Regional support offer

How do libraries navigate change?

What support can they draw on to ensure they make the best decisions about to deploy scarce resources to deliver good library services?

Last year, Libraries Connected consulted with library services, funders and stakeholders and identified a gap in support at the local and regional level. This meant libraries felt they had to navigate change alone, and were not able to draw on expertise in bodies at the national level or from their regional peer networks.

The consultation confirmed the wealth of expertise in the sector, and the importance of our regional networks as platforms for regional collaboration and peer support.

In response, we have worked with Activist Group to develop a model for support, which we are now piloting and testing thanks to funding from Arts Council England and Libraries Taskforce.

The pilot phase will work with five regional networks and three library services which have been successful in securing support as part of this pilot programme.

The work with regional networks focuses on building their capacity to work as peer networks and to deliver strategic collaborations. We are working with:

  • The North East and Yorkshire and Humber regions to develop their governance models, helping them to operate more efficiently and collaboratively with consistent policies and procedures
  • The North West and Eastern regions in their strategic planning to help them to move to the next stage of collaboration by developing an activity plan and monitoring its progress
  • The London region to progress existing plans for a collaborative project to support homeless and vulnerably housed people with information and advice.

The pilot work with individual library services will test the concept of an 'Expert Bank' where libraries receive targeted support to tackle a specific challenge. We are working with:

  • Leicestershire to strengthen their ability to evidence the contribution of the library service within the council and to partners
  • Haringey to develop new forms of service integration and partnership working
  • Worcestershire to refine an aspect of its transformation programme, such as scoping a review of the network or a new operating model.

The support offer is currently in the pilot phase and we will keep you up to date on the progress of the projects. If the programme proves successful, we will look for funding to extend the offer to other services and to embed it into our core work.