What's new

Thursday, 28 March, 2024

ASCEL is delighted to welcome our new Chief Executive Tabitha Witherick.

With 20 years’ experience leading libraries in local government and charities, her energy and expertise are set to help us grow and develop further as an Arts Council Investment Principles Support Organisation.

Tabitha says:

“I am thrilled to be joining ASCEL as Chief Executive. Leading this amazing charity, which focuses on the library offer for children and young people, at this exciting time in its development feels like the place for me to be. 
It’s a tough time for library leaders right now - there are significant financial challenges for local government at a time of exceptional societal need when we know children and young people benefit deeply from the services available at their local library. 
I’m driven by the difference libraries make to children and young people and I’m ambitious about extending our reach to ensure libraries are truly inclusive. I have huge respect for ASCEL’s achievements and feel lucky to be able to work with Members, Trustees, and young people to take the charity to the next phase of development.  

My initial focus will be building on the foundations that have been laid by colleagues before me - delivering a relevant member offer, engaging children and young people in all corners of the country, growing partnerships and developing the organisation to ensure we fulfil our ambitions. 

I will look further ahead with the Board of Trustees to vision our future, taking a longer-term view of our aspirations and securing opportunities for growth.

I’ll focus on developing strong links across the sector, starting with the opportunities arising from Baroness Sanderson’s recent independent review of English public libraries, which recommends universal membership for children. 

I will emphasise ASCELs unique position – our commitment to elevate young diverse voices as the charity that represents the expertise and experience of children and young people’s specialists across libraries – the power of public and school libraries combined.  

We will be constantly lifting up the voices of children and young people, to ensure they are centred in the future development of library services.  


ASCEL Chair Annabel Gittins says: 

"We are very excited to welcome Tabitha. She is joining a very cohesive Executive team who have achieved much in their first year, and I am sure her energy and ambition will ensure that ASCEL thrives and grows as an organisation.

We are also lucky to have had Sarah Mears expertly guide us through these last 4 months of transition and would like to thank her and Libraries Connected for their continued support."

Tuesday, 23 January, 2024

We are delighted to announce Tabitha Witherick as the new CEO of ASCEL. 

Tabitha will bring visionary leadership, a wealth of library services experience and the ability to use the power of stories to elevate the role and impact of ASCEL. Her passion and energy to drive our strategic plans forward heralds an exciting new chapter for ASCEL, as we move forward with our ambitious plans for growth, going into our second year as an Arts Council England Investment Principles Support Organisation.

Currently Regional Development Manager at Libraries Connected - the national network for Librarians across the UK - Tabitha will join ASCEL at the end of March 2024. It’s an exciting time for the charity as we evolve and enhance our member services, peer support opportunities, training and resources.  

Tabitha is an experienced charity executive and chartered librarian, formerly Head of Library Service and Customer Experience at Libraries Unlimited. She has a breadth of experience in leadership and a track record of delivering development projects and programmes, such as the acclaimed The Glass Box co-produced with young people, combining a passion for digital, creativity and experimentation. 

Tabitha Witherick says:

"It is a dream come true to be appointed as ASCEL's Chief Executive.

ASCEL’s mission, values and strategic ambitions very much align with my own; I’m driven by the difference libraries make to children and young people and I’m ambitious about ensuring libraries are truly inclusive.

I’m excited to bring my experience of working with library services, local government and charities to benefit ASCEL and the library sector.

I have huge respect for ASCEL’s achievements to date and I feel honoured to have this opportunity to work with the team, members and trustees to elevate the voices of young people and to take the charity into the exciting next phase of development.”

Annabel Gittins, Chair of ASCEL says:

 “We are delighted to have Tabitha joining ASCEL as the new CEO. She stood out in a very strong field of candidates. The ASCEL Board are looking forward to seeing her lead the organisation into its second year as an Investment Principles Support Organisation and developing the programme of work with the excellent executive team. A key part of this will be reviewing the Member’s offer and developing the Children’s Promise Alliance, thus ensuring that ASCEL is in an ideal position to grasp future opportunities.”

Isobel Hunter, CEO of Libraries Connected says:

“Tabitha has made a huge impact at Libraries Connected - her strategic expertise and experience have been invaluable in the set-up phase of our regional development project. While we’re sad to see her go, we’re delighted that ASCEL will now benefit from her passion, drive and deep knowledge of the libraries sector. It’s so important that children’s and school libraries have a dedicated organisation representing them and we’re excited to see ASCEL grow under Tabitha’s leadership.”

Tabitha Witherick has spent her career developing inclusive future facing library services.

For the last six months Tabitha has been working at Libraries Connected, initiating the Regional Development programme, building collaboration across the national member network.

She is an experienced charity executive and chartered librarian, formerly Head of Library Service and Customer Experience at Libraries Unlimited, where she led commissioned library services across Devon and Torbay, the cultural programme funded by Arts Council (NPO), and Business & IP Centres, a partnership with the British Library. 

During her time at Somerset Libraries, Tabitha gained recognition for the development of The Glass Box, an ambitious and highly experimental digital skills project co-produced with young people. Tabitha is passionate about inclusion and believes that the voices of children and young people are essential in unlocking the full potential of libraries embedded within communities. 
During 2023 Tabitha became a Clore Social Fellow after completing the Experienced Leader programme. As a Trustee at a secondary Single Academy Trust she sits on the Finance, Audit and Risk and Governance and Nominations committees, and is the link trustee for GDPR, cybersecurity and parent communications.

Tabitha uses the pronouns she/her.



Friday, 19 January, 2024

ASCEL responds to Baroness Sanderson’s Public Libraries Review


ASCEL welcomes the publication of Baroness Sanderson’s independent review of public libraries in England. We thank Baroness Sanderson for including ASCEL in the consultation for the review, to ensure that children’s library services were well represented within the discussion and the report.

Sarah Mears, ASCEL's Interim CEO says:

"We are pleased to see the recognition given to the importance of libraries and their value and impact within communities and that more needs to be done to ensure their sustainability, especially the ongoing underinvestment of the sector.

ASCEL strongly supports the idea of Universal Library Membership for children, and that this is seen as an entitlement.

We feel that several key ‘intervention’ points in a child’s life are needed, not just one point for universal membership so that no children fall through the net. To make the scheme truly successful, it would be important to engage partners locally and nationally, such as Family Hubs, GPs, Health Visitors, BBC Tiny Happy People, to ensure that parents/guardians/carers can be reached, as they will be critical to activating membership, and securing investment in a campaign of engagement. This requires capacity and funds to create a sustainable, worthwhile, and beneficial offer. Consideration also needs to be given to making the scheme effective and easy-to-use for vulnerable and looked-after children, who may move areas, to ensure they retain access to libraries without barriers or judgement.

ASCEL very much welcomes the idea of a National Data Hub. The lack of consistent and coherent data has been challenging for libraries in terms of demonstrating impact and attracting investment. Sharing data will be vital for the success of Universal Library Membership and will help us to better understand the impact of our services. We also support the proposal to capture data on digital engagement alongside physical engagement with services, which also highlights the need for the data hub to constantly future gaze to ensure that data gathered is relevant and dynamic.

We are excited by the idea of a Library Laureate. We think the current Children’s Laureate (as well as previous laureates) and the poet laureate have both served to raise the profile of libraries and having a national Library Laureate sends a message both nationally and internationally about the value a society places on its library services.

We believe that having a Libraries Minister would be hugely beneficial to raising the profile of libraries within Government, the political agenda and in society, which is currently desperately needed. Working across departments - DCMS, DFE and DLUHC - would not only reflect the wide remit of libraries but add value to our work. It would ensure that libraries have a central prominence in government and are not excluded from vital discussions and plans.

Proposing to move Libraries Week would be beneficial, to enable more politicians to engage with the event.

ASCEL is interested in the national branding idea. Elevating libraries in people’s consciousness would bring many benefits, which we fully recognise. We are mindful of the challenges and costs this might incur, which may mean it would take time, persuasion and investment to achieve. We look forward to seeing this idea developed with a detailed plan.


We are pleased that Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Minister Lord Parkinson has responded positively to the recommendations in the report and that he has committed to taking these forward in next year’s library strategy.

ASCEL echoes Libraries Connected’s point that 'For libraries to truly prosper and fulfil the potential outlined in Baroness Sanderson’s review, councils need a fairer, long-term funding solution. Without this, it is difficult to see how these recommendations can be fully implemented and resourced.'"


Annabel Gittins, Chair of ASCEL says:

“Baroness Sanderson’s independent report signifies an important moment for the future of libraries as it brings our vital services under the spotlight and shines a light on a number of ways that the sector can be supported, elevated and developed. We support many of the recommendations and are delighted to have been included in the consultation discussions. We know that the true outcome of the report, however, will be seen in what happens next in terms of the Libraries strategy, financial and political support centrally and locally, and meaningful action. We look forward to and welcome these developments, so that Libraries across our network can flourish, thrive and prosper, and be recognised and appreciated in Government, nationally and locally as the lifeblood of our communities that ASCEL and our members believe and know them to be.


Friday, 19 January, 2024

ASCEL: Invitation to Tender


Title:    Research to support School Library Services

Return to: [email protected]

Deadline for receipt of tender proposals: 12 noon 6 February 2024.




This Invitation to Tender (ITT) specifies the requirements for delivering a research project to support School Library Services (SLS/s)


The following details are outlined in this document:

  • Background
  • Objectives of this project
  • The Brief
  • Contract Management and Governance
  • Workplan and milestones
  • Budget
  • The terms of business relating to the award of any contract
  • Process for submitting proposals
  • Further Information
  • Compliance




​.2.1 ASCEL https://www.ascel.org.uk/


ASCEL is the national network for senior leaders in children's, public and schools library services. Created by and for Members, we provide training, peer support, best practice, resources and networking initiatives that enable our Members to give children and young people a dynamic, exciting and innovative library experience and amplify their voices.

Our network of active regional committees support place based partnership working across the country and help to drive our national impact.

ASCEL is a charity that receives funding from Arts Council England as an Investment Principles Support Organisation (IPSO). We are a membership organisation that supports every public library service for children and young people and school library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

2.2  School Library Services

Schools Library Services are organisations offering services to schools. They advise schools and provide training on managing and developing their own school libraries and teaching resources in schools, on teaching information literacy skills to enable children to become independent learners and to help schools create a reading culture.

The way each service operates varies considerably from local authority to local authority.

SLS UK (supported by ASCEL) consists of a collective of Schools Library Services covering the length and breadth of the UK. https://sls-uk.org/about/



This is a research project funded by Arts Council England to execute and complete a research project to enable the sector to gain a better understanding of the number, reach and location of School Library Services (SLS) in England.


It will:

  • analyse the number, distribution, provision, service level, reach, quality, different business models (with associated advantages/disadvantages), operating environments and funding arrangements and success factors (which may include use, value and impact) to give a clear national picture of school library services (SLS) in England
  • provide an understanding of gaps in SLS provision
  • provide a picture of the health of School Library Services across the country
  • present a strategic evidence and knowledge base for supporting local authorities or services commissioned by local authorities to maintain and develop SLSs



The contractor will:


  • Create a survey to be shared with English library services/local authorities
  • Carry out desk-based research including collecting case studies examples of best practice, successful delivery and different models and funding
  • Conduct a stakeholder survey
  • Carry out interviews with SLS leaders and their teams
  • Produce a report outlining the national picture in relation to SLS including number, reach, delivery and funding models. mapped against the literacy levels/free school meals/indices of deprivation. The report should include consideration of places where there is no defined SLS but similar provision is provided effectively through public library services
  • Look at partnerships between public library services and school library services
  • Create a ‘how to guide’ for those wishing to create an SLS including how to make the case for creating one
  • Create a list of contacts/resources/support organisations



  • The contract will be directly managed by the Programme Manager at ASCEL
  • The work will be supported by a small reference group of ASCEL SLS Members and the Executive



We envisage the project will follow this workplan, but proposals can set out an alternative timetable to meet the brief.


Overall programme plan


Activity Time Period
Milestone Date
Invitation to Tender published Friday 19 January
Closing date  Midday 6 February
Appointment of successful contractor By 28 February
Develop the research plan March -April
Convene reference group March -April
Meeting with reference group April
Research and interviews April- August 
Report writing August- September
Presentation and sign off of final report (Trustees, Reference group, CEO and Chair) October
Possibility of sharing at ASCEL Conference  (to be confirmed) 15 or 16 November




A maximum of £ 11.5k inclusive of VAT is available for research and report writing and in addition up to 1.5k is earmarked for researcher travel.

ASCEL Connected will provide some support to convene the reference group and working with Arts Council England to share the findings.



Payment at key milestones in two instalments subject to satisfactory progress and delivery of the project.



9.1 Procurement timetable

  • Submission by 6 February 2024
  • Award selection process completed by end February 2024 


9.2 Proposal submission

Please submit proposals by email to [email protected]

Proposals must be submitted by 6 February 2024

Proposals should be no more than 2500 words and should include:


  • Understanding of the brief
  • An outline methodology for achieving the brief
  • A statement of your skills and experience in context of this brief including names and experience of each person assigned to the project. Examples and links to relevant reports you have written or contributed to should be included
  • An outline work plan and timetable for this work
  • A clear breakdown of costs which includes all rates, fees, and expenses you are anticipating for the project. If you are VAT registered this must be included in your costings
  • Evidence of your commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Two contactable referees who could provide a relevant reference of your suitability to work on this project


9.3 Evaluation of proposals

  1. We will evaluate proposals using these criteria:



    Extent to which proposal demonstrates an understanding of the brief


    Knowledge and experience relevant to the project, including experience of running consultation processes and strategic planning


    Quality of methodology


    Proposed team composition and management


    Cost (Value for money)




For an informal discussion about the work, please contact: [email protected]



ASCEL reserves the right to disqualify any provider’s response to this ITT if it does not fully comply with the requirements contained therein. This is particularly relevant in relation to the stated closing date and time of applications.

ASCEL is not responsible for and will not pay for any expenses or losses you incur during, but not limited to, the application preparation, visits, negotiations, or interviews in relation to this procurement process. It is your responsibility to ensure that any consortium member, sub-contractor, and adviser abide by the conditions set out by ASCEL.

In submitting a response to this ITT, it will be implied that you accept all the provisions of this ITT including these conditions.

If ASCEL needs to change any information contained within this ITT before the closing date, you will be written to advise you of these changes, which includes the extension of any submission deadlines. ASCEL reserves the right to cancel or suspend this ITT process at any time but will notify you in writing as soon as possible if this occurs.

It is expected that the contractor will work within the values and behaviours of ASCEL and this will be part of the contract of engagement.


Download full ItT


Thursday, 21 December, 2023

As 2023 comes to close, we thought we'd look back at what has been the most important, at times challenging but ultimately the most exciting year for ASCEL as we transformed into the IPSO charity.

Although the work to get here actually started all the way back in 2019 under then chair, Stella Thebridge it was not until October 2022 that we were successful in being offered the IPSO funding from ACE and the trustees put their mind to the recruitment of the CEO.

Adam Tulloch was announced as the first ASCEL CEO in February. The Trustees were back in action through February and March, bringing together all the strands that were needed for ASCEL to become a fully functioning charity, ready for Adam to take up his post in April. Setting up HR, IT, Finance services and the necessary policies, it's been a steep learning curve for everyone involved!

Adam joined the National Committee in Berwick-upon-Tweed for his first meeting in May 2023. Berwick is the most Northerly authority, and it was enlightening to hear some of the issues in serving their very rural communities. If you would like to host a meeting at your library, do get in touch.

Every charity requires a strong and diverse Board of Trustees and finding the right people to take on this important role was a priority for the next couple of months.  We had some brilliant people apply for the role of trustees and we were delighted to have welcomed them officially onto the board at our AGM in November.

The Arts Council funding means that we now have a budget of £200,000 per year to develop our support services for libraries and embed quality children’s and young people’s engagement across the library sector with a new Executive Team.  In the summer Adam was joined by Lucy Banks and Sarah Gregory as Programme Manager and Management and Information Consultant in working towards ASCEL's new goals and ambitions.  The new team met for the first time in our new base at Wolverhampton Library.

The work has now started, and Lucy has been kept busy. “I can’t believe it’s only been five months since I started with ASCEL! In that time, we’ve assembled our member-led library team to start delivering the Youth Engagement Network programme. I’m especially thrilled we’re doing this work; it’s never been more important to listen to children, co-create with them and learn from their experiences, expertise and opinions. We’ve got eight public library services and one school library taking part in the pilot, and we’ll start the children-led activities in the new year. We’re also developing training that meaningfully supports you and your wider teams. The Skills Audit, which was completed by 89 members, gave insight into where your strengths lie, and the areas that may need development. This work links with both our HAF ‘train the trainer’ programme, which is supported by three public libraries, and our exploration of training pathways into the sector (alongside key partners). We need younger people to not only engage with our services but join our teams to shape the future of libraries across the country. “

Sarah has taken over the membership systems from Anna Simmons, freeing up a great deal of her time, thank you Anna.  (A quick reminder to return your 2023/24 subscription form for invoicing, before final red reminder emails go out in the new year!) As well as leading on the development of the new website.

We were all very sad when Adam had to step down as CEO in October. He brought dynamism, knowledge, insight and energy to the role and had put in so much work to progress our strategic plans, build the foundations of ASCEL as a charity, form a new Executive Team and consolidate our action plan. But before leaving, he led a strategy day in the beautiful Shrewsbury library with the new Trustee Board and the Executive team.

An interim CEO was swiftly put in place, and we were very pleased to welcome back Sarah Mears, a past ASCEL chair and the libraries Connected rep on our National Committee. With her extensive knowledge of the sector and leadership skills, she's been able to jump right in and start building on the strong base created by Adam. Sarah says she is delighted to be reconnecting with ASCEL for this interim period and has been so excited by the inspirational projects being developed by the team alongside ASCEL members.

We all came together for another amazing Conference in November, where we formally voted on the new constitution and officially appointed our new Trustees. You may have talked to our External Comms consultant, Bryony Bishop, who collected feedback and your glowing endorsements of ASCEL. We'll be using these quotes and clips in future marketing. Here's the first video, thanks for all your ASCEL love!

There was time for one more library visit when the executive team and new CEO met in Christmassy Manchester central library.

As the year draws to a close there is much to look back on and be proud of. Being Chair of a new organisation requires a lot of focus on the detail required, so I am enjoying this opportunity to take that step back and feel proud of all that we have achieved together.  One thing is for certain that we would not be in this positive place ready for 2024 without the support and dedication of so many people and partners so

Thank you to:

  • Those ASCEL committee members who stepped up as Trustees, learning on the job to get all the background work in place, alongside their demanding day jobs.
  • Sue Ball, Chris Myhill, Nina Simons, Krystal Vittles, Anna Simmons our treasurer who has spent so much time researching and setting up finance systems and myself, Annabel Gittins for taking on the unenviable role of Chair to steer the process.
  • To our wonderful new Trustees Sherilyn Pereira, Benedict Shaw, Mark Freeman, Kirsty Blyth, Nick Fuller and Fabienne Tannoh.
  • Our consultant Katie Peckacar for guiding us through the process and helping out as needed.
  • Our fantastic partners who have supported us through our first year – in particular Libraries Connected and Arts Council England
  • To Adam for setting up the charity and giving us such a strong base to work from, and Sarah Mears for taking over so effectively and carrying on his legacy.
  • To Lucy and Sarah for taking on new roles in a new organisation.
  • To Annie Everall, our Conference Consultant for putting together, what could be the best conference to date (although we say that every year!)

And of course, to you, our members - for your support, guidance and input over this whole process and for getting involved in surveys, focus groups and new research programmes as we make plans for the future.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I look forward to leading ASCEL through 2024.



Chair of Trustees



Friday, 1 December, 2023

ASCEL is delighted to welcome five new trustees to our Board, who bring a wealth of experience, passion, and dedication to support the charity’s mission.

Introducing our New Trustees

Kirsty Blyth - Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Inspire: Culture, Learning & Libraries

Nick Fuller - Bi-borough Libraries Manager Children’s and Outreach, Westminster City Council working with Kensington and Chelsea Council

Mark Freeman MBE – Retired Head of Service, Stockton-on-Tees, previous President of Libraries Connected

Sherilyn Pereira – Public Engagement Manager, Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, De Montfort University

Benedict Shaw - Head of Euro Bilateral Team - Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

These accomplished professionals join us at an exciting time, as we continue to expand and develop as a new charity. Their diverse skills and proven track records in the library, education and technology sectors will contribute hugely to the growth of ASCEL, enhancing and complementing the skills of our existing trustees.

Each ASCEL trustee shares a deep passion for cultivating dynamic library services which promote inclusion and diversity and where children’s and young people’s voices are heard, valued and reflected.

Annabel Gittins, Chair of ASCEL, says:

“Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Kirsty, Nick, Mark, Sherilyn and Benedict. We are excited about the impact their involvement will have on ASCEL and look forward to achieving great things together. Their fresh perspectives will invigorate our approach, helping us explore new ideas and opportunities. We encourage you to take a moment to learn more about our new trustees, their achievements, backgrounds, and what motivates them to support ASCEL.”

These new Trustees expand ASCEL’s Board to 12 and join our current Trustees:

Annabel Gittins (Chair) - Library Support Manager, Shropshire Libraries

Sue Ball – Interim Libraries & Arts Manager, Staffordshire County Council

Christine Myhill - Libraries & Heritage Manager, Gateshead Council

Nina Simon - SLS Manager, Schools Library Service, Redbridge

Anna Simmons – Head of Libraries & Information, Luton Libraries, Active Luton

Krystal Vittles – Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Suffolk Libraries


Get to know our new Trustees

Thursday, 9 November, 2023

Sarah Mears MBE, Programme Manager for Libraries Connected joins ASCEL as Interim CEO.


Sarah will support ASCEL with the charity’s exciting new strategic plans as an Arts Council England ISPO, bringing a wealth of experience and energy to the role. Sarah’s background in strong, effective leadership and programming, and extensive knowledge of children’s library services means she is well placed to steer the organisation further forward with our ambitious plans for growth, whilst we recruit a permanent CEO.

As a past Chair and longtime supporter of ASCEL, Sarah has an excellent insight into our members’ needs and our vision and mission.

Annabel Gittins, Chair of ASCEL, says:

“ASCEL is extremely grateful to Sarah and Libraries Connected for providing us with such invaluable support during this interim period. We are excited to have found such an experienced and passionate Interim CEO to work with our Trustees, team, and members who will continue our ambitious plans and support us in our evolution as a new Arts Council England IPSO. Sarah’s expertise and insight are set to enhance our organisation further during this exciting new chapter.”

Sarah Mears MBE says:

“I am so delighted to be given this opportunity to contribute to ASCEL’s development. It is such an exciting time for ASCEL as the organisation grows and I will work hard to support the charity’s strategy working with public libraries to put the voice of the child and young person at the heart of services.”

Isobel Hunter, CEO Libraries Connected says:

“As an expert on children’s librarianship, and a former chair of ASCEL, Sarah is the perfect choice to continue Adam Tulloch’s work in establishing ASCEL as a delivery organisation. It’s so important that children’s and school libraries have a dedicated organisation representing them – that’s why Libraries Connected has been a steadfast supporter of ASCEL from the outset. We’re pleased that we can help ASCEL at this time of transition and are excited to see the organisation grow under Sarah’s stewardship as it recruits its next permanent CEO.”


Sarah Mears MBE is Programme Manager for Libraries Connected, the national network for Librarians across the UK. Formerly, Sarah was Library Services Manager for Essex Libraries, the lead for the Universal Culture Offer and was a member of SCL Executive. She is also a past Chair of ASCEL. Away from work she is one of the founder members and a director of Empathy Lab, a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on developing children’s empathy skills through the power of books and stories in schools and libraries.

Monday, 16 October, 2023


The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians is looking for a Chief Executive to lead the organisation. 


We are looking for an ambitious, enthusiastic, and creative candidate with strong empathy and listening skills. They must be passionate about our vision and mission to inspire all children and young people to reach their full potential by championing excellence, diversity and equality in libraries.

Our new Chief Executive will need to continue to grow ASCEL so that it can deliver against its business plan and new role as an Investment Principles Support Organisation for the public library sector.


Read the full job specification online

Download specification

Download Application form

Thursday, 12 October, 2023

It is with great sadness that ASCEL announces that Adam Tulloch has had to make the difficult decision to stand down as our CEO, due to an unexpected change in personal circumstances. Adam will leave the organisation at the end of October 2023.

We are actively engaging an interim CEO to support the organisation as we recruit a new leader for ASCEL.

Our commitment to supporting Children’s Public and Schools Library Services is unwavering as we continue to evolve and grow as a charity and Arts Council Investment Principles Support Organisation (IPSO).

In the time that Adam has been with us, he has helped us to progress our strategic plans, build the foundations of ASCEL as a charity, form a new Executive Team and consolidate our action plan. We are in a strong position to drive forward our next exciting phase of development with confidence and make a real impact in the sector. We thank Adam for bringing such dynamism, knowledge, insight and energy to the role.

Adam says:

“It has been a real privilege to be the first CEO of ASCEL. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for the organisation and I know that ASCEL will continue to achieve great things.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the warm welcome and support I received during my tenure, and I wish the organisation the very best in its next chapter.

I will be working to ensure this unexpected transition is as smooth as possible for the charity and my successor.”


We will announce our interim CEO in the coming weeks.

Monday, 14 August, 2023



Changing Times for Children’s & Schools Library Services

Friday 10th & Saturday 11th November 2023


ASCEL Future Forward (Virtual)             Monday 6th November 2.30 – 3.30

Publisher Highlights (Virtual)                Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th 09.15 – 12.15 

Main Conference (In Person)                 Friday 10th & Saturday 11th November 2023

Venue: Derby Mickleover Hotel, Etwall Rd, Mickleover, Derby DE3 0XX 


For information regarding the conference please contact: Annie Everall, ASCEL Conference Manager  email: [email protected]

ASCEL Members can book directly

Specific Aims for this Conference:

This conference will equip leaders of Schools Library Services and Public Library Services for Children & Young People to:

  • Support children and young people in engaging with and accessing library services
  • Learn from other organisations as to how they listen to children and young people.
  • Explore how public libraries and schools library services can listen to the children and young people in their communities and put them at the heart of our service.
  • Engage libraries within the broader field of Children’s Services


General Conference Aims:

  • Exploring best practice
  • Understanding the current strategic landscape
  • Generating innovative solutions to respond to new ways of thinking.
  • Providing opportunities for networking
  • Developing cross sector partnerships


Programme Topics will include (subject to speaker confirmation):

  • Back to the Future for Libraries panel session
  • Are libraries relevant in today’s world? Panel session
  • DFE Reading Framework – opportunities and challenges for libraries and SLS
  • Reading, Libraries and Me – author sessions
  • Poverty Proofing the school day
  • Libraries engaging Internationally through IFLA
  • Trends in reading and book buying
  • AI challenges and opportunities for libraries and education
  • Building future partnerships with Arts Council NPO
  • Learning from Our Peers workshops
  • School Diversity week – Just Like Us
  • Digital developments in publishing


Publishers and Reading Materials

The virtual Publisher Highlights during conference will enable delegates to see key children’s books being published in 2023. There will also be a Book Exhibition at the physical conference venue. Pre-recorded supplier highlights plus the publisher recordings will also be shown during breaks.  A reading bag of key children’s titles and promotional materials will be provided for all delegates attending the conference in person.


For information regarding the conference please contact: Annie Everall, ASCEL Conference Manager  email: [email protected]