Reading in the UK is changing dramatically. New digital platforms are transforming the ways in which people discover their reading and connect with other readers.
Research carried out by The Reading Agency in 2011 showed that only 3% of library services have a digital media/reading strategy, 64% of library authorities want help with using digital media to develop their reading offer and that insufficient staff expertise is a big problem.
The research also showed that publishers produce a wealth of digital marketing assets (author videos, podcasts, images, reading group guides, trailers, widgets, Skype events) which they want to disperse more effectively and that libraries want digital content (for readers, websites/blogs, catalogues, plasma screens) and a way of accessing it in an easy, flexible and open way.
Digital Skills Sharing
The Digital Skills Sharing project, which is being run by The Reading Agency and the Publishers Association, and is funded by Arts Council England' Libraries Development Initiative. a direct response to the research. It aims to:
- Create a sustainable framework in which publishers use their digital skills and resources to support libraries to strengthen their reading offer to the public through exemplar use of online platforms and social media
- Expose library staff to the creative and cutting edge thinking extant in publishing and expose publishing staff to the inspiring audience engagement and community work done by libraries
- Enhance how the reading service is marketed effectively to the public, showcase libraries' potential to deliver social change and position them as the place for community reading experiences, open up new opportunities for publishers to connect with audiences.
The project runs from April 2012 to March 2013. It brings together six teams of librarians and publishers to work together on a specific reading campaign using a wide range of digital resources and digital communications methods.
The project is supported with a programme of masterclasses, creative and 'best practice' examples for using online tools and social media.
For more information about the Digital Skills Sharing project contact Sandeep Mahal.
Getting content to readers - the digital bucket
The Digital Bucket project, funded by Arts Council England's Library Development Initiative, is being run by The Reading Agency and Studiolift in partnership with a digital marketing group made up of publishers and librarians. The project is exploring how publisher's digital marketing assets can be distributed through public library networks and reading groups to reach more readers and develop and build new audiences for reading.
The project will involve:
- Researching and developing a working proposition ready for a sustainable, flexible and open platform for publishers to share digital marketing assets with libraries to be built and implemented
- Exploring what content is available for adult, children's and young people's audiences and how it can be pushed through library and reading group distribution channels
- Research and investigation into creating a taxonomy and schema for digital assets which any system will build on top of.
- Developing the schema from researching, auditing and analysing what types and formats of assets are held by third parties and establishing the end use of the distribution channel from a sector, consumer and developer perspective.
- Planning the API and what the distribution channel will look like (eg: open source API, central repository, built into existing platform, listing framework with information on asset use) from a sector, consumer and developer perspective.
- Scoping and developing a viable funding model and fundraising strategy and building strategic partnerships
During the project development we will run three innovation events focused on bringing together publishers, librarians, digital developers, writers and the wider arts/cultural sectors will take place to inform delivery and the key areas of investigation: content, data and marketing.
If you are interested in being involved in the project or would like more information contact Ruth Harrison.