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Have your say in our online conversation to consult on the library of the future

  • Date: 28 March 2012
  • Area: National

Arts Council England has opened an online conversation as part of the next stage of our consultation on the library of the future. The consultation - Envisioning the library of the future - which will be captured via a dedicated blog - will help us to define our long term strategy for libraries by exploring what they could and should look like in in 2022 and beyond, through a programme of research and debate. 

Arts Council England Chair, Dame Liz Forgan announced these developments yesterday on a visit to Swiss Cottage Library in London, one of the libraries successful in applying for funding through the Libraries Development Initiative. Dame Liz was joined by library leaders and innovators, who debated what library provision might be in the future.

Listen to a podcast from the event

Panel discussion on the future of libraries at Swiss Cottage Library, 27 March 2012 by Arts Council England

Have your say

You can get involved by responding to blog posts written by independent guest contributors. The posts offer views on the library service of the future. Responses will feed into the Arts Council's overall programme of research and debate, and help it to form a longer term vision for libraries. You can also have your say by or contributing to the conversation via Twitter using the hashtag #ACElibraries.

The libraries consultation has been warmly welcomed by those who have taken part in interviews to date. The first stage of the consultation concentrated on building a picture of the technological advances, societal trends and demographic changes that will affect the way people connect with libraries.

This second stage consisting of an online consultation, questionnaires and regional workshops will last until May 2012. A third stage, to test the public view of the purpose and value of public libraries, will be undertaken between June and late September 2012. The Arts Council will then produce a final report, drawing upon this research, which will inform our vision for the future of public library services.

Find out more about the libraries consultation

Liz Forgan said:

'This programme of research and debate will enable the Arts Council to take on board the opinions and ambitions of library professionals and users, and will help us create a vision for a library of the future that is strong, relevant, and an invaluable resource for the community it serves.'

Through consultation and research we are  building on this short term framework and developing a long term vision for libraries, encouraging fresh thinking and promoting positive change in the libraries sector.

In February 2012, we announced 13 successful Libraries Development Initiative projects that will test new approaches to library service delivery. The learning from these projects, and learning from Envisioning the library of the future debate, will help the Arts Council to shape its future library policy.

The Arts Council assumed responsibilities for museums and libraries, formerly held by the Museums, Libraries, Archives Council (MLA), at the government's request. In September 2011, we published Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone, a framework on decision making for museums and libraries during the current spending period (2011-15).