With the Libraries Taskforce funding secured for the next four years, it’s good to see that the public library’s role in digital enablement is being backed and progressed. This follows the news that 99% of public libraries in England will be able to provide free Wi-Fi access by end of March 2016, now the application process has been completed for the £7.4m Wi-Fi funding being administered by the Arts Council. A further £100,000 is enabling 16 authorities to pilot new programmes for advancing digital skills targeted at those from more isolated or socially excluded groups – an initiative undertaken by the Taskforce in partnership with the Tinder Foundation.
The importance of this work was highlighted at last month’s PMLG conference. Libraries are indispensable to a healthy and prosperous society and their work supporting digital enablement was a key focus of discussion throughout the event. In short, the skills and opportunity to get online are commonly agreed as being essential elements contributing to well-being, both for individuals and on a wider economic level.
As a technology supplier to public library authorities throughout the UK, Lorensbergs supports the services libraries offer their communities. It’s our aim to progress the digital offer through our netloan computer and Wi-Fi management solutions and we gained many invaluable insights from being on the ground at the inaugural conference. Please look out for the next issue of Access magazine from PMLG for further reflections on the conference proceedings.
Acknowledging progress and achievements
The digital enablement provided by libraries is of course only one of many crucial roles they play in supporting health and wellbeing. Throughout the PMLG conference there were examples of how libraries are looking to develop a more structured approach for sustaining and acknowledging their extensive work and achievements...