Arts Council England (ACE) is launching a series of podcasts to highlight the "positive impact" libraries have on the community.
The podcasts cover three themes including libraries and the early years, which involves looking at the impact libraries have on young people; libraries as an enabler, which explores how facilities enhance lives; and libraries and digital, which will examine how technology is benefitting libraries and communities.
Each podcast features a panel discussion with a regular contributor and representatives from libraries around the country. They also include case studies looking at projects in libraries that have been funded by the Arts Council.
The first episode, "Libraries for young people", features Elaine Wilkinson, reading development manager of Vivacity, which creates arts programmes in Peterborough aimed at engaging young people in literature and storytelling. There is also a panel discussion with actor and author Tracy Ann Oberman; Sarah Mears, library services manager for Essex County Council; and Owen Hutchings, arts in libraries officer for St Helens Council. It is available to listen to here.
Darren Henley, chief executive at Arts Council England, said: “Libraries are treasure troves of knowledge, available to everyone in the heart of communities across the country. We know that Libraries are amazing places for books and literature, but they're so much more than that. These podcasts do a fantastic job of showcasing how just many wonderful things they do and the deep connection they have with their communities, both as great physical spaces and as digital cultural hubs.”
ACE will be publishing one podcast a week for the next three weeks.
Further to this, the organisation has recently published four research reports that explore the impact of public libraries by detailing the "important contribution" they make to a range of national and local policy areas, including place-shaping and the well-being of older people.