Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Arts Council England announces commitment to library development

[This is the text of a press release from the Arts Council England, Yorkshire]

On 5 August 2011, we signalled our commitment to the continuation of the Future Libraries programme, in partnership with the Local Government Group (LGG) and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The first phase of the Future Libraries Programme has now concluded, with the Local Government Group and MLA publishing the lessons learned on Saturday 6th August. The Arts Council will build on the achievements of this first phase and continue with the partnership approach for Future Libraries 2, a two-stage programme that will run from autumn 2011 to the end of March 2013.

The first stage of Future Libraries 2 will be delivered by the Local Government Group, and will share ideas, learning and best practice from the original programme through seminars and the development of expert guidance. The Arts Council will deliver the second stage of Future Libraries 2, which will focus on long-term goals, strengthening the sector encouraging partnerships and innovation at a local level. We will announce further details in September.

While the Arts Council will not be responsible for providing or funding library services, we will play a significant role in supporting and developing the libraries sector. We see our role as developing the cultural richness and potential of libraries. We would like to facilitate the formation of new partnerships and develop innovative approaches, to enable a stronger 21st century library service for communities across England.

Continuing discussions with the libraries sector, new in-house expertise and a national overview will enable the Arts Council to draw an accurate picture of the challenges and opportunities for libraries, and be in a unique position to help drive national cultural policy.

We will work with partners to promote reading, encouraging people of all ages to experience and enjoy it through festivals, reading challenges and groups, author events, and other initiatives. Digital technology will be harnessed, enabling many more people and communities to access and appreciate reading and create the content themselves.

This is a challenging time for libraries, as it is for many different kinds of cultural institutions across the country. Through working collaboratively with museums and arts we believe exciting opportunities will open up for libraries to build on the important role they play in our communities.

Relationship Manager, Libraries
The position of Relationship Manager, Libraries, in the Yorkshire Office is currently being advertised on our website, with a closing date of 22 August 2011. Further information can be found here:
Please feel free to disseminate details of the vacancy to any relevant networks.

Companion to Achieving Great Art for Everyone
In September the Arts Council will also publish a companion document to Achieving Great Art for Everyone, our 10 year framework for the arts, on how we will interpret our strategic goals for museums and libraries between 2012 and 2015. This will also outline the benefits and opportunities we believe exist for all our stakeholders as a result of our wider cultural role. This will build upon the publication of Estelle Morris’ review on how the Arts Council could best approach our extended remit.

We have further work to do ahead of taking on these functions and will continue to engage with you and the wider museums and libraries sector as we look to adjust the Arts Council’s goals to reflect their needs and priorities. An informal consultation on the longer term focus beyond 2015 will be launched in the autumn to ensure a wide range of views are heard about how best to reflect the long-term ambitions of all the sectors that the Arts Council now represents.

I hope that you find this information useful, please do not hesitate to contact Cluny or myself if you have any other queries.

Kind regards,

Abi Cattley
Assistant to the Regional Director
Arts Council England, Yorkshire
Email: abigail.cattley@artscouncil.org.uk
Direct line: 01924 486225
Fax: 01924 466522
Textphone: 01924 438 585

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