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Meeting date: Thursday 13 July 2017: 11.00 to 16.00
Location: Cambridge Central Library, 7 Lion Yard, Cambridge CB2 3QD
- Dr Paul Blantern (Chair) - Chief Executive: Northamptonshire County Council
- Kathy Settle - Chief Executive: Libraries Taskforce
- Brian Ashley - Director, Libraries: Arts Council England
- Paul Bristow - Director, Strategic Partnerships: Arts Council England
- Jane Ellison - Head of Creative Partnerships: BBC
- Rob Field - Public Policy Manager: British Library
- Felix Greaves - Deputy Director of Science: Public Health England
- Ian Leete - Senior Policy Adviser: Local Government Association (LGA)
- Neil MacInnes - President: Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), Strategic Lead – Libraries, Galleries and Culture, Manchester
- Nick Poole - Chief Executive: The UK library and information association (CILIP)
- Simon Richardson – Head of Libraries: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
- Sue Wilkinson - Chief Executive: The Reading Agency
- Julia Chandler - Communications Lead: Libraries Taskforce
- Charlotte Lane - Taskforce Programme and Project Manager: Libraries Taskforce
- Foluke Oshin - Business Support: Libraries Taskforce
- Sheila Bennett - Policy and Secretariat Manager: Libraries Taskforce
- Kim Bromley-Derry - Chief Executive: London Borough of Newham
- Rebecca Cox - Principal Policy Adviser: LGA
- Roly Keating - Chief Executive: British Library
- Iain Varah - Chief Executive: Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure and Immediate Past Chair: Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association
- Liz White - Head of Strategy Development: British Library
- Steve Wood - Steve Wood & Associates
- James Nicol - Development Manager: Adults, Service Development Team (Libraries), Cambridgeshire County Council
- Ed Humphrey - Director of Digital & Ventures: British Film Institute
- Jonathan Lindley - Director of Mutuals: DCMS
During its visit to Cambridge, the Taskforce received a presentation by Christine May, Interim Director of Infrastructure Management and Operations at Cambridgeshire County Council, (previously Head of Community and Cultural Services and prior to that Head of the library service). She talked about: the foundations Cambridgeshire Libraries have built on; current challenges; and how they’ve been using the Ambition document to help consider how they move forward. She was accompanied by senior councillors who contributed their perspectives as both decision-makers and community representatives, and by Sue Wills, Library Service Manager.
There was a wide-ranging discussion covering a number of issues which Cambridgeshire was working on. These included:
- Cambridgeshire’s work in developing libraries as community hubs, pursuing an underlying principle of colocating with other community services. They were already working in partnership / integrating services with District Council Services, adult education, children’s services, post offices, citizens advice bureaux and registrars, as well as innovative joint working between North Cambridge Academy and Arbury Library
- investments they have made in opening new libraries, assisted by external funding (for example Section 106 funds from developers), and in designing and refurbishing to achieve enhanced accessibility and flexibility of existing locations
- their work with, and support for, community managed libraries across the county, covering systems, stock, staff and training
- further developing and growing regional consortium working via SPINE (Shared Partnership in the East) to achieve savings and efficiencies and wider choice for customers, and also to develop more effective sharing of specialist services and expertise across local authority borders
- the potential offered by the advent of the new combined authority covering the area. They were highlighting the role that Cambridgeshire’s libraries could play in delivering strategic outcomes across the area and promoting them as assets - encouraging commissioners across all services to think ‘Libraries First’ in delivering services to local communities
- the potential to further develop partnerships with a range of higher education organisations in the area, positioning libraries as a way to help them achieve their requirement to demonstrate social engagement
- how the library service had used the Ambition document to help guide and stimulate its thinking on the next stages of reviewing future library provision, and their welcome for the work the Taskforce was undertaking to articulate and make the case for library services, as well as sharing information and learning across the sector through its blogs, toolkits and masterclasses
The chair thanked Cambridgeshire on behalf of the Taskforce for hosting the meeting and for the very stimulating discussion over lunch.
2. Libraries Deliver: Ambition - overview of the action plan
The Taskforce noted the action plan, roadmap and risk assessment documents which had been circulated. The timing of a number of items within the action plan had been affected by the restrictions imposed during the pre-election periods for the local and general elections. The Taskforce Team were in the process of seeking approval to publish delayed items (such as the research undertaken into community managed libraries’ sustainability) as soon as possible.
The Taskforce also noted that a number of the Outcomes leads had still not replied to Nick Partridge with suggestions about which organisations might be approached to seek validation of the proposed Outcomes Progress Indicators the Taskforce had endorsed at their previous meeting. Those yet to reply were asked to do so as soon as possible. It was agreed that the final draft of the proposed indicators would be published via a blog seeking any last minute feedback prior to formal publication.
The Taskforce agreed:
- to feed in any further comments on the next steps for the actions direct to the Taskforce team Project Manager
- to provide Nick Partridge with any outstanding contacts for organisations who could usefully be involved in validating Outcomes Progress Indicators as soon as possible
- to publish the proposed Outcomes Progress Indicators via a Taskforce blog over the coming weeks, seeking any last minute comments or input before publishing a finalised version
3. Libraries Deliver: Ambition - discussion on Outcome 1: Cultural and creative enrichment
The Taskforce has decided to focus each meeting on one or more of the 7 Outcomes. The sixth of these sessions, led by Brian Ashley, focussed on Outcome 1: Cultural and creative enrichment.
The aim of these sessions is for the Taskforce to:
- gain a shared understanding of what each Outcome covers, and the opportunities and challenges involved in meeting the ambitions set out for 2021
- learn about some of the different facets of work involved in taking the Outcome forward
- consider how members could contribute to and support this work over the coming year
To help provide the Taskforce with insights on the different perspectives on working with or through libraries on this issue, presentations were made by:
- Brian Ashley - Director of Libraries, Arts Council England, who presented on current work being undertaken by the Arts Council to support the role of libraries as places to go to experience culture and to co-create
- Neil MacInnes - SCL, who presented on SCL’s work on developing a new Culture Universal Offer, to be launched in the autumn
- James Nicol - Development Manager: Adults, Service Development Team (Libraries), Cambridgeshire County Council, who presented on Cambridgeshire’s work in developing cultural programming across their network in partnership with local communities
- Jane Ellison - Director of Creative Partnerships, BBC, who presented on the BBC’s Civilisations Festival, to be held between 2-11 March 2018, and the potential for libraries to play a significant role in delivering it into communities
- Ed Humphrey - Director of Digital and Enterprise, BFI, who spoke about the BFI’s work to help people explore their local identity more deeply through BFI’s heritage collection of TV and film, and BFI’s vision of how libraries were a natural partner in getting this cultural content out into communities.
The Taskforce noted:
Arts Council England’s efforts to support the cultural role of libraries through advocacy, development and investment - using its powers to convene, brokering partnerships, stimulating cultural and creative opportunities and stimulating new partnership. They were pleased to see the existing growth and strengthening of libraries’ work in this cultural area; in quality, scale and track record of success and positive impact. ACE would also be looking to develop library services’ ability to access funding to develop cultural programmes, by running workshops over the autumn to enhance their skills in bidding for ACE grants.
SCL’s development of a Culture Universal Offer, due to be launched in the autumn, which builds on the strong existing foundations of libraries being places where people can explore and learn about cultural opportunities and resources, and become involved in experiencing culture, and creating things themselves. The Culture Offer aims to attract new library service users through cultural offers, and expand the experience of existing users. SCL wanted to get library services involved in the development of new approaches and find ways to engage them to assist in taking on an expanded role in cultural programming - for example by working with other ACE National Portfolio Organisations from other cultural sectors on a regional basis, to engage them and learn. The Taskforce and its members would promote and support the Culture Offer once it was in place, but it noted that no further input was required from it at this stage.
Cambridgeshire’s experiences of running its Arts Alive programme (which was turning into Libraries Present with their new NPO status and funding) across 10 local libraries in outlying areas. James Nicol shared learning about working with local organisations and cultural consortia to develop a range of activities to suit each branch library, and his experiences of developing volunteers to contribute to these activities. He also emphasised the value of libraries’ role as a trusted space, to help encourage experimentation and raised aspirations.
The BBC’s plans for a Civilisations Festival, which would run between 2-11 March 2018. It aimed to challenge stereotypes about cultural participation and expand the numbers and diversity of those taking part in cultural activities. It would be using a blend of digital channels and also events out in locations (ranging across speeches, debates, performance or workshops). The BBC believed that libraries could be a critical way to reach and engage audiences in the heart of communities, and to encourage a more diverse range of people to engage with the festival.
How BFI was aiming to make its TV and film archive more widely available, and saw libraries as a way to link users with it powerfully, based on the sense of place and association with local history and learning that libraries could bring to the mix. The previously Mediatheque approach was proving difficult to scale up because of shifts in both funding and technology, so BFI would be looking at alternative ways to spread access, whilst needing to resolve some rights issues barriers. Ed Humphrey also mentioned how BFI was trying to get more of its assets shared out in communities; for example, a partnership with cinegi, currently subject of an ACE-funded pilot, which was aiming to get more cultural content out into community spaces by making films available for screening easily and straightforwardly through digital channels. He also articulated the difficulty for cultural organisations in promoting partnership initiatives with libraries, since organisations like BFI were increasingly experiencing reductions in specialist resources experienced in partnership development.
The need for the library sector to develop clear contact paths for partners interested in working with them to deliver cultural opportunities, and the agility to respond rapidly to these approaches; a clear articulation for individual library services of what opportunities could currently be available and routes to exploit these according to local interests and needs; and the skills and knowledge needed to establish library staff as confident cultural programmers.
Brian undertook to use the feedback and ideas gathered during the session to frame specific proposals for further action which would be considered by the Taskforce at their October meeting.
The Taskforce thanked James, Ed and Jane for their contribution to a stimulating and valuable session, and Brian for stepping forward to lead the Taskforce’s debate on this Outcome.
The Taskforce agreed that Brian should draw together the ideas that emerged during the discussion and propose the top 3-4 priority actions (together with thoughts on how actions and consequent impacts can be tracked), to be put to the Taskforce for sign-off at its next meeting.
4. Public Service Mutuals: update
Jonathan Lindley, the DCMS Director of Mutuals, joined the Taskforce to discuss next steps on taking forward the Manifesto commitment relating to promoting and supporting public sector mutualisation, and how his team is supporting library services who are interested in exploring options around new delivery models. The government vision on this issue would be published in the new year as part of the overall Office for Civil Society strategy, alongside case studies on existing Public Service Mutuals (PSMs), which would include library services.
He described the work already done with the Taskforce and Optimo Consortium on pulling together the Alternative Delivery Models toolkit and the 2 masterclasses run for the library sector in March 2017, as well as the targeted grants made available to library services who were pursuing options appraisal. His team was planning to provide a package of support to those considering these options, those spinning out into public service mutuals and to PSMs in their early stages of operation and establishment. This could include things such as CEO peer mentoring (with advisors drawn from small charities/social enterprises), creating and facilitating peer networks, and independent technical advice.
He also talked about the research into the Public Service Mutuals Sector already undertaken for his team by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and case studies produced alongside this. Although these research findings were broadly positive, he accepted that they did not provide statistically valid data. The team was about to commission longitudinal research which would follow 10-15 PSMs over a 3 year period to explore their longer-term performance and sustainability.
Jonathan was inclined to run at least one further masterclass for the library sector in the autumn as the first ones had been oversubscribed, and some other library services had come forward interested in exploring alternative delivery models options since they had been run. He asked for Taskforce views on what further support might be useful for the library sector.
One suggestion was for mentoring assistance to be given to those considering spin-out, to ensure that they fully appreciated the preconditions needed for success before fully committing to the process. Another was for consideration to be given to how something more might be done to target support for decision-makers, to ensure that they were fully aware of the implications (positive and negative) to them of a spin-out, and how these fitted with their wider strategic aims. Jonathan thanked the Taskforce for their ideas, which he undertook to take away and consider in shaping future support packages.
5. Implications of election outcomes for Taskforce work
Following the General Election, and subsequent portfolio reassignments within DCMS, the libraries remit now fell under John Glen, the new Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. He had shown a keen interest in the sector and had already undertaken library visits (even though ministerial time for this sort of activity was under severe pressure because of increased Parliamentary demands). He would be meeting with the Taskforce and key stakeholders, and dates for outstanding meetings were being sought via his Private Office.
Given other pressures, a post-election Spending Review was looking less likely than previously anticipated. In light of the continued messages about austerity for this Parliament, the Taskforce agreed to review work undertaken to date and look in more depth at how long-term and sustainable funding for public library services in England could be secured. There were a range of routes that they wanted to explore further, ranging from:
- securing existing core funding, and pursuing efficiencies within existing budgets
- seeking new funding (for example by pitching for money from the proposed DCMS Cultural Infrastructure Fund or other specialist foundations; or seeking funding linked to specific Outcomes, such as health or business support bids)
- pursuing other forms of revenue (ranging from infrastructure funding derived from developers, income generation, endowment funding or social enterprise revenue streams)
The Taskforce agreed:
- to establish a sub-group of the Taskforce to lead on considering financing options
- to ask the sub-group to bring forward a work programme and/or proposals for practical options and actions that the Taskforce and its members might pursue, jointly or severally (and who might be best placed to lead on each), for the Taskforce to consider at its next meeting
6. Libraries Deliver: Ambition - follow up on Outcome 2: Increased reading and literacy
At its previous meeting, the Taskforce discussed Outcome 2: Increased reading and literacy. Based on that discussion, Sue Wilkinson had drawn together proposals for further action over the next 12 months or so, under 4 topic headings.
The Taskforce agreed that the following actions should be pursued over the coming 12-18 months:
a) Building learning and skills:
- acting as a critical friend to the sector
- as well as continuing to produce case studies, the Taskforce should identify and showcase the learning from these as a way of challenging all to operate at the level of the best
- create training activities around areas like marketing and evaluation of impact, linked to work developing the Public Libraries Skills Strategy
b) Targeted advocacy, including:
- making the case for investment in book stock nationally and locally
- promoting the role library-based reading activities have to play in helping to deliver local government and potential funders’ vision for a literate, healthy, socially active society; and, as part of this, creating succinct, evidence-based messages which everyone could systematically use
- coordinating information on conferences/events where Taskforce members can promote the value and impact of library-based reading programmes; using a template presentation and putting in place a rota for attending/speaking at these
c) Creating a stronger evidence base and measurement:
- support The Reading Agency, SCL and other partners in seeking investment to continue work on the reading outcomes framework and on its use to research the impact of library-based reading for pleasure programmes (covering the difference library-based participation makes to people’s reading skills as well as the wider benefits this brings)
- setting outcomes-based targets around increased usage / take-up / engagement with the books and reading activities which libraries offer.
d) Developing new partnerships:
- supporting the SCL/Reading Agency Books and Reading Group, and the Read On Get On campaign’s Reading for Pleasure Group, in securing new national partners to help deliver shared ambitions on books and reading; and looking for commercial sponsorship opportunities for the sector’s work in this area
- identifying other national agencies we can work with to achieve these goals
7. Long-term, evidence based sustainable planning toolkit (Ambition Action 10)
The Taskforce received a revised version of the proposed toolkit, which had been drawn together in response to its comments at the last meeting. It was now content for this to go forward for further testing and publication.
The Taskforce agreed that:
- Taskforce members should provide any detailed comments on the revised draft, and/or suggestions for any additional case studies, to the Taskforce Team by 21 July
- the revised version should be tested with representatives of the 2 target audiences identified (council policy teams and library service managers)
- subject to any further revisions made in the light of this user feedback, a beta version of the toolkit should be published on GOV.UK by the end of August
- LGA and the Taskforce should develop plans to promote this guidance to target audiences (via a series of blogs, targeted letters to decision-makers, exposure at sector events - libraries and local government policy alike, masterclasses, peer support, etc)
8. Benchmarking framework - prototype sign-off (Ambition Action 13)
Action 13 in the Ambition document called for the Taskforce to ‘Develop and promote a sector-led benchmarking framework that libraries can choose to use to support self-assessment, planning and improvement’.
The Taskforce considered a draft produced by Steve Wood, who had produced a number of similar frameworks for other cultural and sporting sectors. He asked the Taskforce for views on the format and level of detail to be contained within the framework.
The emphasis had been on the framework being a voluntary, self-assessment tool. It was emphasised that, if there was a desire to develop it further into a formal accreditation framework, then changes would be required in both structure and wording. It had also been kept as simple as possible to encourage people to use it in a practical way.
The Taskforce was keen to emphasise that benchmarking was of the library service (not confined to buildings and services run directly from them). It supported the framework emphasising benchmarking the library service role in achieving outcomes; and asked for this to be reflected in the way that the prompt questions were ordered and framed. It felt that this emphasis would help library services to gather evidence which could then directly feed into advocacy efforts.
It also requested work to be undertaken to frame an accompanying narrative, which clearly set out the value and benefits to both library service managers and to senior decision-makers such as council Portfolio Holders. It discussed what support might be valuable to encourage and assist library services to use the framework effectively; for example, museums work on a similar framework had involved specialist development officers in facilitating its use, and also acting as a peer network to provide the spectrum of reassurance and challenge. The Taskforce was interested in exploring whether colleagues from other cultural sectors could be involved to act in this way with libraries; they felt this could provide learning opportunities on both sides, to mutually develop skills and deepen understanding. They also wanted to consider how the benchmarking process and thinking could be built in as an integral part of wider peer support/improvement activities between libraries, rather than as a stand-alone tool.
The LGA undertook to consider how this could be promoted sector wide - preferably linked in with the strategic planning guidance and peer review work. It was emphasised that some face-to-face briefing sessions would be particularly helpful. The Taskforce suggested that the ACE regional representatives in particular needed to be briefed so they could get involved in promoting the framework once established, alongside SCL regional groups.
CILIP were interested in how, in future stages of development, information gathered through the exercise could be gathered and cumulated (anonymised if required) to build a wider picture of library service performance and impact. It offered to talk to the LGA about potential online tools that could be linked to achieve this.
The Taskforce agreed that:
- subject to incorporation of the comments made at the meeting, a draft version of the benchmarking framework should be tested with a range of libraries, with the aim of publishing it as a beta version on GOV.UK by the end of August, alongside the strategic planning guidance
- LGA should give thought to how a support network could be established to provide encouragement and practical advice in using the framework effectively; and ways in which the framework could be established as a tool to be used as part of peer review and improvement initiatives
- LGA and the Taskforce should develop plans to promote this guidance to target audiences alongside the strategic planning guidance, including considering the role that ACE regional representatives and SCL regional groups could play in providing advocacy and support for the use of the framework
9. Developing a Children and Young People’s Strand of the Universal Health Offer
The Taskforce considered a paper written by ASCEL, providing information on work being undertaken jointly with SCL to develop a Children and Young People’s strand of the Universal Health Offer. The initial focus was on childhood obesity and dental health.
- expressed support for the work already undertaken on this new strand of work, including good practice sharing, measuring and demonstrating impact
- endorsed further work being undertaken by ASCEL to scope the development of a library toolkit to target issues of obesity and dental health among 5-11 year olds, and an associated funding bid
- supported the partnership work being undertaken with national stakeholders, and offered assistance in getting wider engagement from further partners if and when required
- requested the partners in this work come back to the Taskforce once the proposal and funding bid has been developed so Taskforce members could consider:
- if there was anything that could be added to strengthen the case
- who might be best placed to fund the proposal
- what support the Taskforce could offer at that stage
10. Ongoing changes by library authorities
The Taskforce discussed the current proposals under consideration by library authorities, and in particular noted that the new Leader of Lancashire County Council had written to the Libraries Minister to indicate that it expects to reconsider previous library closures.
11. Arts Council England: Tailored Review (Ambition Action 25)
In Action 25 of the Ambition Action Plan, the Taskforce undertook that Taskforce members and their organisations would regularly review whether any changes are required in capacity and capability at the national level to ensure they were able to fully support library services in delivering their functions.
The Taskforce noted the findings of the recently concluded Tailored Review of Arts Council England and the Arts Council’s Implementation Plan. These recognised that ACE was strengthening its presence as the development agency for libraries, and that the assistance on offer was becoming more visible to library services, although all members had a role to play in ensuring that opportunities continued to be constantly promoted to their individual audiences.
12. Communications update (Ambition Action 6)
The Taskforce noted the paper that had been circulated on communications activity across all channels since its last meeting.
It also considered whether practical collaborative working on communications could be further improved to articulate and get the Taskforce’s key strategic messages across more effectively, including more active sharing of individual organisations’ activities and plans (along the lines set out in the revised Communications sub-group terms of reference, agreed at the last meeting).
The Taskforce agreed that:
- the Taskforce communications lead would recirculate, and all member organisations would review, the Taskforce communications strategy that had been signed off at the their meeting in October 2016
- the Taskforce communications lead would produce a paper for discussion at the next meeting that explored how communications leads from all member organisations might work more productively together to achieve the Taskforce’s strategic communications objectives
13. Information items
The Taskforce noted progress on the following issues:
13.1 Public Libraries Skills Strategy (Ambition Action 19)
The Public Libraries Skills Strategy (PLSS) was launched by Neil MacInnes in a keynote at CILIP Conference on the morning of the 6 July. The CILIP External Relations Team and representatives of SCL worked on a communications plan for the Strategy, and liaised with Taskforce members on communications to ensure that the sector was aware of, and engaged with, the strategy.
The two organisations were now turning to the question of implementation. A number of the recommendations in the PLSS are already built into the CILIP and SCL operational plans. However, there are also recommendations which will require significant additional investment. Discussions are at an advanced stage about how Arts Council can provide financial support for the delivery of the PLSS. SCL and CILIP will bring an update to the Taskforce as soon as this is confirmed.
The Taskforce congratulated the two organisations on getting this major piece of work completed.
13.2 National Portfolio Organisations
On 27 June, Arts Council England announced the successful applicants from libraries to be in the Arts Council’s National Portfolio from April 2018 to March 2022. The investment, from core Arts Council funding, is to support the delivery of arts and cultural programming that supplements and enhances the core statutory services and delivers Arts Council Goals.
There were seven successful library applicants, including at least one in each Arts Council Area; and one to be a national Sector Support Organisation. They were:
|Who||£ per annum for 4 years||Area|
|LB Barking and Dagenham||£180,000||London|
|Cambridgeshire County Council||£173,745||South East|
|Libraries Unlimited (Devon)||£175,000||South West|
|Suffolk Libraries||£176,000||South East|
|Society of Chief Librarians||£500,000||Sector Support Organisation|
In addition to these seven, there were several organisations who explicitly referenced their partnership working with libraries in their NPO application. They include: The Reading Agency, Get it Loud in Libraries, Spark Arts, Small Green Shoots, The Reader, Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
These are conditional offers and ACE would now be negotiating Funding Agreements which they hope to have in place by February 2018 ahead of the start of investment on 1 April 2018.
The Taskforce congratulated:
- Arts Council England for their successful completion of the NPO process and media coverage of the announcements
- The Reading Agency for achieving ongoing NPO status
- SCL on their new sector support NPO status
- all the other library services listed for their achievement in achieving NPO status
It also noted with pleasure an announcement, made on the same day, that there would be continued funding from ACE for Book Trust
13.3 #cultureisdigital - online platform
The Culture is Digital project was set up in March 2017, but external stakeholder engagement had to be paused during the pre-election period. Now the project had been officially re-launched; it was being championed at ministerial level by John Glen, with continuing support from Matt Hancock as Minister for Digital.
As part of this relaunch, the project team had established an online discussion portal. It had posted a guest blog on the Taskforce blog platform asking as many people as possible from the public libraries sector to engage with it. The platform would be open until early August for libraries to share ideas and examples of their local work on digital culture projects, and Taskforce members undertook to encourage their members to contribute.
13.4 Arts Council research
On 19 July, Arts Council England would be publishing four research reports on the impact of public libraries. These would contribute to informing political and sector stakeholders about libraries’ contribution to public policy areas, and to sharing models of best practice with the libraries sector. They are:
- Stand by me: the contribution of public libraries to the well-being of older people
- Re-writing the story: the contribution of public libraries to place-shaping
- Libraries as community hubs: case studies and learning
- Evidencing libraries: Audience Reach Research findings and analysis
Further reports would be published in the autumn on:
- the impact of reading for pleasure (testing the emerging outcomes framework led by The Reading Agency)
- diversity and equality
In addition, the Arts Council was undertaking a 2 year study (due to report by the end of the 2017 to 2018 financial year) on Rhyme-time and its impact on maternal mental health.
14. Taskforce meetings and governance
14.1 Taskforce minutes
The Taskforce noted that the minutes from the last Taskforce meeting (held in the Free Word Centre on 29 May) had been cleared by correspondence and published on GOV.UK.
14.2 Action log
The Taskforce noted outstanding actions and work underway to address them.
14.3 Forward programme
The forward programme lists the proposed dates and venues for future Taskforce meetings. The Taskforce noted that the next meetings would be held on:
- 4 October in Canning Town Library
- 7 December in Storyhouse, Chester
The Taskforce agreed that members would send suggestions for potential venues for future meetings from January 2018 onwards, or any further items to be programmed for future meetings, to the Policy and Secretariat Manager.
15. Any Other Business
The Taskforce recorded its thanks to Brian Ashley, who would shortly be retiring from Arts Council and the Taskforce. His experience and contribution at the Taskforce table had been invaluable, underpinned by the hard work that he had undertaken behind the scenes to deliver important strands of Taskforce work, such as managing the Libraries wifi programme and the Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone innovation funding, as well as playing an important role in shaping the Single Library Digital Presence project.
Paul Bristow would represent Arts Council England on the Taskforce until Brian’s successor was appointed.
Nick Poole drew attention to Lorensberg’s recent publication 10 Short Stories from the People’s Network. He noted that the People’s Network was celebrating an anniversary in October, and hoped that this could be celebrated as a part of Libraries Week. Jane Ellison mentioned that the BBC was considering reviving the #Lovetoread branding to support the Libraries Week campaign; and the launch of SCL’s new Culture Universal Offer might take place during the week as well.
16. Date of next meeting
The Taskforce’s next meeting would be held on 4 October 2017, between 1300 and 1600. The venue would be Canning Town Library. Barking Road, Canning Town, London, E16 4HQ.