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Public Library Skills Strategy 2017-2030

In an age of digital innovation and disruption it is essential that public libraries continue to evolve and adapt their services to meet the changing needs of users. Developing successful, future-ready services depends on attracting, retaining and developing talent across the public library sector.

To address this, CILIP and Libraries Connected have joined forces with the Arts Council England to deliver a Public Library Skills Strategy 2017-2030. This strategy will enable us to develop the public library workforce of the future.

Download the Public Library Skills Strategy 2017-2030

"The library was never finished. It was never meant to be finished"
Rolf Hapel, Director of Citizens’ Services and Libraries, Aarhus, Denmark

Priority actions

The Public Library Skills Strategy 2017-2030 includes the following 9 recommendations for implementation:

  1. Attracting, retaining and developing talent – the sector needs to attract the best new talent, from diverse backgrounds, to work in information and library services
  2. Targeting inclusion, diversity, representation and equality – we need to ensure that the public library workforce represents and is inclusive of the full range of communities we serve, proactively targeting exclusion and inequality
  3. Investing in professional skills and ethics - the public library workforce combines skills and knowledge with professional ethics; employers can be confident in the delivery of modern, relevant library services
  4. Promoting leadership at every level - the sector needs to promote leadership at every level of the workforce, encouraging and supporting staff at every level to contribute to the development of services
  5. An open, inclusive approach to professionalism – while public libraries continue to need access to specialist library and information skills, we will no longer assume that specialist expertise and skills are exclusively vested in the library and information professional
  6. Lowering the barriers to entry – our approach to workforce development must offer multiple pathways into working in public libraries, combining both academic and non-academic routes, including apprenticeships, while continuing to support professional registration and qualifications
  7. A commitment to Continuing Professional Development – we recognise the inherent professionalism offered by people joining at a variety of entry levels, with varied ambitions for their own development, and are committed to supporting lifelong learning and CPD for all public library staff
  8. Valuing transferable skills – we acknowledge and celebrate the fact that people will move into and out of the public library sector, bringing with them a broad mix of skills and professional experience
  9. Looking beyond the sector - we need to identify and address the information and learning needs of wider stakeholders beyond the public library sector

Each year, we will review progress towards these recommendations, as well as any additional actions needed to implement the Strategy.


CILIP and Libraries Connected would like to thank and acknowledge the following people for their leadership of the creation of the Public Library Skills Strategy 2017-2030:

  • Alison Wheeler, SCL Lead
  • Mandy Powell, CILIP Lead
  • Tracey Cox
  • Julie Griffiths
  • Sue Wills
  • Subnum Khan
  • Hannah Boroudjou
  • Zsuzsanna Nemeth
  • Claire Back
  • Sara Teers
  • Chris Fardon
  • Luke Stevens-Burt, CILIP
  • Jo Cornish, CILIP
  • Julia Chandler, Libraries Taskforce

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