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Libraries Deliver: Ambition sector forums - more information on the workshops

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Libraries Deliver: how we'll achieve this, Taskforce

In my blog on 1 December, I talked about the sector forum events (conferences) we’ll be running in January 2017 on Libraries Deliver: Ambition and the accompanying Action plan. This blog post provides more details on those sector forums and the workshop sessions.

Plan for the day

The events will start with an introductory presentation on Ambition from Kathy Settle before we break up into the first two workshop sessions. There will be 4 sessions over the course of the day; you will be able to sign up to your preferred sessions in the New Year. These will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the Ambition actions and how you can get involved; some will be more about providing information and others will be more interactive.

After lunch, we’ll also be running a Taskforce panel (there will be different Taskforce members participating in these over the 4 events). This will give you an opportunity to ask the Taskforce your burning questions. If you can’t get to the conferences, we’ll also be asking for questions to the panel in advance - we’ll send out more information on how to do this in the next couple of weeks. We’re also looking for ways to share what went on with those who can’t attend and will be capturing as much as possible on the day.

Workshop sessions

At each event, we’ll be running a series of workshops. Our aim is for everyone to get to as many as they can so, depending on demand, we may repeat them during the day. Workshops include:

Mutuals and other alternative delivery models

Jonathan Lindley, Director of the Mutuals Programme at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be covering:

  • the government's approach to Public Service Mutuals for the remainder of this Parliament
  • the big challenges from government’s end of the telescope
  • what are the challenges from your end of the telescope?
  • the Mutuals team’s support offer for libraries in the short and longer-term


Julia Chandler (communications lead for the Taskforce) will focus on the actions which emerge from section 7 of Ambition: Making the case for libraries. She will share the ideas and suggestions the communications sub-group have developed over the last few months. Julia wants to discuss practical issues facing the workforce, and overall challenges around the perception of libraries. This is your chance to help shape our plans and prioritise specific actions.

Libraries core dataset

Charlotte Lane (programme manager for the Taskforce) will be discussing the issues around data collection in libraries and looking for input into the contents of a core dataset for libraries.

Workforce development

Mandy Powell (CILIP) and Alison Wheeler (Suffolk Libraries and SCL) are chairs of the joint CILIP/SCL workforce development steering group. They’ll be sharing a draft of the Public Library Skills Strategy and looking for input and suggestions/comments to help inform the final version.

Designing Libraries in the 21st Century: Lessons for the UK

This session will be run by David Lindley, Director of Designing Libraries, and Gemma John, design researcher at Foster Partners. Gemma has a background in social anthropology. She has recently undertaken a study into the design of new libraries in North America and Europe and how design affects user use and behaviour, through a travelling fellowship awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Fund. This session will include a presentation of individual case studies and the main design principles emerging from her research, and will encourage attendees to discuss and explore approaches that public libraries in England could follow regardless of the size of the project.

How to conduct user (and non-user research)

Cassie Robinson is Director of Strategy & Research at Doteveryone. She also works with Coop Digital, is the co-founder of Tech For Good Global and a Director of Point People. She’ll be talking about the library user research she conducted in Brighton, London and Manchester, her experience of doing user research and service design in and outside government and the ways in which library staff could use this in their practice.

The details of further workshops are being finalised and will be shared with the booking form in the new year.

Who can attend?

The sector forums are open to everyone with an interest in libraries, but are particularly aimed at all the library workforce and local council members and officials. They are free to attend.

When and where are they?

Events can be booked via eventbrite. We’re holding them across England:

Four photos showing different library buildings
Photo collage, clockwise from top left: Newcastle library (photo credit Julia Chandler/Libraries Taskforce), Whitechapel Idea Store (photo credit Tower Hamlets libraries), Library of Birmingham (photo credit Julia Chandler/Libraries Taskforce),M Shed, Bristol (photo credit flickr user Zak Mensah)

The events will run from 10.30 to 16.30, with registration and refreshments available from 10.00. Lunch will be provided.

How do I book?

To book your ticket, please visit our page on eventbrite. Bookings are on a first come, first served basis.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Tim Coates posted on

    It's so disappointing that after all the figures and the national comment there is nothing at all in these plans about improvement in the quality and quantity of collections of reading material in public libraries.