One more piece for Christmas!

Thank you and Seasons Greetings

Massive thanks to all CMLs for all the exceptional work you do in your communities. We also want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support. Best wishes for a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year to all.

Short Survey and Monthly Virtual Network Meetings – January 2021

Following on from the Lockdown 1 survey, we would be grateful if you could complete the CML Covid-19 follow up survey to help us understand the ongoing effect of the pandemic on CMLs. It should take you between 5-10 minutes to complete. The link will be live until 7th of January 2021.

Insights from the survey will inform discussions with government policy leads, we will also share outcomes at our monthly virtual network meetings which start on 7th January from 10.30am You can book a place HERE

Digital Skills for Libraries

Please read on for this interesting piece from Chris Clarke, Friends of Jesmond Library.

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity & culture. If that makes you think of Covent Garden and the Tate Gallery, you may not realise that the Council’s wide remit includes public libraries, and in particular, as part of that remit, community managed libraries!

One of the specific initiatives of the Arts Council is the establishment of the Digital Culture Network. This has really come to the fore during the COVID pandemic, not only helping arts organisations with their online marketing and communications activities, but also supporting the development of programmes of online concerts, plays, art exhibitions and staff training.

Now, in a new initiative, the Digital Culture Network has established a programme of “Digital Skills for Libraries” activities, including a series of webinars which will look at key tools and strategies to support library organisations who have taken some of their activities online or are engaging with their communities digitally whilst their buildings are closed, or access is restricted. And one lesson that many libraries have learned over the last few months is that there is likely to be a continuing demand for online activities, even when library buildings are fully open again.

All these webinars are open to volunteers at community libraries, as well as to staff in local authority libraries. And all the webinars organised so far are free, and are recorded so that all the presentations, discussion and follow up materials can be accessed after the event, through the Digital Culture Network website.

I joined the first webinar, on Creating and Delivering Digital Content, held early in December, which included useful tips on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, suggestions for extra bits of kit which might help make your online events more professional, tips on free video editing platforms, and using YouTube. It was interesting for a volunteer, such as myself, to be in a group with a wide variety of local authority librarians, particularly in the discussion, questions and answers.

There will be further free webinars specifically for libraries, in the New Year, but some community libraries may also be interested in some of the Network’s more general webinars, such as one on “How to make your content accessible” on 12 January at 2pm, or “Getting started with live streaming” on 27 January.

Much of the work of the Digital Culture Network is carried out by its network of nine Tech Champions, who each have their own areas of expertise, as well as being physically located in different bases all over England. All the Tech Champions are available to provide specialist one-to-one diagnostic conversations. The network’s website states that this is only available to people who “work for an arts and cultural organisation”, but it has been confirmed that this includes volunteers in a community managed library.

There is much more information on the website and knowledge hub www.digitalculturenetwork.org.uk . This includes information on the full events programme https://digitalculturenetwork.org.uk/events . Another useful start, accessed through the website, is to sign up for the Digital Culture Network’s newsletter.

See you all in 2021

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