A new support model for public libraries has been announced today that will be a game changer in how they face future challenges. The new model mixes targeted national and regional support and promotes collaboration between library services.
The business case for investment was commissioned by Libraries Connected and funded by Arts Council England to help library services to position themselves politically within local government and to make sure that they have the tools to manage transformation and generate income.
The report highlights five elements that will deliver effective strategic support to libraries:
- A national programme manager and regional engagement team to broker support and improve collaboration between services
- A national subject expertise bank to provide specialist advice on topics such as service transformation, income generation and mentoring
- An online ‘Library library’ that shares evidence and advice and has tools to help manage transformation and innovation locally
- An ‘engine for evidence’ to pilot standards for new library standards and commission research on the impact of services
- An advocacy campaign to highlight the contribution of libraries to local priorities and communities.
Mark Freeman, President, Libraries Connected:
‘This comprehensive model for regional support has been the missing part of the puzzle for too long. Through this programme, Libraries Connected will be able to deliver strategic support at a local and regional level that will help libraries to meet the structural challenges they face.’
Sue Williamson, Director Libraries, Arts Council England:
‘As the development agency for libraries, the Arts Council welcomes this development and looks forward to seeing the resulting benefits for the library sector.’
Libraries Connected will now work with Activist Group, who produced the report, and library services to pilot the first two elements; the regional network programme and the expert bank. These pilots are funded by Libraries Taskforce and will run until March 2020.