As leaders of the strategic development and quality assurance of NHS funded library, information and knowledge services, HEE was pleased to submit a response to the open consultation on Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016 – 2021.
Our response from HEE was prepared in consultation with the strategic Library and Knowledge Service Leads supporting Local offices of HEE around the country, and approved by the HEE Executive Team on 24 May.
You will see that broadly speaking we welcome the shared Ambition for Public Libraries in England proposed by the Libraries Taskforce. We note the wide range of bodies that have been involved in its development, the ambitious view that it takes and the emphasis it places on public libraries as central to the development of communities, underpinning reading and literacy; health and wellbeing; economic growth; culture and creativity and learning.
Cradle to grave
We particularly welcome the recognition that public libraries are a “cradle to grave service”; that they are vital to both the physical and mental health of the public and that public libraries support the development of digital literacy.
For the Taskforce to consider
We present a number of observations and suggestions for the Taskforce to consider relating to digital literacy, collaborative working and evidence-based planning and not least to workforce. We emphasise that it is well-trained, experienced and qualified library staff that design, deliver and evaluate the library service.
HEE would be happy to be proactive in supporting the implementation of your Ambition for Public Libraries in England in an appropriate way, and to meet to discuss this further.
David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North
Sue Lacey Bryant, Senior Advisor, Knowledge for Healthcare, HEE