The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) launches the Universal Culture Offer today (Thursday 26 October) at the Central Library in Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. This new offer seeks to build on the excellent work already happening in libraries to bring new and diverse cultural experiences to local communities.
Public libraries have a key role in developing the audiences for arts and culture around the country. In libraries people can try out and learn new creative skills. They can experience performance, visual arts, digital arts and meet actors, dancers, poets, writers who excite, inspire and challenge.
In 2012 Arts Council England became the development agency for libraries and this became the catalyst for library services to further explore the potential for arts and cultural activities within libraries.
The Culture Offer has been developed for SCL by Meta Value, following detailed consultation with the library sector, stakeholders and partners. It is the latest in a suite of programmes which together develop and promote the role of a modern public library service.
The offer will be launched by Darren Henley OBE Chief Executive of Arts Council England, who, said: As the development agency for libraries, the Arts Council has been funding cultural activity in libraries for many years and, in 2018, seven library organisations will join our national portfolio for the first time. We are absolutely committed to supporting communities to experience the best of arts and culture wherever they live and we know that libraries act as community hubs providing access to creative experiences, inspiration and knowledge in a trusted environment. Im delighted to launch this Culture Offer in Hull and look forward to seeing how partnerships develop and the diverse cultural opportunities it will help bring to people across the country.
Neil MacInnes, President of SCL, said: We are delighted to be launching the Culture Offer at a time when libraries are playing an ever stronger role in the cultural life of the nation. Many library services have received Arts Council England funding in the last five years and next year, six library services will become Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations. We know that the cultural offer will play a significant part in libraries development over the next four years and we are looking forward to the new partnerships and creative opportunities that it will provide.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, said: We are delighted to host the national launch of the Society of Chief Librarians Universal Culture Offer at the Central Library, particularly during our year as UK City of Culture. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase many of the exciting events and activities that take place in our libraries across the city.