The Society of Chief Librarians is rebranding as a new charity called Libraries Connected.
The charity launched on Thursday (7th June) at a national seminar which featured the new libraries minster Michael Ellis and Arts Council chair Sir Nicholas Serota.
Like the SCL, Libraries Connected will remain a membership organisation representing library services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will look to build on its previous work, "supporting and advocating for the power of libraries at the heart of local communities".
New investment from Arts Council England has enabled the charity to recruit its first ever chief executive and a small team of staff, alongside its members, which will increase its capacity to deliver work and improve the service it offersmembers and partners, the organisation said.
The charity has been accepted as an Arts Council sector support organisation for libraries and will be granted awards to offer support services to the arts sector.
A spokesperson for Libraries Connected told The Bookseller: "Our new name is a sign of our ongoing commitment to developing our services in partnership with the sector. We will strengthen our existing partnerships and use our new position as a sector support organisation to deepen cooperation between libraries, other ACE funded organisations and the rest of the cultural sector."
Serota said that the Arts Council was "delighted" to be supporting Libraries Connect in its new chapter.
"At the heart of their communities, libraries offer access to so many opportunities in the realm of culture and imagination, support so many government agendas, including health and digital inclusion, and help so many to find the information they need", he said. "We look forward to helping them develop and thrive and to working closely with them in our developmental role."
The new charity launched at SCL’s national seminar, which this year examines the ways in which public libraries are embracing the ever changing digital world to engage with a rapidly developing audience. The event on 7th to 8th June draws together around 130 library leaders, partners and government figures to discuss innovative new approaches in the sector.
Nick Poole, chief executive of CILIP, the library and information association, said the organisation was "looking forward" to working with Libraries Connect and that it "welcomes the new opportunities that are opening through its creation and Arts Council funding".
He added: "It is important to have as many strong advocates for the library profession and the services we offer as possible."
The seminar also saw Mark Freeman begin his role as president, taking over from Neil MacInnes.
Freeman said: "I am honoured to take on the role as the first ever president of Libraries Connected. This is an exciting time for our organisation and I am indebted to the exceptional work carried out by Neil and the team over the past two years that have helped make all this possible. I look forward to working closely with the Arts Council to deliver our vision for libraries."
Libraries Connected – under its previous guise of the SCL – was recently embroiled in controversy after it signed a deal with the Home Office to provide biometric visa support in libraries.