Libraries and shared priorities

Library resources can make a considerable contribution in aiding councils to fulfil their shared priority goals.

Creating safer communities

Libraries provide a safe, neutral space for the sharing of information and for community groups to meet. Libraries also organise activities that bring together sections of the community: for example, reader development, partnership with the youth service, and a wide range of activities for young people in the evenings and during the holidays.

Improving quality of life

Libraries provide vital resources in a safe environment for sections of society that are often excluded or at risk. For example, visual arts activities for people with learning difficulties or, through partnerships with the youth service, opportunities for children excluded from formal education. The inclusion of older people in the community is also promoted through the provision of safe community space to meet, 'silver surfer' clubs and housebound services.

For some members of the community, the library is the only access point to information and communication technology (ICT) facilities and tuition. This can include specialist learning software for adults with learning difficulties and facilities for people with visual impairments. Such provision takes on greater importance as councils increasingly move towards e-government and, with e-voting methods growing in popularity, as a measure to ensure democracy is open to all.

Raising school standards

Libraries play an important part in supporting the formal education system with projects such as homework clubs, dedicated study areas and reader development schemes. For example, the summer holiday reading challenge.

These projects ensure that pupils have equality of access to resources and information - a particularly important issue for excluded pupils and their tutors - as well as contributing to INSET training for staff and the provision of school library services.

Economic vitality

The provision of information about local educational, employment opportunities, benefits, welfare, rights, family credit and tax have traditionally been within the remit of libraries but there are many other ways in which libraries can contribute to economic vitality. These include:

  • Provision of adult basic skills and neutral space for independent study
  • Lifelong learning partnerships
  • Engendering a sense of place or community identity
  • Mobile libraries and outreach work; jobcentre plus kiosks.

There is huge potential in providing business information and many library services have formed partnerships with business advisory services. New or refurbished libraries can be the catalyst for culture-led regeneration.

See also:

Framework for the Future MLA Action Plan for Public Libraries – towards 2013 (PDF, 7 pages, 70KB)


23 July 2015

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