Libraries Connected today launches their refreshed Universal Library Offers, which demonstrate work that every public library service does to enrich the lives of individuals and their communities. The four revised offers are:
- Digital and Information
- Culture and Creativity
- Health and Wellbeing.
The four offers were announced after an eight-month independent review, carried out by Shared Intelligence. This involved extensive discussion with heads of service, library staff, funders and other key stakeholders.
The review confirmed that the Universal Offers have been welcomed by libraries and funders over the last six years. They have provided a powerful strategic tool to demonstrate the core impacts libraries make, and have supported partnership development and funding applications. They have also created a valuable 'store-cupboard' of practical tools and guidance to help staff to deliver high quality events and activities to the public.
Over the years, the offers have grown organically and the review has now streamlined them into a simplified structure. A range of planning tools will help library services show how their activities link to the strategic outcomes of their councils, funders and other key stakeholders.
The review was also a timely opportunity for the library sector to discuss the unique impact it makes on people’s lives and confirmed that reading remains at the core of all libraries’ work.
Mark Freeman, President of Libraries Connected said:
‘The Universal Offers are central to the support that Libraries Connected offers to libraries across the country. This review gives us the opportunity to clarify and strengthen this support to ensure that libraries can clearly articulate their services and demonstrate their impact.’
The Universal Offers were originally launched in 2013 to demonstrate the power of public libraries to enrich the lives of individuals and their communities. Led by public library practitioners, they grew incrementally to cover the six areas then considered essential for a library service to deliver: Culture, Digital, Health, Information, Learning and Reading.
Libraries Connected wanted to understand how the Universal Offers were being used by libraries and how they could be developed further to continue to provide a positive picture of what public libraries offer. They will now be working with library staff in preparation for the transition to the new framework in April 2020. Libraries Connected is very grateful to the time library staff and stakeholders gave to the consultation, and the depth and breadth of the ensuing discussions.
The Universal Offer review was carried out by Shared Intelligence and ran from October 2018 to June 2019. The research included a literature review, online surveys and workshops with heads of service and library staff and interviews with key stakeholders. The review was conducted as part of our work as a Sector Support Organisation, and funded by the Arts Council.