Learning Offer 2017-05-22T11:13:04+00:00

Libraries are there for you throughout your learning journey because they are in your local area and they are open and accessible to all.

Is a strategic planning framework which allows public library services to plan, develop and promote their role and contribution to lifelong-learning.

The Universal Learning Offer is supported by over 90% of libraries across England which have all signed up for the first time ever to provide:

  • Free resources for study and learning, such as online resources and courses, text books and reference books
  • Study/learning spaces for children, young people and adults in the library service
  • Information about a range of free and low cost learning opportunities local to you, such as courses and study groups
  • Opportunities for you to explore and be creative, including workshops, regular groups and/or special events for children, young people and families
  • Places where communities and individuals can develop and share ideas and learn together

You can find out more about this offer and the impact of learning in libraries in this brochure and in “Lightbulb Moments” four short films about learning in libraries:


The Universal Learning Offer in public libraries has been developed so that children, young people and families will be able to build their confidence and skill with their creativity, coding and digital skills. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) agenda will be supported across a broader community setting, in libraries, with support and help for beginners by enthusiasts and experts.

This offer will give families more opportunities to learn together, on a variety of subjects, and helped to move through from literacy to fluency. People will grow new skills, find more job opportunities and stimulating experiences in their local area, in a friendly and welcoming environment.

The development and roll out of this offer has been funded and supported by the Arts Council England and is informed by a programme of research undertaken by Red Quadrant for the Society of Chief Librarians in early 2015, which can be found here.

Above and beyond this Universal Learning Offer there are many examples of innovative and exciting practice in public libraries across the country and a real appetite to develop libraries’ learning offer further. In response to this, we are working with a range of partners to deliver and develop the new learning offer including:

  • Working with the Publishers Licensing Society on the Access to Research project. Over 90% of library services have signed up to provide the public with free access to millions of academic research articles
  • We have signed a partnership agreement with the BBC to support their Make It Digital campaign
  • We have signed a partnership agreement with FutureLearn to explore the development of Massive Open Online Courses in libraries

Here are just two development projects for public library services we have already started:

Code Green: Digital Making Kit

In response to huge demand from library services across the country, we have collaborated with the Association of Schools and Children’s Librarians to develop and launch Code Green: Digital Making Kit a ‘how to’ guide for libraries who wish to develop digital making services for children and young people.

The ‘How to’ guide contains ideas about the kinds of activities that libraries could offer including coding clubs, robotics workshops, Raspberry Pi Jams and much more.

It will give information about the resources library services will need to offer them and case study examples of library services that have already successfully developed digital making services and the difference it has made to them and for the children and young people they serve.

MOOCs in Libraries

MOOCs offer people who are not in higher education courses the opportunity to study bite-sized, high quality university-level courses within their own communities. They also offer libraries the opportunity to support individual and community learning through the learning resources already available through the Universal Learning Offer.

Society of Chief Librarians partnered with FutureLearn to pilot MOOC study services in six public libraries across England over the course of autumn 2015. Each library service trialled a different model of supporting members of the public to benefit from MOOCs. As a result of these pilots, a guide to supporting MOOCs in libraries was developed. It provides ideas and tips for how to incorporate MOOCs into the library offer based on what we found out from trialling different approaches in the pilots. Questions about MOOCs answered

Getting libraries ready for the BBC Micro:bit

The Society of Chief Librarians has commissioned a set of resources to help public libraries plan for the launch of the BBC Micro:bit and make the most of the opportunities it presents for engagement with schools and for developing their digital making offer.

Getting started with Micro:bit

We have asked 2.Timesdo to develop a set of worksheets to give libraries starter ideas for BBC Micro:bit workshops.



More ideas can be found here: – BBC Make It Digital

Integrating the Micro:bit into libraries

Building relationships with schools through BBC Micro:bit

The launch of the BBC Micro:bit provides a great opportunity for libraries to alert schools to their digital making offer and strengthen partnerships by supporting them to integrate Micro:bits into the curriculum. We have drafted some Schools Engagement Strategies for public libraries to use so that they can make the most of this great opportunity

Digital Making School Engagement Strategies

Coding the Micro:bit

Access to Research

Access to Research: Partnership between publishers and libraries to open up access to academic research materials in libraries. Full information and search here: http://www.accesstoresearch.org.uk

NEWS: Access to Research Extended Indefinitely by Partners Access to Research given green light to continue 08.01.16

Final Report on Access to Research Pilot: Access to Research – final report Oct 2015

Access To Research promotion
With regards promoting Access To Research, the shift is now moving to individual libraries and local authorities promoting the service and its benefits to users.

Here is some useful information to use as a starting point:

– PDF Poster to promote Access to Research Access to Research A4poster Jan 16

– Flyer to download Access to Research A5 Flyer Nov 15

– Information source more about the initiative: visit the microsite

Here are some resources used at the training workshop:

Good Practice Checklist

Access to Research Crib Sheet

Access to research Quiz

– #AccessToResearch has been set up to promote the initiative; feel free to tweet and share your progress

– Press about Access To Research: BBCUK News 24Digital News DailyBook TradePublic Libraries NewsThe Library Campaign, and JISC – among others

– Learned Publishing journal article – about Access To Research, published April 2014 – read here

Do you have any ideas for press or how you would like to promote Access To Research in your library? Please get in touch with us here.