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Social Inclusion Action Plan

Details of the British Library's social inclusion action plan.

Why we need to implement a social inclusion action plan

To realise the Library's emerging vision, which seeks a society in which the advancement of knowledge is enhanced by connecting people, information and systems, so that every individual's life is enriched by the fruits of research, innovation and creativity.

Our social inclusion action plan will help us to:

  • To attract new and more diverse audiences
  • To attract the best staff
  • To build the national collection so it reflects the cultural diversity of the UK
  • To compete for development funding, so we are better able to develop our collections and, through an integrated range of services, make these accessible to anyone who wants to do research

How we are defining 'social inclusion'

Social exclusion is about more than income poverty. Social exclusion happens when people or places suffer from a series of problems such as unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, ill health and family breakdown. When such problems combine they can create a vicious cycle. Social exclusion can happen as a result of problems that face one person in their life. But it can also start from birth. Being born into poverty or to parents with low skills still has a major influence on future life chances.

We believe the Library's role in supporting the social inclusion agenda is to make its resources accessible to a wider public - by attracting a more diverse audience, and interpreting the collections in ways that will help people benefit from them, through learning, entertainment, stimulation of ideas, etc.

Key aims of the programme

  • To attract, recruit and retain the best from the widest recruitment pool so that we can
    a) meet the needs of a new and changing customer and stakeholder base
    b) maximise productivity and creativity
  • To shape and market our public programmes and services so that they are inclusive and attract takeup from a broader demographic profile
  • To build the National Collection so it reflects the cultural diversity of the UK
  • To develop the way we interpret and exploit the collection, so it can support the needs of a culturally diverse audience
  • To ensure that the Library can repurpose its material so that it is relevant to the regions

Programme strands:

  • Strand 1: Change from within: developing a more diverse workforce and inclusive working practices
  • Strand 2: Marketing the Library to reach new audiences
  • Strand 3: Collection reflects cultural diversity
  • Strand 4: Aid diverse groups to engage/make meaning from collection displays and websites
  • Strand 5: Work in partnership across the library, museum and archival communities
  • Strand 6: Planned programme to support service and workplace improvements for people with disabilities (DDA Action Group)

The managers of the strands, together with representatives from all other directorates, have formed a Social Inclusion Steering Group, to progress the work, monitor progress and ensure activities are linked.

The detailed plans are given in the Appendix for 04/05 (Year 0) - 07/08 (Year 3).

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