Working in partnership with london libraries
We have over 14 years experience of working in partnership with libraries and have developed a sound track record of consultancy projects on which to build an ongoing and effective relationship. Spread the Word is London’s leading writer development agency. Based in the heart of London (Lambeth North) our mission is to act as a catalyst for the development of individual writers. We are strongly committed to producing work that is accessible, inclusive, bold, exploratory and playful.
Our services, projects, programmes and consultancy models include:
• Creative writing workshops and Writers’ Residencies
• Database of professional writers who are CRB checked
• Programming including author events, talks and workshops and showcasing writers
• Participative digital media projects including City of Shared Stories: a growing archive of stories about London written by Londoners (www.cityofsharedstories.org.uk)
• Events for writers including information and advice for beginners and specialised CPD for advanced writers including mentoring
• Young Writers programme
• Consultancy and training
This work is funded by Arts Council, London on a regular basis. For further information please visit www.spreadtheword.org.uk
Building on our long standing and extensive experience of working with libraries, we hope to work with you to develop our relationships from a position of ad hoc, one off engagements with individual boroughs to a more coherent, value added and tailored approach. This will allow you to select from a scale of involvement from single pieces of work in your borough to a more explicit and strategic relationship with Spread the Word. You can trust us to help build the evidence to support the case for the role of libraries and culture play, specifically reader/writer development, in contributing to local authority priorities in departments outside the library service. Through this approach we can provide data that supports national performance indicators. For example, the evaluation data of The Word festival in 2006 provided strong evidence to support Stronger and Safer Communities.
This approach (embedding writing activity within library services but with an audience development focus) is expressed in our recent Strategic Review and has received strong support and encouragement from Arts Council, London.
What’s in it for London Libraries?
Audience development - Through strategic programming we can develop revolving door audiences, not one off ad hoc successes. We can provide, using robust evaluation frameworks such as Generic Social Outcomes, audience data that will support the case for libraries and address National Indicator 9. Our work offers an opportunity to attract a new, younger audience, and address key findings in The Laser Foundation’s ‘Destination Unknown’ report.
Workforce development - Spread the Word’s expertise in audience development, programming and community engagement through culture offers libraries key workforce development opportunities. We offer practical training in marketing and communications, how to set up a writing group and run literature festivals.
Networks - Spread the Word offers libraries connectivity to pan London and international literature networks including the South Bank Centre, Apples & Snakes, The British Library, Poetry Society and British Council.
Innovation and change - New technology is blurring the lines between reading and writing and the future of the book is uncertain. Spread the Word’s access to and understanding of new technology and digital media presents a great opportunity for libraries going forward.
Complementing existing provision - The work and approach we are proposing will complement existing provision including the excellent and pioneering Reader Development work that is already taking place across London. It also supports major reading and writing campaigns such as BBC RaW and builds on the success of well-established literature festivals.
Library Change Programme - Spread the Word is committed to the development of a first class library service. The work and approach we are proposing contributes to and supports the implementation of this programme through workforce development and a plan to reverse declining audiences.
Frameworks for delivery on government priorities - Our approach offers libraries a framework to realise key government priorities including DIUS ambition to make
libraries centres of informal learning. It also provides opportunities for working with libraries to deliver on national strategic programmes such as Find Your Talent.
2012 Olympics and Paralympics - A coherent approach to our work with libraries provides a framework for the delivery of Museum Libraries and Archives ‘Setting the Pace’ programme.
Impact & profile - A strategic partnership with Spread the Word would enable libraries to strengthen the services they already deliver, raise their profile with the general public and other stakeholders and achieve greater impact.
Partnership work - a programme of Writers in Residence
Spread the Word has worked in partnership with Newham Library service to run a Writer in Residency project. The aims were:
• Explore innovative ways of engaging local communities with their library service
• Develop new audiences
• Create high quality, engaging outputs such as showcases, exhibitions and workshops
• Create connections between council departments and raise the profile of library service in the council
• Increase community cohesion, confidence and skills
• Increase activity in creative writing
• Create pathways and networks for writers
• Explore the role a writer can play in community development
• Create a sustainable legacy.
Mark Norfolk, the writer in residence, was based at The Gate Library. He was employed based on his professional writing skills and experience of community engagement. Spread the Word provided training/professional development for librarians and a programme of workshops and advice and information surgeries. Each year we ran a borough wide creative writing competition. Mark also developed projects with Age Concern Newham, St. Luke’s Community Centre in Canning Town and East Potential to target over 50s, young boys age 7 - 11 and the white indigenous population. Spread the Word’s vision is to learn from this project and work in partnership with libraries on a borough-by-borough basis or sub-regionally to develop a London-wide programme.
Contributing to National Indicators - understanding your priorities
NI 2 % of people who feel that they belong to their neighbourhoodNI 4 % of people who feel they can influence decisions in their localityNI 9 Use of public libraries
NI 11 Engagement in the arts
NI 13 Migrants English language skills and knowledge
NI 45 Young offenders engagement in suitable education, employment or training
NI 50 Emotional health of children
NI 110 Young people’s participation in positive activities
NI 117 16 to 18 year olds who are not in education, training or employment (NEET)
NI 119 Self-reported measure of people’s overall health and wellbeing
NI 151 Overall employment rate
NI 152 Working age people on out of work benefits
NI 161 Learners achieving a Level 1 qualification in literacy
NI 163 Working age population qualified to at least Level 2 or higher
NI 164 Working age population qualified to at least Level 3 or higher
NI 165 Working age population qualified to at least Level 4 or higher