Plan to create libraries of the future
Published: 6th Aug 2011 01:41:28
Libraries in England could share their premises with health centres and police surgeries in future under new plans.
The proposals are designed to ensure the survival of library services facing closure amid spending cuts.
They have been published by the Local Government Association and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Its report, following a pilot schemes involving 36 councils, also suggests libraries could seek private partnerships to ensure funding.
Local authority cuts mean that around 400 libraries are threatened with closure.
The report called Future Libraries: Change, options and how to get there looks at ways to deliver modern library services in innovative and creative ways that will also save money.
Councillor Chris White, Chair of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: "By breaking down the barriers of tradition, councils are bringing libraries into the 21st century and meeting the needs of a new generation of library users.
"The best libraries are at the heart of councils' approaches to everything from lifelong learning to wellbeing, job seeking, volunteering, education and encouraging more people to get online."
The report proposes running libraries in partnership with the private sector, charities or other councils and extending their reach by integrating them with community facilities such as churches and by providing health centres and police surgeries on site.
It also suggests that services such as offices and mobile libraries could be shared with neighbouring local authorities and readers given the chance to play a more active role in running services themselves.
But the report adds it is "important to track implementation in these projects if we are to confirm that the proposals work and actually improve efficiency and effectiveness and it could be a number of years before a final judgement can be made on this".
Last year's Future Libraries Programme pilot scheme saw Bradford City Council introduce self-service book borrowing points in shops; Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils draw up plans to combine services, and Suffolk County Council look to recruit members of the community to boards of governors for its libraries.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: "Across England, councillors and managers are working to develop plans that will meet their community's changing needs while balancing budget pressures.
"The Future Libraries Programme has shone a spotlight on excellent examples of innovation and creative partnership working. It will be a hugely useful resource, inspiring local authorities to emulate the best ideas to provide a first rate library service."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Plan to create libraries of the future [Online] (Updated 6th Aug 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/175790/Plan-to-create-libraries-of-the-future [Accessed 20th Aug 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com