Libraries Connected and CILIP publish new roadmap for future library development

September 26, 2019

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A new blueprint for an integrated and improved framework for supporting public libraries in England has been published today.

Libraries Connected and CILIP produced the blueprint report in the response to growing pressures faced by public libraries in England. The report details seven key strands of work that will lead to long-term and co-ordinated improvements in the structural support for the sector. Work on some of these has already begun (as indicated):

  • Nationally organised and funded infrastructure and creative programmes
  • National standards and accreditation to help define a quality service (currently being explored by Libraries Connected)
  • Nationally co-ordinated monitoring and evaluation (currently being explored by DCMS)
  • National digital public library service (led by British Library)
  • Regional development and support programme (led by Libraries Connected)
  • Nationally co-ordinated workforce development (led by Libraries Connected and CILIP)
  • Support for local authorities to explore new governance and delivery models for public libraries.

The research, funded by the Carnegie UK Trust, explored different options and identified priorities for action. The aim is to improve the structural support for public libraries to ensure a confident and dynamic library network.

The study found little appetite in library leadership, local or central government for a radical change to how public libraries are delivered. Instead, these seven areas were identified as addressing the most urgent issues faced by public libraries.

Libraries Connected and CILIP believe that each of the above elements will only be successful as part of a coherent programme. They will now work together closely, with Library Taskforce partners, to provide a clear plan to deliver this national, coordinated programme of support for libraries.

Mark Freeman, President, Libraries Connected said:
‘One of the strengths of our public libraries is that they are locally delivered and responsive to local need. The blueprint report rightly uncovers many of the areas that libraries are currently getting right and highlights the key pieces of work that would give them the extra support to deliver the services that their communities need.’

Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP said:
‘A library is never ‘finished’. Our services are in a continuous process of evolution to meet the changing needs of the people and communities we serve. The blueprint report sets an ambitious roadmap for a brighter, more relevant future for our public libraries. We fully intend to work together with partners to help deliver this future.’

Sarah Davidson, Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust said:
‘Public libraries address some of society’s biggest problems, including loneliness and inequality. This report shows how those working at a national level in England can align their efforts and energy to secure a sustainable network of public libraries for the benefit of future generations.’