ASCEL and Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021

Tuesday, 6 December, 2016

ASCEL (The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians) welcomes Ambition and the recognition of libraries in the lives of children and young people.

The document provides advice and support, a direction of travel for public libraries, ideas and good case studies.

It is good to see recognition of the many children and young people’s programmes we are involved in and recognition of the work ASCEL is doing.

The report identifies that The Children’s Promise, alongside the Six Steps Promise underpins the Universal Offers and we would urge the Taskforce to ensure that children’s interests are also strongly recognised in Ambition’s 7 outcomes.

We are delighted that ASCEL’s Autism Friendly Libraries initiative is highlighted in the report. ASCEL is also currently working on the following initiatives that support the universal offers and the Ambition outcomes - Children’s Library Journeys – developing a national  library framework for parents-to-be, working with The Reading Agency (TRA) and the Universal Health offer to develop an articulation and evidence base for the impact of libraries on children’s health and well-being, working on an outcomes framework based on the Arts Council  7 Quality Principles to demonstrate the powerful  impact  of library rhyme times and working with Bridge Organisations to develop a national strategy  for libraries’ role within local  Cultural  Education Partnerships.   ASCEL, working in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, BookTrust, TRA and the Publishers Association are also driving ahead the  reading for pleasure strand of the new National Reading Strategy launched in November 2016 as part of Read On Get on ensuring that the fundamental role libraries play in reading for pleasure is centre staged.

ASCEL supports the Libraries First approach and the advocacy alongside this.  We believe libraries can be central to the lives of local communities and are particularly essential for families who may otherwise be isolated and unable to access services and cultural experiences.  Libraries are beginning strong and exciting shared and integrated offers with other children’s services providers, for example Children’s Centres and children and family health providers.

ASCEL welcomes the 7 design principals.  It is really helpful to have those made explicit and particularly the recognition that there is value in integrating national initiatives and programmes with the flexibility to respond to local need.

ASCEL also welcomes the opportunity for libraries to test pilot innovative and exciting projects by applying to the new Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone innovation fund.

We are encouraged by a focus on improved data and evidence gathering. This is desperately needed and needs to reflect the transforming role of libraries – not just the traditional roles.  We would also like to ensure there is a focus on impact and outcomes measurements to support articulation of the work we do and the value of libraries in people’s lives.

 Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021 (1/12/2016)  Read the full report