15 February 2012
The Publishers Association (PA), in association with The Reading Agency, has today seen its proposal for a project to encourage digital skills within libraries win the backing of the Arts Council England’s new Libraries Development Initiative Fund. The Digital Skills Sharing initiative, put forward by the PA and The Reading Agency, will bring publishers and library authorities together to exchange ideas and expertise on new digital marketing programmes.
The Arts Council England announced the Libraries Development Initiative Fund in November of 2011, aiming to “create vibrant, sustainable 21st century library services”. 13 projects have been selected by the ACE, awarding a total of £230,000, including the Digital Skills Sharing initiative from the PA and The Reading Agency.
The project, which will be delivered through the Reading Partners programme, will enable library authorities across the country to benefit from publisher expertise in creating and strengthening libraries’ digital marketing programmes. Research carried out in 2011 showed that only 3% of library services have a digital strategy, 64% of library authorities want help with using digital media to develop their reading offer and that insufficient staff expertise is a big problem. With a focus on six library authorities, publishers will use tools such as training manuals, webinars and podcasts to help to create new digital marketing initiatives and schemes within libraries.
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association commented, “We are delighted that our project, in conjunction with The Reading Agency, has been recognised by the Arts Council England as providing real value for libraries. It is clear that many libraries are keen to improve their digital skills and implement digital strategies and campaigns. Publishers, who have long worked in these areas, are happy to be able to share their experiences and ideas with libraries to improve libraries’ digital offering and ultimately support the promotion of books and reading.”
Miranda McKearney, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency commented, “It is fantastic that publishers understand and value how we all benefit from a vibrant, modern library service, and this project will be a great showcase for what can be achieved when we all pull in the same direction. The Reading Agency's mission is to get more people reading more, and equipping libraries with digital skills will go a long way to helping us achieve this in the future."
A steering group of the PA, The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians will be established to oversee the running of the project.
Notes to Editors
The Publishers Association
The Publishers Association (PA) is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership is comprised of 117 companies from across the trade, academic and education sectors. Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover. www.publishers.org.uk
The Reading Agency
The Reading Agency is a UK charity with a mission to inspire more people to read more. We specialise in working with public libraries because we believe passionately that everyone deserves an equal chance to become a reader. By 2015 we aim to reach 1.4 million people - children, young people and adults - with experiences that leave them feeling inspired and confident about reading. www.readingagency.org.uk