Because there’s lots of library projects, programmes and events going on in Wales at the moment it can be a bit confusing with all the different names of things to know what it what, how to take part, and who’s doing what. Hopefully I’ll explain what several of these programmes are in this blog post. I’ll be focusing mainly on Libraries Inspire, Libraries Fortnight and Libraries for Life.
Libraries for Life is the oldest of the three things mentioned. It was the Welsh Government’s library strategy from 2008-11 and was delivered by CyMAL in partnership with other organisations who led on particular strands (National Library of Wales on the Online resources and services, and Wrexham County Borough Council on the Marketing strand). It was fully evaluated by Scotinform, see my blog post here, and the evaluation summary and full report here.
Some of the Libraries for Life initiatives library staff in Wales may be familiar with include the programme of modernisation and refurbishment of almost 70 branch libraries in Wales; the free online subscription to newspapers and family history; the library portal; Cat Cymru the all-Wales cross sector library catalogue; regional interlibrary lending schemes; the regional partnerships with regional development officers; many marketing initiatives including the staff awards, campaigns like Happy Days, the Express Yourself competition, Fancy That, and the Bibli family; bursaries for library qualifications for staff development including the establishment of two Foundation Degrees in library studies in Wales; and also the Welsh Public Library Standards. It was overseen by an advisory group of representatives from various library sectors in Wales.
During 2010-11 I’ve been involved with CyMAL colleagues in planning the next library strategy and we’ve consulted with the library sectors about the future direction of libraries in Wales, what work needs to be undertaken and what can be developed from Libraries for Life. The evaluation of Libraries for Life included substantial fieldwork with library users and non-users which has helped inform the new strategy. Following the Welsh Government elections in May 2011 we’ve also been working with the new Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage to draw up this draft strategy.
It now has a name: Libraries Inspire: the strategic development framework for Welsh libraries 2012-16, and will be launched by the Minister in Treorchy library on Monday 7th November, as part of the Libraries Fortnight. The document will be available online on the CyMAL website and is also being sent in hard-copy to library services across Wales. I’ll blog about it in more detail in the future.
Meanwhile, during 2011-12, we have been ensuring that momentum from Libraries for Life projects continues and preparatory work is being undertaken leading up to new projects for Libraries Inspire. Those of you who have read the previous blog post on the Libraries Fortnight will know about that. This is the annual campaign for libraries in Wales, and is taking place during the 1-14th November 2011. The library portal is also about to be refreshed, going live on 27th October.
So, there’s lots going on in libraries in Wales and if there’s anything you wish to know about the library strategies or other matters, please ask!