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CILIP announces launch of “Working Internationally” project

17 July 2019   (9 Comments)
Posted by: Gus MacDonald
CILIP announces launch of “Working Internationally” project

CILIP, the library and information association, has announced the launch of a two-year, Arts Council England funded project to promote relevant, accessible and valuable international collaboration for public libraries in England.

The project draws on the Arts Council England’s existing programmes promoting International Development, with a focus on the areas of “exchange, partnership and growth”. The project will provide a platform to promote and celebrate successful international projects by establishing a Working Internationally for Libraries conference, grant programme and through parliamentary engagement activities and advocacy.

Rabeea Arif, Project Manager for Working Internationally, said; “I am delighted to announce the launch of the CILIP-led Working Internationally project that aims to bridge gaps and foster cultural relations through the work of public libraries, while celebrating innovation and sharing knowledge and skills. The ongoing public sector austerity in England means that many local libraries are struggling to make the significant investment of time and effort required to explore and establish international links and to develop these into full-scale partnership projects. The Working Internationally project will enable these libraries to access the myriad opportunities that international collaboration can bring.”

CILIP CEO Nick Poole added, “The Working Internationally project is a huge opportunity for public libraries in England to benefit from building relationships and sharing best practices with their counterparts outside the UK. Our fantastic, diverse and creative public library sector has so much to offer our colleagues around the world and we have so much to learn from one another. Thanks to the support of the Arts Council England, this project will provide grant-funding for libraries and librarians to develop international collaboration”.

About the Working Internationally project

England is known worldwide for the diversity and creativity of its public libraries and library collections. Having been among the first nations to establish a free, universally-accessible public library service, it has long been regarded as a leader in library innovation.

CILIP, in its role as the second-largest library association in the world aims to ensure that a strong international dimension is present in the aims and ambitions of libraries in England.

‘Working Internationally for Libraries’ is an ACE-funded 2-year programme to promote international working for public libraries in England. The programme will run from May 2019 to December 2020 in partnership with British Library and British Council to deliver innovative projects which promote knowledge-exchange and partnership between UK and International Library & Information sector professionals.

Programme objectives:

  • To create a sense of focus, momentum and energy around the opportunities of international working for libraries in England.
  • To inspire and equip libraries to deliver successful international projects, and assure them that international collaboration is accessible and valuable, even where budgets are much stretched
  • To establish libraries as a vibrant and positive addition to the overall picture of international collaboration and diplomacy.
  • To promote the role of UK as an important player in international library and information communities.

Published: 17 July 2019

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Rabeea Arif says...
Posted 17 September 2019
Dear Ka Yan, Apologies for the delay in responding to your comment. I'm happy to provide more details if you could drop me a message on
Rabeea Arif says...
Posted 17 September 2019
Dear Ka Yan, Apologies for the delay in responding to your comment. I'm happy to provide more details if you could drop me a message on
Rabeea Arif says...
Posted 17 September 2019
Dear Douglas, Apologies for the delayed response to your comment. As mentioned below, we are looking at this as 'phase 1' of the project and are hopeful that the framework can be replicated for other libraries. Part of the project is focusing on advocacy around the value of international working in libraries, which is not limited to public libraries and will help us in building the case for collaborative international working and gathering support and funding for similar initiatives in libraries across the sector.
Rabeea Arif says...
Posted 17 September 2019
Dear Jitka, Apologies for the delayed response to your comment. We are looking at this as 'phase 1' of the project and are already discussing the legacy for this initiative so that this framework can be extended to the wider sector. Starting with public libraries enables us to test the model and learn about what works and what doesn't. We are hopeful that we will be able to build the case for international working through this and get the required support and funding to expand it to the wider sector.
Rabeea Arif says...
Posted 17 September 2019
Dear Katie, Apologies for the delayed response to your comment. We are hoping that the project will enable public libraries in England to form connections between the diverse communities they serve and those outside of UK who share common culture, language, and history with these communities.
Kate J. Robinson says...
Posted 22 July 2019
Hello, This sounds like a really interesting, but challenging project. I work in several public libraries in Oxfordshire, where we are aware of our position as a vibrant, international city (and county), with many diverse communities who reside here through diaspora/tourism/study. We have run 'Language Cafes' for 2 years, and the global exchange of languages, people and ideas has been fascinating and has raised many issues about the place of libraries as hubs of information and human networks and the intersection of many local and global communities.
Jitka Dobbersteinova says...
Posted 18 July 2019
Hi, working in Slovakia in research libraary. Is this or someting similar eligible for research libraries as well? Thank you, Jitka
Douglas Knock says...
Posted 17 July 2019
I was quite excited by Nick's initial announcement of the ‘Working Internationally’ project which detailed an objective to support UK librarians and information professionals to develop international connections and share expertise and best practice with colleagues around the world. Project activities included • A Working Internationally grant programme to facilitate international collaboration • Training and support for UK information professionals looking to develop international connections • An ongoing programme to share insights and best practice in sector development from around the world But this now seems to be a private club for just Public Libraries when many other library sectors could also benefit. What's changed? I've gone from feeling excited, to feeling disenfranchised.
Jennifer Ka Yan Yu says...
Posted 17 July 2019
I am from overseas school library. And would like to learn more about the "exchange partnership, growth" program at international level. And how members could partiscipate?

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