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UK LIBRARIES RECEIVE£20m FUNDING TO SUPPORT ICT EXPERTISE: STAFF TRAINING PLANS GET THE OK

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The massive programme to train all UK public library staff in the effective ...
The massive programme to train all UK public library staff in the effective
use of information and communications technology (ICT) has completed its
final approval stage. Nationwide, library authorities will benefit
from the£20m New Opportunities Fund programme, funded through
national lottery, to guarantee that all 40,000 public library staff have
training which will equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to
use ICT effectively in their day-to-day work and to use new technology to
benefit the users of public libraries.
The support of expert and knowledgeable staff will be essential for many
people wanting to take advantage of new digital services and online learning
opportunities in their local community library. Library staff will be able
to guide them not only through using the equipment, but also help them find
what they want from cyberspace.
This£20m programme for training public library staff is part of the
People's Network project to install ICT learning centres connected to the
Internet in all UK public libraries by December 2002. The fund is providing
£100m from its CALL programme for learning centre infrastructure in
public libraries and a further£50m to develop digital learning
materials for the web through the fund's Digitisation programme.
The People's Network programme is managed as a partnership between New
Opportunities Fund and Resource: the Council for Museums, archives and
Libraries. Resource provides professional advice on the public library
sector and technical expertise to ensure effective development and
assessment of plans, their successful implementation and evaluation.
Chief executive of the New Opportunities Fund, Stephen Dunmore, said: 'This
training will have a huge impact on staff and users. In order to help
first-time users and provide the 'map to the maze' it is essential for staff
to have a good understanding of what computers can do. This comprehensive
training scheme, alongside programmes to bolster computer hardware and
create exciting web material for everyone to access, will help revolutionise
libraries.'
With over 60 per cent of the population as regular users of public
libraries, the contribution that the national lottery, through the New
Opportunities Fund, is making to the public library network and the ability
of ordinary people to get on-line is enormous.
Stephen Dunmore continued: 'Internationally, other nations are investing in
their library hardware but in the UK we're also investing in people. This
demonstrates our real commitment to the importance of reaching out to local
communities effectively. We are at the cutting edge of the international
scene and interest in the programme has been raised from the Netherlands and
Hong Kong.'
Success stories from the New Opportunities Fund ICT library training
programme
1 Roy and Doreen Pavitt, Essex Library Service
My wife and I would like to express our appreciation for the excellent
service Writtle Library gives the villagers of Writtle, in particular the
free internet service which is now available. We tried it out for the first
time this week and approached the computer with some apprehension, as we
have no experience of these things. However the library assistant was most
helpful and patient with us enabling us to send an email to our
granddaughter at university, and more than that, but to be given our own
email address and to actually receive an email in reply. This has brought a
great deal of pleasure into our lives to be able to do this. I am 74 next
month and thought that computers were well beyond my capability. We were
pleasantly surprised to be able to use this service. Thank you to all those
who have made this possible.
2 Knowsley library service user
I am a 57 year old and have never, up until recently, had an interest in
computers. Perhaps I was afraid of them. But in January this year, after
enforced retirement, I enrolled at Huyton library for an Open Learning
Course in Information Technology. I am very proud of myself because I now
have four certificates in Word, Excel, Access and the Internet. My tutors
are even more proud of me as I suffer from dyslexia. Using the internet has
opened up a whole new world of information for me - so thank you for the
free access and tuition.
3 Patrick Mills, Cambridge library service
I have just completed six weeks' use of the internet at Arbury Court library
and feel I must congratulate you on this facility, the quality of the
library service, and the great atmosphere in this library generally. I knew
nothing about using the 'net' when I started, but the helpful staff and
other users soon got me into it. It has provided really useful information
for me in my job search. I have also used the newspapers and Yellow Pages
available. Altogether, I feel that this library offers local residents a
first-class, very friendly service. Congratulations and thanks to all
round!
4 Mrs Issidy Hafner, Powys Library Service
I would like to express my grateful thanks for the library in Llanfyllin.
The two librarians are so helpful...and finally I was able yesterday to
research on the computer (with help!) an illness that my two-year-old
grandson is suffering from - epilepsy - which hitherto I knew nothing very
much about. As an absolute cynic on computer usage I was converted by the
help and patience of Gwyneth into thinking 'not a bad idea after all'! And
so I felt I should write and I have - instead of reading complaints you are
reading nothing but praise.
5 Y Jeewa, Walsall Library Service
From a student's perspective, the learning centre is excellent. I can access
law reports. My tutor, based in Southampton, can send me work via the
Internet. I can research my subject via law web pages and print them. Of
course all the staff are very helpful and it is always 'a service with a
smile'! Thanks.
NOTES
1 On July 5 funding allocations to all library authorities have been approved.
2 The programme was developed with assistance from Resource. After
gathering information on staff numbers and working hours, a per-capita
funding allocation was determined for each library authority. Each library was authority has been required to produce a training plan setting out how staff would achieve the standards set out in the fund's guidance. There have been three two-stage rounds to the process of approving plans over the last 14 months, drawing upon peer review and expertise from the library community. This announcement represents the
completion of this approval process.
3 The country breakdown is as follows:
England:147 out of 152 library authorities have approval for staff
training plans (5 plans awaiting final approval)
Scotland: 32 library authorities have approval for staff training
plans
Wales: 22 library authorities have approval for staff training
plans
Northern Ireland: 5 library authorities have approval for staff
training plans
4 Training providers accredited to offer the ECDL element for the
programme vary with different authorities and involve a wide range of
organisations including commercial trainers, local authorities, colleges,
and public library consortia
5 ECDL is the European Computer Driving Licence, an internationally
recognised standard of a good level of professional competence. Though not
an expectation, many authorities have chosen to take this route because its
modular syllabus incorporates the main elements of basic ICT literacy.
6 Other expected outcomes in the training programme assist public
library staff to carry out their roles and include supporting reader
development, supporting users to ensure effective learning, and finding
things out on behalf of users. A series of advanced training outcomes have
also been developed covering library staff roles as net navigators,
information technology gatekeeper, information consultant, information
manager and educator. Although not mandatory, all authorities have taken
advantage of the opportunity to offer their more experienced staff these
courses.
7 The People's Network will provide access to digital content and
e-services, government and community information and services related to
reading and learning opportunities.
8 The Digitisation programme (£50m) is developing learning materials
covering a wide range of topics including arts, science, history, geography,
citizenship and community information for Internet access. Project grants
were announced on Monday 2 July 2001.
ABOUT THE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FUND
The New Opportunities Fund distributes national lottery money to health,
education and environment projects across the UK. We intend to support
sustainable projects that will: improve the quality of life of people
throughout the UK; address the needs of those who are most disadvantaged in
society; encourage community participation; and complement relevant local
and national strategies and programmes. Funding for programmes is divided
between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on the basis of
population weighted to reflect levels of deprivation.
EDUCATION PROGRAMMES ACROSS THE UK
COMMUNITY ACCESS TO LIFELONG LEARNING -£200m
To help close the gap between the computer haves and the have nots. It
will enable many more adults to access ICT learning opportunities. The
programme will use£100m to support the development and running of a
network of learning centres (ICT) with online computer access to information
and community resources. A further£100m has been set apart for the
People's Network which is putting computer technology into public libraries.
The People's Network is a comprehensive programme of public ICT provision
co-ordinated by Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, a
strategic agency working with museums, archives and libraries. Resource has
three main objectives, to provide strategy, advocacy and advice. The
organisation undertakes work in all three of these areas to improve the
context in which museums, archives and libraries operate and to improve
services for users and potential users. Resource provides expert advice and
guidance on the development and implementation of the New Opportunities Fund
ICT training programme for library staff as part of its work with the Fund
on the management of the People's Network project.
ICT TRAINING
£230m for ICT training for teachers and school librarians;£20m for ICT training for public library staff;
A further£50m will put information that supports lifelong learning
into digitised form.
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