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Public Libraries


Public libraries

The UK’s public libraries are an incredibly important part of the fabric of our society. Embedded in and fundamentally connected to their communities, they have transformed their offer over the past 2 decades to embrace the digital revolution and ensure that they are providing access to a wide range of value-added services which meet the needs of their users.

Sector development is led in different ways in each of the four nations of the UK. Wherever possible, we take a joined-up, UK-wide view on our programmes in support of public libraries, but we also implement approaches that are tailored to the different circumstances and policy agendas in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

CILIP is committed to securing a sustainable long-term future for our vital public libraries. We do this by:

  • Working with our Public and Mobile Libraries Special Interest Group (PMLG) to develop a positive, proactive and well-informed programme of support for public library staff;
  • Championing and advocating for the positive impact of public libraries on people’s daily lives, across all parts of society;
  • Encouraging Local and National Government to see public libraries as an ‘amplifier’ – enhancing the sustainablility and impact of policy initiatives in health and social care, education, economic development, placemaking and a range of other agendas;
  • Working with partners like Libraries Connected and the Arts Council England in England, SLIC in Scotland, MALD in Wales and Libraries NI in Northern Ireland to promote a joined-up approach to sector development;
  • Providing Secretariat support for the Libraries All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG Libraries), to provide a non-partisan platform to develop policy priorities which promote the role of public libraries and their impact for their users;
  • Supporting public library staff, including managers, librarians, library workers and other staff, to develop their skills and become more effective advocates for the impact of their work;
  • Building relationships and creating opportunities to raise public awareness of and engagement with public libraries, notably through Libraries Week, our annual celebration of everything libraries offer to their communities;
  • Challenging decisions which put the value and impact of public libraries, professional librarians and library workers at risk, and seeking to secure better outcomes where possible;
  • Ongoing media engagement to promote better-informed and more up-to-date views on what public libraries are and their role in promoting a healthier, more inclusive and prosperous society.

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