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Libraries Connected Business Plan 2019-20

Libraries Connected believes in the power of libraries to change lives.

Our vision is an inclusive, modern, sustainable and high-quality public library service at the heart of every community in the UK.

Made by our members, we represent all the public library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We work to promote the value of libraries, broker national partnerships, share best practice and drive innovation in the sector.

We support libraries as they continue to:

Evolve to meet new patterns of use
Offer different experiences to meet varied needs
Pioneer new operating and funding models.

Our new business plan delivers a range of activities under our five strategic objectives:

‘At present footfall and issues are the only way we have of measuring performance and these are not very ‘energetic’ measures. [Accreditation] could be a new way to measure how far libraries are thriving.’ Scoping study towards a blueprint for public library development and sustainability, final report , 2019.

1. Public libraries are relevant, well-used services at the heart of communities

We will:

Launch the revised Universal Offer framework with an action plan for how they will be implemented and developed
Consult on the development of an accreditation scheme for libraries to help highlight achievement and support improvement in the sector
Establish a Creative Case for Diversity strategy for ourselves and the library sector
Audit existing outcomes frameworks for public libraries to inform design of a single version.
‘There is always a need for health, academic, social and cultural support.’ All staff survey, Universal Offer review, 2019

2. Public library services are responsive and able to adapt to new opportunities and challenges

We will:

Support national rollouts of new services through the Universal Offers, including a major reader development campaign
Establish a viable commercial strategy with a focus on national contracts and developing the income generation capacities of libraries
Continue to support the British Library’s single digital presence.
‘The spectrum of experience among heads of service is widening with many new leaders and different Continuing Professional Development needs.’ Regional Support Offer: Business Case, 2019.

3. The public library leadership and workforce has access to the skills and information they need

We will:

Deliver the Public Library Skills Strategy to foster a skilled and diverse workforce, supported by a new Programme Board
Submit a funding bid for the Transforming Leadership programme to deliver a whole-service approach to leadership and workforce diversity
Deliver our national mentoring programme for members in partnership with the British Library
Create a leaders’ network, based on the successful Innovation Network model
Deliver a series of peer-led seminars to member services and develop the AGM as a learning event
‘I believe that the library offers have been valuable over the past five years in assisting my service, and libraries across the country, in developing a clear message about our services. They have been vital to us in developing our library strategy and communicating that effectively to our councillors, the general public and partners.’ Heads of service survey, Universal Offer review, 2019.

4. The core offer of public libraries is understood by stakeholders, partners and funders

We will:

Develop and deliver an advocacy strategy for communicating the public library offer.
Deliver a proactive stakeholder engagement process around the new Universal Offer framework
Deliver a series of advocacy workshops to member services
Manage the Learning Pool platform to increase its reach and use by library workers.
‘Libraries reach the most diverse and extensive audience of any sector within the ACE portfolio. However, in the face of a decades of cuts, they need strategic support to ensure that all library services can position themselves politically within local government and have the tools to manage transformation and change.’ Regional Support Offer: Business Case, 2019

5. Libraries Connected is a strong organisation which supports the wider sustainability of the sector

We will:

Publish the Blueprint scoping study, to identify how national and regional developments can create a positive operating environment for local library services
Publish the business case for support for individual and regional library services and to develop the capacity of our regional networks
Develop a strengthened membership offer for Wales and NI
Lead or partner on at least three separate bids to bring new funding into the sector
Develop partnership work with library NPOs to support and develop work in the wider sector.

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