Bringing libraries across England up-to-date...

According to recent research carried out by Arts Council England (ACE), the development agency for libraries across England, public libraries should be focusing on and prioritising 4 significant areas for development. These are: ‘placing the library as the hub of the community’; ‘making the most of digital technology and creative media’, ‘ensuring that libraries are resilient and sustainable’ and ‘delivering the right skills for those who work in libraries’.

The research, undertaken by ACE to understand the future for libraries and to help identify ways to develop them further, goes hand in hand with topical research carried out by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) a few years ago in which they identified a, year on year, 49% increase in visitor growth to library websites – presenting new opportunities for developing online community hubs and services.

With regular public scrutiny about libraries being ‘outdated’ and a ‘luxury the nation can’t afford’, libraries across the country will need to take close heed of this research and ensure that they are ‘future-proofing’ their service offering to keep up-to-date with market demands. 

Reports that claim library usage in general is declining are not accurate as evidently they do not take into account the number of libraries that have closed or merged as well as the lack of investment available.  Libraries across England are in a state of transformation and rather than their usage declining, it is changing, with a stronger focus on library services being delivered through their website. 

Mi Ventures is an award-winning, online business support service that offers an ‘instant, live chat business advice’ platform for anyone looking to start up their own business or already running their own business to seek help from.  Users can chat directly with professional advisors remotely – either via library computers or via the library’s website.  Hertfordshire Libraries and City Business Library in London are the first libraries to embrace this digital business support revolution.

Director of Mi Ventures, Greg Thomas, said:

“With over 5.2million people across England having access to our live chat, business advice platform already through a range of partnerships, it’s exciting to now see how our service can help libraries to seamlessly offer services virtually.  Libraries now have a real opportunity to engage with their local community online, rather than in their physical premises which can ultimately help them to save money too.”

Additionally, one of the big advantages of Mi Ventures is that it helps libraries to meet targets identified in the recent Government ‘Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021’ whitepaper such as ‘to provide start-up business support’ and ‘to provide e-resources’ which, in turn, encourage ‘digital skills training’ and an ‘increased level of support for the disabled’.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Localism and Libraries at Hertfordshire County Council, commented:

“The recent partnership between Mi Ventures and Hertfordshire County Council demonstrates the council’s commitment to supporting business enterprise in the county, and is just one of the ways that our libraries can use digital technology to improve the services available to Hertfordshire residents.”

With the advent of the e-book and the internet, libraries today have two choices, to fully embrace these new technologies or to be left behind.

If you would like to find out more about Mi Ventures and how it can be utilised for your library, get in contact today on 01438 791 003.