National charity The Reading Agency and the Publishers Association have together won an EDGE 2103 Award for their ground-breaking digital skills sharing project, which brought six teams of publishers and librarians from around the country together to address the urgent need for public libraries to embrace new technologies in order to take their vital support for readers online.
The ten-month project, which saw the six teams working together on new digital approaches, became the joint winner of the EDGE 2013 Virtual/Digital Award at a special ceremony held in Edinburgh on 28 February 2013. EDGE 2013 highlights and rewards good practice in innovative library and information projects, recognising positive achievements and promoting outstanding library based initiatives which celebrate the value of libraries.
The new resources and skills gained from this award-winning digital skills sharing project will enable library authorities across the country to benefit from publisher expertise in the creation and strengthening of libraries' digital marketing. The project - which was funded by the Arts Council England Library Development Initiative - has been overseen by The Publishers Association and The Reading Agency, and drew on the support of the charity's Reading Partners consortium which brings publishers and library services together to create successful and exciting events and activities for readers. Please see 'Notes to editors' for full details of all the publishers and library services involved in this project. Further background information may be found at: http://readingagency.org.uk/digitalskills/
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association says: "We are delighted to have won the EDGE 2013 Award, and to have led and been part of this digital skills sharing project. Through this programme, publishers have gained an improved understanding of the vital role that libraries can play in reaching new readers in the digital age. We look forward to continuing this collaboration."
Sandeep Mahal, who leads The Reading Agency's Reading Partners work, says: "In the current fast-changing climate we have shown how libraries, with support from their publishing partners, can be innovative and successful during a challenging time for the sector. We're delighted to have won this EDGE Award: the digital skills sharing project has been an important catalyst for library staff to develop their skills and to engage with users in new ways via digital platforms. Its positive, practical collaboration to build new audiences for reading has been both imaginative and ambitious, and we are particularly grateful to our publisher partners for their continuing support."
The EDGE 2013 Virtual/Digital Award award was sponsored by BT Scotland. Joint winner with The Reading Agency and The Publishers Association was the Scottish Poetry Library, for its website work.
A full, final report on the digital sills sharing project will be available shortly.
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Notes to editors:
- EDGE 2013 Awards
For more information, please visit: http://edgeconference.co.uk/awards/
- Digital Skills Sharing Programme
The Publishers Association and The Reading Agency's innovative Digital Skills Sharing Programme was launched on 30 April 2012 and aimed to provide library services with new digital skills and the confidence to innovate. The overarching goal was to help librarians develop and enhance digital skills, enabling the library sector to amplify its work with existing audiences and develop new audiences in diverse ways, appropriate to a 21st century library service.
The project was funded by Arts Council England, as part of its Library Development Initiative. It has been delivered through the Reading Partners library/publisher consortium, which is run by independent charity The Reading Agency and involves 40 publishers and the whole UK library network, in creating successful and exciting events and activities for readers, has brokered this project. It responds to 2011 research which showed that only 3% of library services have a digital strategy, and that 64% of library authorities want help with using digital media to develop their reading offer. Six exemplar skills sharing teams were established:
• Gloucestershire was teamed up with Bloomsbury, Granta and Profile
• Halton and Lancashire were with Raintree and Faber & Faber
• Leeds and Wakefield were with the Random House Group
• South Tyneside were with Pan Macmillan, Headline and Canongate
• Nottinghamshire were with Penguin and Hotkey Books
• Tri-borough London (Westminster; Kensington and Chelsea; Hammersmith and Fulham) were with Little, Brown and Hodder
- The Publishers Association the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership comprises 113 companies from across the trade, academic and education sectors. Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover. www.publishers.org.uk.
- The Reading Agency is the independent charity running creative programmes which help people feel inspired and confident about reading. It is funded by the Arts Council, and has a formal partnership with public library services. www.readingagency.org.uk
- Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
Libraries Development Initiative
Arts Council England announced the Libraries Development Initiative fund in November of 2011, aiming to "create vibrant, sustainable 21st century library services". 13 projects have been selected by the Arts Council, awarding a total of £230,000, including the digital skills sharing initiative from The Publishers Association and The Reading Agency.
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