Carillion is the market leader in the management and operation of public library services in England. Our people and our values form the heart of our business and drive our commitment to delivering safe and sustainable solutions for our clients and creating positive legacies in the communities in which we work.
Our approach focuses on the development of three core strands - meeting community needs, providing an innovative virtual offer and re-designing the physical environment.
Our commitment is long-term, and we work hard to achieve a thorough understanding of your service needs and objectives from the outset, in order to develop deliverable and affordable solutions that provide best value and ensure library services are tailored to local needs.
Increasing access to libraries is centred on continued technological advancements, supporting the ability to deliver a personal approach for our customers, whether face-to-face, through self-service or through the virtual offer and always meeting the individual’s needs. Technology is critically important to library services, both in e-service innovation and enabling the delivery of front-line services at library sites.
We have invested in new technology in our libraries, such as a dedicated website in Hounslow and introducing the latest Library Management System and self-service technology in Croydon, with free Wi-Fi across all our sites.
We see two important aspects to creating sustainable community hubs: the right mix of services that are delivered through them with a sustainable enterprise model; appropriate infrastructure that enables service delivery to be effective and efficient.
Reinventing Local Public Libraries
Summary: Carillion plc and the University of Sheffield aim to re-think local public libraries, identify the requirements of a Library Management System (LMS) capable of delivering the library of the future, and identify further opportunities for collaboration between Carillion and experts at the University of Sheffield.
Collaborative R&D Award (University of Sheffield)
Partners: University of Sheffield and Carillion plc
Subjects: Contemporary culture/society, information management systems, knowledge transfer, museums and galleries
The aim of this project is to undertake research that will enable Carillion plc and the University of Sheffield to re-think local public libraries, identify the requirements of a Library Management System (LMS) capable of delivering the library of the future, and identify further opportunities for collaboration between Carillion and experts at the University of Sheffield.
Carillion is looking to transform and re-energise the concept of local public libraries, addressing the widely held beliefs that local public libraries are under-used, under threat and failing to remain relevant to the communities that they are intended to serve. Carillion’s mission is to re-think and re-invent local public libraries to make them relevant and self-sustaining. It is now looking to build strategic partnerships with experts at the University of Sheffield in order to strengthen its public library offer and to support development and innovation of that offer over the next 5-10 years. Carillion hopes that such a partnership will provide it with access to knowledge, expertise and innovation in cognate areas of research and practice: e.g. cultures of the book and reading, library management, public engagement (public access to new knowledge) and digital humanities (new tech).
The current project will explore how local public libraries might develop in the future in terms of their role within society, the content and technologies they provide access to, the activities that take place within them, the audiences they address and the technical and business processes that are required to enable all of this. The purpose of the project is not to recycle the existing views (both positive and negative) about the future of libraries. Local public libraries are existentially different to national libraries, university libraries and private libraries. As physical spaces they are not necessarily just about books and the reading public. For example, they could be the spaces in which small businesses and citizens discover, interact with and market test the very latest knowledge technologies; or they could be hubs for the very latest self-learning techniques (e.g. MOOC hubs). Clearly the Library Management System needed to drive these types of services will be very different to the market’s existing LMS offer.
Using a combination of desk-based research and cross-faculty ‘futurism’ workshops, this project will identify what local public libraries might be in the future, identify the functional requirements of a new Library Management System that will underpin them, and identify the best business model for Sheffield and its partner, Carillion plc, to develop and exploit the LMS. The outcomes of the project will be: a) a white paper describing the potential roles and activities for local public libraries; b) a technical specification for a Library Management System; and c) a business case that sets out what the longer-term research and commercial opportunities of co-developing and exploiting a Library Management System might be.