ASCEL works to promote the value of public and schools’ library services for children and young people. We contribute to the national dialogue around children’s and young people’s learning, reading development and library services and respond to national initiatives and consultations. We work on a range of national initiatives with key partners including the Society of Chief Librarians, the Reading Agency, Booktrust and National Literacy Trust and we jointly agree policies and strategies to develop and sustain services.
Our ‘Children’s and Young People’s Promise’ sets out what we believe all public library services should offer children and young people and we work to ensure that children’s services are represented in the Universal Offers (four key areas – reading, information, digital and health which customers and stakeholders regard as essential to a 21st century library services).
We work to highlight the impact of schools’ library services on children’s literacy and levels of attainment in schools and how schools can maximise use of scarce resources by subscribing to these services.
We support the development of our members and future leaders; promoting discussion and exchange of ideas through training and development, our annual members’ conference and our members’ only website and e-forums.
In 2014 working in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and with funding from Arts Council England we commissioned our own research for the first time. In December 2014 we published Children's Digital Needs and Libraries which offers new insight into how young children access digital technology and crucially suggests how public libraries might better support them in the future. ASCEL has recently commissioned research on 'Children's Library Journeys' and will publish the findings during 2015.
ASCEL works through a National Committee supported by regional committees and members across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.