Sharon Kirkpatrick and Sue Wills' blog of 12 October highlighted the importance we place in members of the library workforce influencing the work of the Taskforce.
We do this through a number of mechanisms - for example, SCL and CILIP membership of the Taskforce, holding workshops with library staff on key topics, my visits to libraries across the country - but one of the most beneficial is having staff seconded into the Taskforce team, providing challenge and support on a day-to-day basis.
I'm therefore excited to confirm that we have another secondee starting with us from 9 November. Many of you will know Nick Stopforth who, as well as being Head of Libraries and Culture at Doncaster Council, has been leading for SCL for 3 years on their Universal Digital Offer.
Unlike Sharon and Sue whose posts were advertised - and this would usually be our approach to filling secondee positions - Nick has been appointed to support the Taskforce due to his SCL role and his knowledge of all things digital in the library world. I'm unapologetic about this as I know Nick's input and background experience will be invaluable in progressing with the increasing number of strands of our work with a digital element.
Both Ciara Eastell, President of SCL, and I are keen that Nick continues as SCL Digital Lead, so we are jointly sponsoring Nick's secondment. As so much of the work the Taskforce team does is in partnership with others, I think this joint-sponsorship approach really makes sense. And I must send huge thanks again to Arts Council England who are funding all our secondees.
The only downside of Nick's secondment is that there's lots he wants to do and not much time to do it in - I think we can all relate to that! Due to his existing commitments in Doncaster, his time with the Taskforce team each week will be limited. As a result, we will soon be advertising for another secondee to support Nick (and SCL) on the digital agenda (and we might get them to do some work on data too if they have time!). Look out for more details on this opportunity soon.
Anyway, enough from me; over to Nick....
“I’m really delighted to be joining the team and helping to further concentrate on, and accelerate, the many positive digital developments across public libraries. My focus will begin with increasing the pace and extent of our digital programmes, for example:
- developing co-ordinated and innovative digital leadership skills activities in the sector
- increasing the digital pilots taking place in libraries as part of GDS' digital inclusion charter stakeholders’ forum
- building relationships with new digital skills partners, as evidenced by BT's Wifi in Communities pilot and Halifax's Community Bank pilot in Calderdale, which is now being scaled up for nationwide coverage
- supporting colleagues on bidding for public libraries to get onto the Digital Inclusion and Assisted Digital government procurement framework
- continuing the great work which has taken place around the unifying digital platform with Bibliocommons, and which we are now looking to move into a second phase where we develop the platforms leadership and financial models
There are significant opportunities for libraries to demonstrate their value to funders and stakeholders, both in terms of digital resources and digital skills support within our communities, and I am looking forward to supporting the Taskforce in grasping and making the most of these opportunities.”