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A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk Public Libraries in the 21 st century: an overview Penny Garrod UKOLN University.

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Presentation on theme: "A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk Public Libraries in the 21 st century: an overview Penny Garrod UKOLN University."— Presentation transcript:

1 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk Public Libraries in the 21 st century: an overview Penny Garrod UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY URL UKOLN is supported by:

2 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 2 Contents 1.Introductions 2.Brainstorming exercise: UK public libraries – where are they now? 3.Historical and political context: from reading matter for the masses to the Peoples Network programme 4.Libraries in transition: implications for staff 5.Examples of innovative services 6.Public Library web sites 7.Conclusions and final discussion.

3 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 3 Some basic statistics and facts 3,187 public libraries in cities, towns, villages serving population of c 49 million people 55-6-% of population use public libraries (rises to 70% for children & elderly people) Adults and children borrow >420 million books & other items (CDs, videos) a year from public libraries Multiple roles: lifelong learning; culture and research; recreation/leisure; deliver government agenda - Access to: learning opportunities; knowledge & information; public services - support for literacy (IT and general literacy); develop reading; provide community space etc…

4 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 4 Historical context: the legislation Public Libraries Act 1850 – harmless and uplifting reading matter for the masses [Paul Morris, Borough Librarian, Bexley ] Public Libraries and Museums Act an act to place the public library service provided by local authorities in England and Wales under the superintendence of the Secretary of State, to make new provision for regulating and improving that service… Chris Smith is current Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) [is this department the most appropriate one for public libraries?]

5 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 5 The modernising agenda The Government is committed to the modernisation of all public services including public libraries 1964 Act contd :Library authorities have a duty to provide: -a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring thereof -an adequate stock of books and other printed matter and media and encouraging adults and children to make full use of the library service to allow access to their libraries to all comers, and their obligation to lend only to those who live or work or study full-time in their areas

6 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 6 Whos responsible for Public libraries Funds come from: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) – John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister But….. DCMS (Dept of Culture, Media and Sport) have overall responsibility for PLs Dept for Education and Skills also have an interest (Lifelong Learning remit of PLs) Public library service is statutory – it has been argued that they should therefore be supported by adequate public spending e.g. through allocation of funds at Government Spending Review as fundamental to government agenda re exploiting benefits of ICT…

7 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 7 Role of DCMS & Re:source 1998 libraries required to produce Annual Library Plans 2001 standards introduced to improve library services public libraries role is to tackle social exclusion standards for opening hours, location etc. Enabling electronic access; number of electronic work stations & visits to website [PLS 5,6 &10] Resource – created by DCMS in to provide strategic leadership for museums, archives and libraries communities. [replaced Libraries and Information Commission and Museums & Galleries Commission]

8 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 8 Role of DCMS continued DCMS (Feb) 2003: Framework for the Future: Libraries, Learning and Information in the Next Decade Sets out the Governments vision for public library service based on extensive consultation with key stakeholders Three key areas of activity outlined: 1.Promotion of reading and informal learning 2.Access to digital skills and services including e- government 3.Measures to tackle social exclusion, build community identity and develop citizenship

9 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 9 The Peoples Network: library as physical space and cyberspace £100 million from New Opportunities Fund (Lottery) to create 4000 ICT learning centres with broadband access to Internet, etc. by end 2002 £20 million (NOF) to train library staff in computer literacy (ECDL) and learner support by April 2004 £50 million for NOF- digitise programme to create > 1 million digital learning objects via websites Bill & Melinda Gates foundation provided £2.6 million for ICT learning centres in some of most deprived communities in UK

10 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 10 ICT : public libraries in transition Traditional services: book lending; quiet safe space to use print materials Versus: ICT and e-everything: Peoples Network: street corner universities; one stop shops for local/national govt info & e-services; community centres: homework clubs, adaptive technology for disabled people; services for socially excluded people Greater collaboration:council departments; schools and colleges; museums & archives; private sector E-Government: Electronic Service Delivery by 2005 Regional agenda: formation of regional councils for museums, libraries and archives e.g. SWMLAC Content building: digitisation progs; portal & website development

11 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 11 Implications for staff & managers Staff must: gain ICT skills very quickly be positive about new electronic services whilst traditional services be able to cope with constant change Offer IT support to users; adopt educational role able to handle complaints Managers need: to be able to manage change effectively broad skills mix leadership qualities negotiating skills: partnership working /collaboration Project management experience Strategic out of box thinkers Advocacy role Identify champions of libraries; influence the movers and shakers

12 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 12 What do others think? Audit commission: Building better library services (May 2002) -criticises councils and library services for decline in use + neglect of core services e.g. spending on book stock (down a third since 1992/3), stock biased towards older people, unlikely to find bestsellers etc. -Recommends: making services easier and pleasanter to use – libraries should be more like bookshops Peter Brophy (2003)The Peoples Network: a turning point for libraries - first findings (Resource) -paints rosy picture but acknowledges impact of ICT on core services such as book lending and information services -Acknowledges Audit Commission findings but sees Peoples Network as turning point producing real results.

13 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 13 Examples of good practice Co-East : A consortium of 10 library authorities located in the East of England: Innovative services e.g. Ask a Librarian (virtual reference) Familia: web directory of family history resources ebooks project: May – Dec 2003 LearnEast – support for lifelong learning Source-East – regional professional portal development

14 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 14 Examples of good practice contd London Borough of Richmond upon Thames: New ebooks service: Adaptive technologies for disabled people Suffolk Cyberlibrary html html Virtual booktrolley – readers reviews etc. Web for children Citizens Web and Business Web Look at the Beacon library services (Update May 2002)

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18 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 18 Web sites: the library shop window Promote new services e.g. ebooks; childrens websites/clubs etc. Clear and consistent navigation; plain English (no library jargon) Marketing/advocacy tool for library users and local authority+ local and national politicians Need to meet requirements of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines (WCAG) E-government: Electronic Service Delivery etc. Guidelines for government websites – local authorities must comply User-testing and feedback essential –hard to get right

19 A centre of expertise in digital information managementwww.ukoln.ac.uk 19 Conclusions Libraries in transitional period – undergoing radical change Pushed in many directions: tough decisions to be made Central to government agenda – opportunity to sink or swim Need politically astute and multi-skilled staff who can manage change and exploit ICT Funding and sustainability of ICT – ongoing issues Examples of good practice – but what about the rest? - this links to funding and profile of library services within individual local authorities.


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