A digital promise for public libraries

Primrose flower

A primrose not a promise: relevant for spring and very similar letters. Image CC by Yves Guillou on OpenClipArt

Back in January (yes, I know, I’m behind the times), the Society of Chief Librarians announced what digital services public libraries should provide as a minimum, and what they should be aiming to offer in the future, in the form of a digital promise.

This ‘digital promise’ was picked up by various newspapers and websites e.g. the Guardian and UKauthorITy.com. The full promise is on the SCL website, and I’ve pasted it in below:

SCL Expects Every Public Library Service Should Provide:

  • Free access to the Internet  for every customer (for a minimum period of time)
  • Clear and accessible online information about library services
  • Staff trained to help customers access digital information
  • Ability for customers to join online
  • Ability to be contacted online/via email for answers to customer enquiries
  • 24/7 access to services through a virtual library presence
  • Ability to reserve & renew items remotely via an online catalogue

 SCL Encourages Every Public Library Service to Provide:

  • Free Internet access for all wanting to use it, including wifi
  • A library APP to allow full access to all library digital services from mobile devices
  • Tailored digital information for each customer
  • Training in digital information literacy and access for its customers and staff both locally and remotely
  • Time-relevant, quality checked digital content for the communities it serves and support for communities to create their own content
  • Opportunity for e-lending of digital books, audio and video with remote access
  • Loan of digital devices for those without other access
  • Access to digitised local archive and local history resources
  • Social networking interaction/ engagement opportunities 
  • Federated searching of locally held online resources
  • Access to online learning opportunities (citizenship, language learning, theory driving test etc)

 SCL will Work in Partnership with other parties to help deliver:

  • A single point of digital contact for all public libraries in the UK
  • A portal or landing page for common access to national digital services
  • A national catalogue of resources for loan, referring to online or to be accessed in a designated location
  • Single standard of library customer authentication adopted nationally to allow collaborative access to digital resources
  • Local delivery of resources to the customer including via remote lending of digital titles.

As the digital promise was issued by the SCL as a whole it includes Wales. Having had an inital look at it, I think Welsh public libraries are offering all the digital services listed in the ‘expected to provide’ category, and are doing well in the ‘encouraged to provide’ category, and, we have three of the four in the final category of ‘working to help deliver’. We’re also working towards some of the others and look forward to working with SCL(W) and other partners to help deliver them.

About alysontyler

Civil servant, yoga teacher and former librarian.
This entry was posted in Digital things, Online resources, Public libraries, SCL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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