If a reader in Waltham Forest wants a book that is in Wimbledon, the new
London Library Network will search and find it. Through£200,000 of
libraries will be joined up to offer a new service to benefit all Londoners.
What's in London's Libraries (WiLL) is a scheme to unite the catalogues and
databases of the capital's library services. A library user can use a
People's Network computer to search throughout all boroughs for a book, for
information, for a tape or CD using WiLL.
London's 33 public library services with an estimated 3.5 million users are
joining forces to provide the most complex collaborative venture of its kind
anywhere in Britain.
The New Opportunities Fund, the largest National Lottery distributor of good
cause money, is funding best-practice library projects in England under the
People's Network Excellence Fund. The People's Network has£100 million
from the New Opportunities Fund across the UK to equip local libraries with
state-of-the-art computer technology to make the Internet accessible to
everyone in the community. The People's Network programme is managed as a
partnership between New Opportunities Fund and Resource: The Council for
Museums, Archives and Libraries.
The fund distributes National Lottery good cause funding to improve quality
of life and tackle disadvantage through grants for education, health and
Many Londoners feel frustrated that other major cities offer an integrated
service, but an individual currently has access to the services of only
their local library service. Library resources for learning will be
available via a simple and accessible route.
Service by postcode will be a thing of the past as the new WiLL system opens
up London's resources to users no matter where they live. The scheme will
be a strong plank in the social inclusion agenda for the capital.
With six other London projects receiving a total of over£300,000 last
month, the London total for innovative library projects is over half a
David Murray, director of the London Libraries Development Agency, said:
'We are thrilled the project can now go ahead. The capital's libraries are
here to serve Londoners, and when the WiLL scheme is in place everyone will
have equal access to the vast library and information resources available
across almost 400 branches.'
Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the New Opportunities Fund, said: 'The
People's Network is reaching out to communities, particularly those who
would not otherwise have access to new technology. The Excellence Fund is
highlighting innovation and schemes that break down barriers of inequality
across regions and neighbourhoods. All Londoners will benefit from this
David Potts, senior network adviser at Resource, said: 'The London
Libraries Development Agency is to be congratulated on co-ordinating this
remarkably innovative approach on behalf of London's public libraries. Joint
working across local authority boundaries is going to mean an enhanced
service for libraries, and more importantly, wider opportunities for users
to discover the rich resources that those libraries will make available
across the network.'