Wi-fi for all libraries by March 2016

Wi-fi for all libraries by March 2016

The Leadership for Libraries task force has given its backing to the creation of national guidelines for libraries in England, and is planning to roll out wi-fi for all libraries in the country by March 2016.

At the second meeting of the task force, set up as part of the recommendations of the Sieghart Review into public libraries in the UK, the panel agreed to look at the possibility of establishing a national framework that could help establish guidelines on how libraries are set up and what they offer.

The task force concluded: "Some sort of framework would be helpful, developed together and setting out the sense of purpose. This should help the library sector to engage externally." However, they stated that any framework must "focus on actions", saying: "Working strategically is more important than setting out and publishing a strategy".

The task force will now recommend establishing a framework to ministers and Local Government Association members, which the task force reports to.

Speaking at the Society of Chief Librarians a.g.m. last week, libraries minister Ed Vaizey gave his own backing to the idea of establishing a framework, saying he was "keen on the idea".

Also at the meeting, the task force discussed the roll-out of wi-fi for all libraries in England, another priority laid out in the Sieghart Review. The roll out is set for launch this summer, with installations happening throughout autumn and winter, with the aim that the project will be completed by March 2016.

The task force is chaired by the chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council, Paul Blantern, with Government Digital Service chief Kathy Settle acting as chief executive of the panel. Other members include BBC head of arts Jonty Claypole, Reading Agency chief executive Sue Wilkinson, and Department for Culture, Media and Sport head of libraries Kiera Shaw. The second meeting was also attended by Vaziey and William Sieghart.