Society of Chief Librarians

SCL leads and manages public library services

+44(0)7891 056114

VISIT website


The Society of Chief Librarians leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. SCL is made up of the head of service of every library authority, and advocates for continuous improvement of the public library service on behalf of local people. Since its inception, the Society has grown in strength to become a major local government society acting in partnership with government and other agencies to further the strategic development of public library services.

VISIT website

International Priorities

Work with Libraries2020, the EU foundation libraries project, on advocacy. 

Key Strengths

Universal Offers for Public Libraries--Health, Reading, Learning, Digital, Information and (new in summer 2017) Culture. The Universal Offers have been informed by customer research, tested with stakeholders and customers and developed in partnership with the Reading Agency and Arts Council England. The aim of each of the offers is to develop a core package of partnerships, resources and advocacy messages at a national level which can then be delivered locally and shaped to meet differing local needs.

The Universal Offers provide a positive vision for the future of public libraries; they are a promise to our customers and a commitment to quality provision across these five core areas of our service. The Universal Offers aim to ensure that all aspects of the library offers are accessible to everyone that wishes to make use of them and therefore each of the offers are underpinned by the Six Steps initiative to ensure access for people with visual impairments and the Children's Promise developed by ASCEL.

They enable us to share costs and resources - they provide value for money ensuring that we are not duplicating energy and funds on developing individual offers/schemes across 151 individual library authorities. They are also a powerful advocacy tool for Heads of Service to use within their own local authority when making the case for libraries and evidencing the difference that they can make to communities.

Seeking Partnerships With

Arts and culture organisations. Private sector.

Purpose of Partnerships

Collaboration, increasing the reach of libraries and helping inform people about what libraries offer.