The last few weeks since we launched our Universal Offers have been creative and busy. Creative because we have had a deluge of ideas from library customers and stakeholders about rolling the offers out in their libraries. Busy, because I have been traveling around the country meeting with people to discuss what else we can do to improve and sustain the public library service.
Last week Tony Durcan and I met with Ed Vaizey, and then I met with Yinnon Ezra, Dan Jarvis and the LGA. But the highlight of my week was chairing a round table attended by Carnegie UK Trust, ACE, The Wolfson Foundation, LGA, CILIP, The Reading Agency and DCMS. Our goal was to share key findings emerging from ‘Envisioning’, the Universal Offers and the Carnegie UK Trust which was published last year and to identify the shared priorities which are emerging.
I think we did that and more.
We agreed that now, more than ever, strategic advocacy is required for “future proofing” the public library service. This means we have to evidence to national and local policy makers what we are doing in public libraries and the difference that we are making to our communities.
We agreed that we needed to consider how we could attract additional funding into libraries and agreed that as a group we would scope some ideas / project outlines which we could then discuss with Carnegie and Wolfson with the potential to draw in additional funding.
It was an exciting and challenging meeting and we certainly did not have all the answers but we agreed to keep working together to build both a robust evidence base and also scope some projects which may attract some of the additional funding