Shared Intelligence is one of the most respected providers of strategic advice about public libraries, both to national bodies and individual library services. We have helped clients at all levels ensure public library services are focused on making the greatest possible impact, as platforms for learning, economic opportunity, and inspiration. We analyse technical data to create actionable insight, and use this to develop clear deliverable plans.
Locally we have supported individual library services with strategic reviews – engaging stakeholders and communities to understand local needs, and how needs can be met. We supported over a dozen local authorities as part of the LGA’s ‘Future Libraries Programme’ including multi-borough collaborations in Greater Manchester, West London, and South West England. We have led locally commissioned strategic reviews across the country most recently in Dorset, Wirral, Slough, and Thurrock. These have helped councils align library service delivery with socioeconomic need and strategic borough priorities and provided strong evidence-based cases for change. We also worked with Suffolk Libraries to develop income-generating offers one of which was a supporter scheme which now brings in income to fund service improvements.
Working with national sponsor bodies and support agencies we have informed policy-making and developed sector-support initiatives and tools.
Methods we developed over the past decade for needs-mapping and strategy-mapping have been incorporated into the Government’s evidence-based sustainable planning toolkit for libraries. We also contributed to research commissioned by the Libraries Taskforce which used time-series CIPFA data to identify long-term trends in library use and performance.
Using our experience in capturing and testing impact, and producing compelling written change stories we produced two sets of case studies for the Local Government Association. Re-writing the story contains examples of public libraries contributing to place-shaping, and Stand by me shows the contribution of public libraries to health and social care priorities,
Working with Libraries Connected (formerly the Society of Chief Librarians) we delivered a digital leadership programme during 2015-16. Out of this we created an online and face-to-face Innovation Network which we managed until it was mature enough to hand back over to the Libraries Connected team. It now has 500 members
Our most recent work has been to review the national framework of Universal Offers, streamlining the framework to be used by senior managers as a strategic tool for increasing library impact, and a ‘store-cupboard’ of practical tools for frontline staff.
During 2017-18 we also undertook a ground-breaking action research project with frontline library staff to increase the positive impact of library-based rhyme times on maternal mental health. This unique project combined our work on libraries improvement with wider public service innovation. You can read more about our rhyme times work here.