In 2019, 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. You can read more about the Regional Support Offer and access training resources here.
In late 2023, we launched the next stage of this project with our new, ambitious Regional Development Programme. Arts Council England has provided a grant of £450,000 over the next three years, with an additional grant of £90,000 from The Combined Regions. The funding has supported Libraries Connected to appoint a new Regional Development Team, and to provide a pot of funding for each region to help kick start strategic projects. The programme will develop the nine regional public library networks into strategic partnerships that can deliver social impacts at scale. These will be funded by investment from national, regional, and sub-regional sources. Each member of the new Regional Development Team will bring specific skills to the role. You can find out more about the team here.
How can we help?
The team's role overall will be focused on supporting the regions in England in getting to the next stage of their development, improving the network’s sustainability and helping libraries deliver at scale for their communities
Regional Development Managers will collaborate with the regional networks to progress their ambitions for future development.
The team will meet regularly with Universal Library Offer leads and Regional Network leads to explore areas for development and has admin support to coordinate its work.
The graphic below shows how the team plans to work towards the final goal of libraries delivering at scale for their communities.