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Need some advice? Want to know what others are doing? Try our new Toolkit....

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Good practice, Taskforce

In her blog of 12 October 2015, Sharon Kirkpatrick, one of our secondees, talked about her work to develop a package of material for local authority chief executives and library portfolio holders.

I'm very pleased that we have launched a 'beta' version of this new Toolkit today. The Toolkit has been developed based on the user needs identified during our earlier research and

  • emphasises how libraries are trusted spaces, free to enter and open to all
  • describes the role of libraries as places people can explore and share reading, information, knowledge and culture
  • shows how local authority priorities are supported and delivered by libraries
  • provides information on alternative governance models
  • introduces ideas on smarter ways of working.

The Toolkit also includes many case studies, sharing good practice from across the country.

Screenshot of Libraries Shaping the Future Toolkit
Screenshot of Libraries Shaping the Future Toolkit

None of this would have been possible without the hard work of Sharon (who led the project and wrote much of the content), Charlotte Lane and Julia Chandler (who turned it into the web document you can see today), DCMS and Sue Charteris (for the accompanying guidance describing the statutory nature of library services), all the Taskforce members (for inputting to and commenting on the draft document), and to everyone who contributed to the case study collection. I thank you all for your time, for sharing your knowledge so generously, and for your patience.

I described this Toolkit as a 'beta' version - a very helpful concept that we used frequently in my days in the Government Digital Service. It describes a product that is still in development - a few people have reviewed it and provided feedback, but now we want to open it up to a wider group of users to gather their views.

During this beta phase, we will be continually testing and improving the Toolkit. We know it isn't perfect (just to manage expectations, it probably never will be...), and there is lots of material that we could include that isn't in there yet. That's where you come in...

If you think there is something we've missed or improvements we can make or other case studies we could add, please tell us!  We would really welcome your feedback. You can provide feedback online (use the feedback button at the bottom of any page) or by emailing us at

We will do a formal 'live' launch of the Toolkit in the new year so expect to see more communications then.

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