Libraries Connected has been awarded £75,000 from the Arts Council to explore the support required by our regional networks. The project will focus on identifying how existing regional structures can be developed to make best use of the skills, expertise and capacity within the sector.
Individual library services are often faced with daunting challenges when they need to respond to change and opportunity. Service leaders rarely have time to take advantage of the general resources on offer and need to access impartial, specific advice and support.
While Libraries Connected is funded as a Sector Support Organisation, their resources are largely directed towards national work. Providing support at a local and regional level will be a step change in delivering impactful sector development to help libraries to meet the structural challenges they face.
Activist Group will lead on the first stage of the project, consulting with key stakeholders to build a business case and proposal for a future regional support offer. The project will also have a reference group made up of heads of service and senior managers.
Mark Freeman, President, Libraries Connected:
‘This award is a vital move towards filling the gap in regional support and advocacy. By building the capacity of our regional networks, we can make the most of the skills and expertise of our members to strengthen the entire sector.’
Sue Williamson, Director Libraries, Arts Council England:
‘The Arts Council recognises the challenges that library services are facing in the current climate. We are happy to support an approach to identify the best ways of formulating a response through the work of our first Library Sector Support Organisation, Libraries Connected.’
The project will also provide an independent facilitator to work with each regional structure over a period of six months to identify its existing skills, expertise and capacity, and to create a clear set of shared objectives focusing on initiatives that cannot be easily achieved by individual services acting alone.