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New Chapter Opens for Lbraries

23 September 2003

Local libraries are to become central to eGovernment delivery, increasing access to ICT and take-up of online services among excluded groups under a major new government "Master Plan" released last week.

The three-year plan developed by Resource (the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries) promises to bring "Framework for the Future", the Government's long-term strategic vision for public libraries, into action. Under the plans, public libraries are to be established as a main access point for eGovernment services, which will see every library provided what is described as an "eGovernment presence". A number of pilot sites should be rolling out new e-services from next March.

There is a strong focus on improving access to services through ICT, including creating new digital library services and plans for a 'virtual reference shelf' being available in every library by the end of next year. The complete Action Plan will be funded by £3 million investment, with the "Digital citizenship work package" receiving £375,000 from the New Opportunities Fund.

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