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Emerging Learning from Engaging Libraries in Lockdown

Category: News

The Engaging Libraries programme, delivered by Carnegie UK Trust, supports library services across the UK to run public engagement activities on research within the themes of health, society and culture.  The Trust has published a new digital learning leaflet, sharing what has been gleaned from the delivery of digital public engagement activities by two projects during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and first national lockdown.

Phase 2 of the Engaging Libraries programme began in November 2019, with a cohort of 16 library services. Progress has been significantly impacted by the extraordinary circumstances of a global pandemic, which have brought specific challenges for those who wish to engage with communities in a truly participative and interactive way.  Engaging Libraries participants were encouraged to take time to adjust and most of the projects now plan to run their activities during 2021. However, two of the Engaging Libraries projects adapted their projects and have delivered digital engagement activities during recent months.  Redbridge, Newcastle and Kirklees library services worked together to help communities explore the themes of death and dying, whilst Falmouth Library ran AccessLabs, bringing researchers and citizens together to explore research about climate, environment and health.

This month the Trust has published a summary of the learning that emerged from these activities, recognising the value in sharing this not only with the rest of the Engaging Libraries cohort, but also with the libraries sector and those with an interest in developing public engagement methods for the Covid-19 context.

Whilst significantly different in scope and scale, the activities run by the two digital projects enabled two-way interaction and conversation.  An independent evaluator of the Engaging Libraries programme found that 87% of participants felt that they had learned something new, and 86% agreed that they had become more interested or curious about the topic as a result of their involvement. You can read the leaflet here.


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