Two new schemes to support libraries that could be “the missing piece of the puzzle” are being piloted by Libraries Connected.
The projects will see a national programme manager and regional engagement team to broker support and improve collaboration between library services. A national subject expertise bank to provide specialist advice on things like income generation, mentoring and service reconfiguration.
Both pilots will be funded by the Libraries Taskforce and run until March 2020.
It comes after a report commissioned by Libraries Connected from Activist Group suggested a new support model with five ways to help safeguard the service’s future.
Commissioned using Arts Council England funding, the new model recommends a mix of support for libraries regionally and nationally alongside collaboration between different library services.
The model highlights the need for an online portal sharing advice and tools to help manage innovation, along with an advocacy campaign.
In its entirety, the scheme would require £1.7m investment over three years, mainly through reallocation of existing investment, Activist Group said.
Mark Freeman, president of Libraries Connected, said: “This comprehensive model for regional support has been the missing part of the puzzle for too long. Through this programme, Libraries Connected will be able to deliver strategic support at a local and regional level that will help libraries to meet the structural challenges they face.”