Reading Offer
“This age of austerity will end; we have to think about the
future. Let’s not implement cuts in a way that ends up with a
uniformly grey, dull offer to the public, without any real social
impact. We must hang on to the sparkle in the new look
reading service we’re creating. There is evidence of a huge
public demand for our reading groups, author events, rhyme
times, reading challenges, festivals. The new strategy we’re
proposing is about us all putting our collective energy into a
few really big things to keep the sparkle going”
Tony Durcan, Chair of the Books and Reading Group, Society
of Chief Librarians
Shared library reading offer to the
- New strategy combining libraries’ efforts to
develop reading
- One of four SCL “national offers”; reading,
digital, information and health
- Developed with lead charitable partners The
Reading Agency
- Strategy tied to local government
improvement through Local Government Group
logic model
- In England, integrated in Arts Council’s
development plans for libraries
• Reading for pleasure enhances people’s literacy, life
chances and quality of life. It is vital for our prosperity
• Libraries aim to be a force for social change through
reading. They bring people recreation and pleasure,
learning and literacy, health and wellbeing
• Libraries will work collectively to develop their
contribution to everybody’s reading life
• Libraries will develop as hubs drawing communities
together to bring reading alive, physically and digitally
• Libraries will work with the public to co-deliver reading
impact and
value for
skills and
Libraries’ reading
work helps local
achieve key
Health, well
being and
quality of life
strong and
Facts and figures
In 2010-11:
• 314,550 million people visited UK libraries
• Libraries lent 300.2 million books
• Library websites received 114,765 million visits - a rise of
nearly 80% in the last four years.
Strategy focuses on growth areas caused by development of
more vibrant reading offer:
• Children’s book borrowing has risen for the last seven years
• Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge grows each year – in
2011 it involved 780,000 children
• The adult literacy Six Book Challenge grew by a third
between 2010 and 2011
• There are 10,000 library linked reading groups
Rationale: looking beyond the age
of austerity
• Building on growth and public demand for lively,
engaging offer with reading groups, challenges,
author events
• Keeping things moving forward/ continued
• Focusing on doing fewer, bigger things together –
economies of scale and sharing best practise.
• Keeping partners on board and investing;
delivering free resources and capacity and profile
Strategy elements
• 100% of authorities offering agreed baseline elements of contemporary
reading service, defined in LGG Logic Model framework
• Deliver a minimum universal offer locally by using national toolbox
• Aiming for 80% -100% of authorities using prioritised tools in national
toolbox of programmes, partnerships and calendar spikes
• Prioritised tools are those currently used by at least 60% of authorities
• Baseline offer enhanced by use of additional toolbox with national,
regional and local initiatives
• National partners committed to helping deliver the offer
• Shared evidence bank and advocacy statements showing social impact
• Shared approach to workforce development
• Innovation strands: digital, health, public involvement
• Strategic framework for voluntary sector partners to express offer to
libraries, feed in impact evidence etc. Toolbox approach draws in key
partners eg Share the Vision, Booktrust, National Literacy Trust
Logic Model framework
Toolbox to deliver offer efficiently
Toolbox to plan local reading offer
• Baseline reading offer
delivered by using mixture of
local, regional and national
• SCL has prioritised
programmes and
partnerships currently used by
60% of library authorities
• Aim to achieve a minimum of
80% of authorities using the
prioritised elements of the
toolbox – fewer, bigger things
together to generate
economies of scale.
Prioritised shared toolbox to deliver baseline offer to public
Chart shows how different
strands in the strategy
work together to create a
shared offer across the
library network.
The five prioritised
calendar spikes have
emerged from
consultation process – five
focal points in year for a
shared library network
push on reading
There will be an
additional enhanced
menu of activities,
capturing other nationally
brokered programmes
used by under 60% of
authorities, and additional
calendar spikes e.g.
literary prizes
Creative industry partners and pledges
National brokerage/coordination
• Strategy secures
involvement of national
partners by showing
libraries can work to scale
• Depends on capacity in
service to deliver reading
• BBC, 40 Reading Partners
publishers, World Book
Day, World Book Night etc.
• Strategy leverages pledges
(e.g. library joining form in
WBD schools packs; big
name opening new
Shared evidence base and advocacy
Advocacy messages drawn from evidence base and shaped for each outcome area.
E.g. health:
Reading improves health and wellbeing
• Reading is stress busting. Research shows that reading can reduce stress levels by
67 % (University of Sussex)
• An ageing population means levels of dementia are predicted to rise by 61 % by
2026 (Kings Fund). Reading can help prevent the onset of dementia by 35% (New
Eng. Jnl Medicine)
• Social activities based on reading (reading groups/ author events) combat isolation
and bring people together
Libraries have a key role to play
• Libraries offer important health and well being services to the public and health
partners: health information, therapeutic reading and social/recreational reading
• There are at least 10,000 library linked reading groups
Strategy encompasses development plans and
communities of practice for:
• Public involvement/MyVoice
• Digital
• Health: shared books on prescription, mood
boosting books scheme
Next Steps
• 24 Feb: SCL Books Group finalises vision, calendar, FAQs etc.
• After 7th March SCL Exec: invite all library authorities to sign up to principles and buy into prioritised
programmes and partnerships (not contractual/financial).
• Simultaneously invite regions (SCL, ASCEL, reader development fora) to experiment with the approach to
plan for 2012/13 and beyond.
• On going discussions about fit with SCL’s other offers – do they all add up to 3 year development strategy?
• Identify authorities to help shape wider local authority sign up involving the Cabinet Member for libraries,
including in new shared service arrangements e.g. Tri-borough
• LGG think tank
• Progress report/ workshop at SCL seminar, May
• Develop systematic links to Arts Council’s Library Development Initiative, and bid to major new ACE
funding streams
• Further development of evidence base and advocacy messages
• Pilot Universal Reading Offer training course and develop underpinning web resources
• Implement local authority sign up with Cabinet Members (covering 2013-15, to be reviewed end 2013)
• Possible LGG conference on future of libraries and reading
Next Steps: sign up
• Designate senior level champion as point of contact
• Signal if you want to be among the authorities consulting with
Cabinet Members on the approach
• Use the Offer framework to plan for 2012/13 and beyond, as far
as possible
• Use the SCL prioritised tools, partnerships and calendar spikes
as part of your local offer
• Feed in local and regional evidence , linked to URO evidence
• Feed back in August on implications and strengths/weaknesses
of the approach
• Prepare for local authority sign up in September for 2013-15
Next steps: Arts Council funding
Big network bids to take the strategy forward
• Library development initiative (four linked bids
• Touring
• Creative people and programmes (places with
least cultural opportunities)
• Digital innovation (Space)

the Universal Reading Offer presentation