HUGE NEWS !
MARCH 2010 ... a new UK strategic plan for public libraries
Margaret Hodge, Minister for Culture who launched the Public Library Consultation in December 2009 writes in her Introduction: “A vision for Public Libraries”: "...public libraries are not about sitting back and passively waiting for people to borrow your books – they are about active engagement with the community, making links to other public services, and responding to the policy imperatives of the day. Where that happens there is evidence of their transformative impact."
The modernisation review of public libraries:A policy statement (issued to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport,by Command of Her Majesty, March 2010) has 6 Chapters - the titles of which are:
"Chapter 1 – Aim: to drive the quality of all library services up to the level of the best
Chapter 2 – Aim: to reverse the current trend of decline in library usage and grow the numbers using the library service
Chapter 3 – Aim: that the library service is able to respond to limited public resource and economic pressures
Chapter 4 – Aim: to ensure that all libraries respond to a 24/7 culture and to changing expectations of people who want immediate access to information
Chapter 5 – Aim: that all libraries grasp the opportunities presented by digitisation
Chapter 6 – Aim: to demonstrate to citizens, commentators and politicians that libraries are still relevant and vital"
Here are some of the key issues set out in the plan for implementation at the national and local levels:
- Library membership from birth
- people to "have (a) say and get involved in shaping the service (at the local level)"
- "Free access to a range...of book stock to browse and borrow and online resources and information that meet local needs (including e-books as the market grows)"
- Access to the national book collection – any book from anywhere
- Free Internet access for all
- Help to get online
- Links to other public services and opportunities
- Connect(ing) people to other readers through reading groups..."
- Flexible opening hours to suit the needs of the local people
- Commitment to customer service and expert, helpful staff
- A safe local space which is accessible and convenient for the community
- Services which reach out and attract local people
- An opportunity to be a member of all libraries in England