We know more can be done to help the library workforce develop the commercial, digital, marketing and leadership skills that are needed in the sector. That is why the Libraries Taskforce has proposed developing a new Public Library Skills Strategy in its Ambition document, that we have been consulting on with the sector. The strategy is to help ensure the right learning is in place to support existing staff, attract new talent and increase diversity so we can create a library service fit for the future.”

Martyn Evans, Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Public libraries have a real place in our hearts and make a vital contribution to our wellbeing. To continue thriving in a tough funding environment they must forge effective new partnerships, work across sectors and make unusual friends. I am looking forward to the discussions and debates at the SCL conference  on how we can ensure an exciting future for libraries.”

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society, Wellcome Trust, said: ‘Public libraries have a vital role in encouraging new ideas about health. Wellcome is excited to be working with SCL, the Arts Council and others to support innovative projects that use the creative potential of libraries and their users to improve health for everyone.’
Point of Contact:

Elizabeth Elford
SCL Advocacy Manager
+447891 056114
Notes for Editors

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.