19 May 2016: The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), The Reading Agency and ASCEL have signed a strategic three-year partnership to enhance the public library service in England. Under the partnership agreement, the partners will aim to work together to co-deliver programmes that inspire more people to read, drive innovation and help secure investment needed for new projects.
Working together, the three organisations will plan programmes and initiatives that will have a positive impact on how libraries promote reading, health and wellbeing. The partners will work to develop the shared Universal Reading and Universal Health offers, explore new opportunities for national and local partnerships and help shape the wider library agenda.
The partnership will continue to contribute to the Read On Get On coalition; the BBC's Year of Reading; the development of the reading outcomes framework (led by The Reading Agency and involving a wide range of partners) along with further development and promotion of the Universal Offers.
"Together we can reach more people"
Ciara Eastell, SCL President, said: "Our collaboration with The Reading Agency and with ASCEL has been long and hugely beneficial to libraries. We are pleased that we now have a formal agreement which sets out how we will expand on this partnership and build on the dedicated work that public library staff are doing throughout the country. All three of these organisations are doing fantastic work, and together we can be stronger and reach more people."
Sue Wilkinson, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: "At The Reading Agency our mission is to inspire more people to read more, encourage them to share their love of reading with others and celebrate the difference that reading makes to all our lives. With that ambition you can see why our strong and close partnership with public libraries and with the Society of Chief Librarians is so important to us. Together we work with struggling and confident readers of all ages, developing and delivering reading programmes which last year reached over one million people. We are delighted to have signed this new MOU with the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and to continue our work together for another three years."
Sarah Mears, Chair of ASCEL, said: "ASCEL are delighted to be partners in this strategic MOU. Our work has been significantly enhanced by a close working relationship with the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency. This MOU gives us a strong basis to further develop this work, enabling us to work openly and creatively, seeking innovative ways to support our children, our young people and their families to develop and share a love of reading."
Through its Universal Offers for public libraries, SCL and its partners have developed a core package of partnerships, resources and advocacy messages at a national level which can be delivered locally and shaped to meet differing local needs. Two of these Universal Offers are jointly owned and delivered in partnership with The Reading Agency. The Universal Reading Offer includes the Summer Reading Challenge, which reached over 800,000 children last year in the UK, Eire and abroad via the British Council, while the Universal Health Offer includes Reading Well Books on Prescription, now offered by 97% of library authorities.
The offers provide a positive vision for the future of public libraries; they are a promise to all customers and a commitment to quality provision across these four core areas of our service.
See statistics on library usage in the UK
Read our blog on our work with SCL and the importance of shared reading programmes in libraries