We champion public libraries in the UK because they give everyone an equal chance to become a reader.
Our programmes are delivered in partnership with the 4,134 public libraries (including mobile libraries) in the UK so we can reach right into local communities to get to readers and people who need support to become readers. See also our work with other partners.
What we do to support libraries
Through our programmes, we provide libraries with five creative tools to help get people fired up and excited about reading and change their life and education opportunities for the better.
- Challenges - training and tools to support libraries to run the Summer Reading Challenge and Six Book Challenge.
- Reading groups - an online campaign that promotes library reading groups and training and tools to support libraries to run Chatterbooks reading groups for children.
- Volunteering opportunities - training and support for young people's volunteering programmes through Reading Activists and the Summer Reading Challenge.
- Events - brokering partnerships with publishers and libraries to bring authors and readers together in local libraries and over the internet.
- Promotions - that help libraries highlight big reading events, promote new reading recommendations and give away book prizes
We bring libraries into the partnerships we have with organisations such as workplaces, colleges, businesses and media companies and collaborate on research into effective methods of delivering innovative reading programmes.
New strategy for libraries
In the last ten years libraries have been modernising and evolving, with stunning results. They now offer a lively, social service to encourage reading for pleasure. Most effort has been focused on children's work, and children's book borrowing has risen for the last seven years. 77% of 5 to 10 year-olds now use the library.
There's a big challenge in an age of austerity to keep up this momentum. We're working with the Society of Chief Librarians on a new strategy to cover 2012 to 2015.
Called the Universal Reading Offer, this helps save resources and share the things that work by:
- Prioritising key programmes and partnerships
- Giving libraries a ready made set of tools and easy ways to share information
- Giving libraries access to national partnerships with the BBC, 40 publishers and other organisations
- Creating shared evidence and advocacy resources to show the difference libraries make in their communities.
Download the Universal Reading Offer presentation
Read the FAQs
Download the evidence and advocacy resources
Read the research on the History of Reader Development that outlines how libraries have evolved and changed the reading service in the last 15 years.