The Reading Agency and The Publishers Association, at a launch event on the 30th April sponsored by Nielsen, announced the creation of an innovative new digital skills sharing programme. The project will run until January 2013 and aims to provide library services with new digital skills and the confidence to innovate. The overarching aim is 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 C21st library service.
The project is funded by Arts Council England, as part of its Library Development Initiative. It will be delivered through the Reading Partners library/publisher consortium, which is run by The Reading Agency and involves 40 publishers and the whole UK library network. 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 will be established; they will meet each other for the first time at the 30 April event.
- Gloucestershire is teamed up with Bloomsbury, Granta and Profile
- Halton and Lancashire are with HarperCollins, Raintree and Faber
- Leeds and Wakefield are with the Random House Group
- South Tyneside is with Pan Macmillan, Headline and Canongate
- Nottinghamshire is with Penguin and Hotkey Books
- Tri-borough London (Westminster; Kensington and Chelsea; Hammersmith and Fulham) is with Little Brown and Hodder
Their learning and new resources will be shared with all library services through master-classes, webinars and a January conference. This will enable library authorities across the country to benefit from publisher expertise in the creation and strengthening of libraries' digital marketing programmes. It will also create networking and partnership opportunities for library authorities and publishers.
For libraries, the benefits will also include getting a better understanding of how publisher partners can help meet libraries digital skills requirements and gain a broader appreciation of working with arts/culture partners. For publishers, the project will create a new understanding of the importance of libraries and their audiences in the digital era.
Miranda McKearney, DIRECTOR of THE READING AGENCY says:
"Libraries and publishers are living through a period of change which can be exhilarating or terrifying. The people involved in this programme are those who relish the challenge of the change, and are determined to harness the power of the digital explosion to reach new reading audiences. Bringing librarians and publishers together like this will be very powerful."
Richard Mollet, CEO, PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION says:
"We are delighted to be part of the Arts Council's Library Development Initiative through this project, delivered in partnership with The Reading Agency. It provides a fantastic platform for publishers to build on their support for the public library network. The project provides an opportunity for mutual learning and understanding whilst also jointly building on a shared objective of engaging directly with book lovers. Reaching readers through digital marketing is becoming increasingly important and this project will be beneficial to authors and consumers as well as the publishers and library authorities."
Jonathan Nowell, PRESIDENT of NIELSEN BOOK says:
"We are in a hybrid world of reading content through printed books and digital devices. Consumers do one, or the other, or both. This world is evolving rapidly and this initiative will help both publishers and libraries better understand the needs of those consumers. I applaud this progressive work to skill libraries to meet these current and future needs."
Alan Davey, CHIEF EXECUTIVE of ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND says:
"This is one of the successful projects in our Library Development Initiative. They all show a really forward-looking approach; they're imaginative and ambitious and will be immensely helpful in demonstrating to the wider sector the important role the public library can play in our 21st century cultural life."
For further information please contact Mandy Pursey or Jessica Axe at FMCM Associates on 0207 405 7422.