What's new

Thursday, 4 May, 2023

ASCEL has been successful in gaining funding from Arts Council England to become an Investment Principles Support Organisation from 2023-2026. This means we will have £200,000 per year core funding for this time to develop our support services for libraries and embed quality children’s and young people’s engagement across the library sector.

We are now able to recruit for two new roles; Programme Manager & Communications and Engagement Manager.

If you are interested in applying for either role you are welcome to book a conversation with our Chief Executive, Adam Tulloch, to understand more about what it entails, however this is not mandatory. [email protected]

In order to apply for these posts, please send a CV along with a cover letter that is no longer than 2 x A4 to [email protected] by 17th May 2023.

The timeline for applications and interviews is as follows:

  • 17th May 2023 Deadline for applications
  • 19th May 2023 Applicants invited for interview
  • 24th and 25th May 2023 Interviews take place online

Job Descriptions


Programme Manager

Communications and Engagement Manager

Thursday, 30 March, 2023

We are recruiting: Trustees

The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) has been a membership organisation for library staff for over 20 years, but it has only recently become a charity. We have appointed a dynamic new Chief Executive who will work with the Board of Trustees to lead and grow ASCEL and have set up a new head office in Wolverhampton Library.

We currently have a small board of 6 trustees, made up of ASCEL members and are now looking to expand our board to 15 people, including young people and independent trustees with the skills and experience to help our organisation grow sustainably and achieve its strategic objectives.

As we are a new organisation, we have a lot of work to do. Becoming a trustee at this time will give you the opportunity to help shape ASCEL’s culture, strategy and ways of working.


Please see further details in the Trustees Recruitment  Pack

Friday, 10 February, 2023

ASCEL - Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians – Press Release, 10th February 2023


ASCEL Announces their first CEO

Adam Tulloch, CEO of Total Insight Theatre has been chosen as the first CEO of ASCEL.

Adam founded and leads Total Insight Theatre, an award-winning charity that uses the arts to transform the lives of children and young people, engaging over 20,000 young people since its inception in 2014.  Adam was named Charity Chief Executive of the year for organisations with annual incomes of less than £5M at the 2021 Third Sector Awards.

He will be joining ASCEL in April 2023 as CEO.  With his experience and knowledge of leading a charity for young people within the cultural sector he is ideally placed to work with the trustees and ASCEL members to lead ASCEL through an exciting period of growth and development.  


Annabel Gittins, Chair of ASCEL said: “ASCEL is excited to have found such an inspirational and dynamic CEO to work with trustees and our members to deliver against an ambitious vision and business plan as part of the new Arts Council England investment portfolio. We look forward to bringing forward the voice of children and young people to national debates and initiatives for libraries and working with members to centre children, young people and families in library services across the country.”

Adam Tulloch said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been appointed as the first CEO of ASCEL. ASCEL is a vibrant and ambitious charity that is truly committed to inspiring children and young people and ensuring they feel heard, valued and reflected. It’s an incredibly exciting time to join the organisation and I’m very much looking forward to championing library services that provide a strong voice for children and young people across the country.”



ASCEL is the national network of senior managers in Children’s Public and Schools Library Services.  Our aim is to lead excellence in library services for children and young people and schools so that:

  • every child and young person visiting a public library should be inspired by an exciting environment which makes reading for pleasure irresistible
  • every school has access to a high quality school library service


ASCEL has always championed children and young people’s place within libraries.  Becoming a charity and an IPSO for the Arts Council England will enable ASCEL to ensure that the voice of children and young people and families can co-lead on the planning and delivery of library services that are relevant and interesting to them.


Download Full Press Release

Media Contact:

Annabel Gittins

Chair of Trustees, ASCEL

[email protected]


Tuesday, 6 December, 2022

The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians is looking for a Chief Executive to lead the organisation as it enters an exciting new chapter. 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 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.


For more details and how to apply please Read full role specification online

Download role specification as a pdf

Download Application Form

Friday, 4 November, 2022

ASCEL are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our bid to receive Arts Council England funding to help us engage, inspire and support children and young people in our libraries and beyond.  This would not have been possible without the dedication of our Committee and members, plus the advice and support from colleagues, including Libraries Connected and Katie Pekacar.

#LetsCreate  Announcement

ACE 2023-26 Investment Programme

Friday, 7 October, 2022

ASCEL has been working together with Libraries Connected and The Local Government Association to highlight the role of libraries in supporting speech, language and communication  (SLC) strategies in local authorities. The chart highlights the ways in which library rhyme times support the elements of the recognised speech, language and communication pyramid. We encourage library services to use the chart to engage with their early years teams and ensure they are included in speech, language and communication pathways and strategies. 

How Libraries support SLC




Friday, 5 August, 2022

In the spring of 2022, the Local Government Association commissioned consultant peers to review library services in eight councils, specifically with regard to how they worked to enhance the local early years offer and, in particular, support for speech, language and communication development. The work was supported by The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) and Libraries Connected.

Executive summary

Each council had access to peer consultants for between five and eight days. In this time, strategic meetings, user and non-user and partner focus groups were set up, as well as background reading to identify strengths and recommendations for how libraries could become more closely connected with early years services, health and partner agencies working towards the development and delivery of family hubs.

The work was supported by The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) and Libraries Connected.

It was identified that there is much work that already takes place within council library services to support children and families in the earliest years, as well as partnership working across council and health partners. It was identified that there are existing strengths in how libraries already work to support the following areas:

  • pre-literacy skills including speech, language and communication development
  • mental health support for adults and children
  • reducing social isolation and creating networks / friendships
  • access to information, skills development and learning for adults      
  • delivering area-wide messages and support from the council, health and social care partners 
  • engaging with ‘under-served’ communities, families and individuals    
  • libraries used as a community resource.

Examples are provided within the report about the current successful work taking place in the councils that were involved in the mini reviews. Each council provided a case study which appears in appendix 1. Additional case studies from different areas are included in appendix 2.

In addition to the successful current work, the peer consultants identified, for each council, areas that could be developed further. Across the eight councils, there were recurring themes that were then noted as recommendations for closer connections between library services, early years and family hubs. These included:

  • involving libraries in planning for the development for family hubs  
  • clarifying the library offer
  • communicating the offer to families        
  • aligning strategies with key partners.
  • responding to families’ needs
  • demonstrating impact       
  • recognising libraries as part of the local speech and language pathway  
  • considering library staff as part of the wider children’s workforce within the council.

The mini reviews and their associated reports were very much appreciated by the councils that took part in the process. Participants identified how the process helped shine a light on the successes of libraries and explore closer work with councils, health and other partners working towards the family hub agenda. Many opportunities arose during the mini reviews to start conversations with partners that had not taken place before.

In addition, network meetings were set up for those councils involved in the programme. These were found to be extremely beneficial for all taking part. They provided an opportunity to share good practice and to discuss and problem solve difficulties faced by individual or groups of councils.

The full report can be accessed on the LGA website


Tuesday, 3 August, 2021

New public library experience to support disadvantaged families start their reading journey to be piloted by BookTrust

ASCEL have joined with leading library partners to support the development of BookTrust Storytime, a new pilot national library experience aimed at supporting disadvantaged families with children in their early years, engage with their local public library and develop an ongoing reading habit.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, it is also hoped that the BookTrust Storytime pilot will align with libraries’ aspirations to reconnect with their local communities after a year of closures and kick-start visits as part of the ongoing recovery. As well as supporting disadvantaged children and families, the pilot has also been designed to break down any limiting preconceptions – such as libraries being solely a place for reading books quietly – as well as showcasing the broader opportunities available with clear signage and a welcoming, friendly environment. 


BookTrust Storytime has been developed by the children’s reading charity in collaboration with libraries, local authorities and families and will launch in Autumn 2021. Funded by Arts Council England, the pilot has also benefited from the expertise and knowledge of leading library sector partners including The Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians (ASCEL), Libraries Connected, The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and Youth Libraries Group (YLG), to ensure the design and content reflects their experiences and meets the needs of librarians and library services.  


Insight from the co-design process showed that families are more likely to return to the library if they have a positive, fun first experience and can see the enjoyment and benefit experienced by their child. The BookTrust Storytime experience will incorporate the existing BookTrust Storytime Prize, which celebrates the best early years children’s books. This year’s shortlist will be integrated into the experience and used to encourage families to make repeat visits to the library to enjoy the different books. A raft of resources for librarians will be tested, alongside activities for families that bring the magic of reading to life,and inspire families to make sharing stories and visiting their local library a regular and long-lasting part of family life.


The pilot itself will adopt a three-tiered approach, with different levels of library engagement, and resources and activities being tested across the different libraries taking part. During the pilot, BookTrust aims to learn more about disadvantaged family engagement in library services and will use this to contribute to the evidence base around the development of a reading habit.


Chris Myhill, Chair of ASCEL  “ASCEL are delighted to share the professional expertise of our national network of senior librarians with Booktrust, to support the development of this new strategy. The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the disadvantage faced by some families and we welcome initiatives which are designed to break down barriers to engagement and help libraries reach out to those most in need. The power of reading is proven to benefit children throughout their lives and ASCEL is committed to bringing the joy of reading to all children, from pre-birth to early adulthood through our public libraries and school library services.


Annabel Gittins, Vice Chair, ASCEL and Library Development Manager, Shropshire ‘With books and reading at their heart, libraries offer connections and support for every age and every stage through a myriad of projects that allow families to be creative, to feel included, and above all experience kindness. BookTrust Storytime resources will enable libraries to play a key role in local COVID-19 recovery not only by supporting local authority priorities around the development of early speech, language and communication skills in pre-school children, but also enticing more families to recognise libraries as their space to explore, with opportunities available for all age groups.’


Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust  ‘At BookTrust we believe all children should reap the life changing benefits of reading, and our bold new strategy is focused on finding innovative ways to ensure children from disadvantaged families are not left behind. Working with the local authorities and library services that share these ambitions, our BookTrust Storytime experience will remind families about the treasure trove of support available from their local library and kickstart visits as we emerge from the pandemic. We’re grateful for the support of our library sector partners whose insight and expertise has enabled us to strengthen the design of the pilot and develop a new model of support that will enable us to all learn about how families can be best supported to engage with their local public library and make sharing stories a regular part of family life.’

Full Press release

Booktrust StoryTime

Thursday, 15 April, 2021

How libraries can support children's wellbeing: A resource pack developed by Libraries Connected, ASCEL and The Reading Agency to review how services are responding to the current needs of children, to inspire ideas for further action, to pro-actively build local partnerships with health, leisure, education to offer joined-up support to communities and as a source of advocacy materials to stakeholders and decision makers.

The pack was inspired by the discussion at the ‘Children, Wellbeing and Libraries’ webinar - a collaboration between The Reading Agency, ASCEL and Libraries Connected delivered as part of the Universal Health and Wellbeing Offer and the Children’s Promise.


Friday, 27 November, 2020

Press release:

Keeping Children Safe Online

A new toolkit of resources for library staff to help parents and carers to keep their children safe online launches today. Libraries Connected and ASCEL are delighted to work with NSPCC to create this new resource.

The online world has many benefits for children, helping children to learn virtually, entertaining children and helping families and friends to stay connected. However, it also brings significant challenges, especially around keeping children safe online.  These challenges have only increased during the pandemic.  

Funded by Libraries Connected, the toolkit covers topics such as inappropriate content, grooming and online relationships, spotting the signs & settings and filters. These topics have all been highlighted by library staff as areas of concern for the families they work with.

Isobel Hunter, CEO of Libraries Connected: 

‘I am delighted that Libraries Connected has been able to fund this toolkit through the Information and Digital offer. The partnership with ASCEL and the NSPCC has provided an expert-led, library focused toolkit which will support both families and library staff to understand current safeguarding needs and most importantly, how to access quality advice.’

Chris Myhill, Chair of ASCEL: 

‘This resource brings together the expertise of NSPCC and the knowledge and experience of ASCEL members to offer support to parents and carers at a critical time. We are confident library staff will find the toolkit invaluable in their work.’ 


Keeping Children Safe Online