Blackburn with Darwen libraries take part in national scheme

Published Tuesday 10 November 2015 at 14:49

Blackburn with Darwen libraries are offering a whole host of learning opportunities for residents as part of the National Learning Offer.

This week the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), the Association of Senior Education and Children’s Librarians, along with the Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey and Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley unveiled new ways for people and communities to learn in public libraries across England.

The Universal Learning Offer in public libraries is for all library users who are offered “first step” opportunities to build their confidence and up-skill, with a particular emphasis on digital skill development.  There are opportunities at all stages of their life as they progress on their learning journey in a familiar, friendly and local environment.

Blackburn with Darwen Library and Information Service is taking part in the scheme to offer a range of self-directed learning opportunities.

They include everything from short film making to a drop in session for job seekers, a library skills workshop for school children to basic IT skills for adults.

Executive member for Leisure, Culture and Young People Damian Talbot, said:

“Our libraries have always been places of learning and it makes sense to extend this and offer events and activities where people can learn new skills in a friendly and welcoming environment. I encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities.”

Libraries are free, open, safe and encouraging spaces to learn.  They offer limitless possibilities for formal and informal learning as the free provision of materials, IT access and study space are augmented with a range of events which promote self-directed and group learning.

The learning offer is for people of all ages as is illustrated by the range of events planned for this week:

Wednesday 11th November

Short film making, Blackburn / 10.00am – 12 Noon

Part of the Arts Council England-funded Community Living Room project.

IT skills for jobs drop in, Blackburn / 10.00am – 12 Noon

Weekly “drop in” is offered to job seekers who need basic IT support.  This is a free service for those who are seeking employment and / or needing to apply for Universal Credit.

Monthly IT skills for Jobs sessions are held at the community libraries of Livesey, Mill Hill and Roman Road, whilst Darwen Library hosts a Work Club every Thursday afternoon.  Contact us for details or check our website at

Visit of primary school class: Library skills, Blackburn

The library service’s Universal Learning Offer helps people to develop new skills and improve their life opportunities. This is a key service role and is relevant to all age groups.

This morning, we are welcoming classes of schoolchildren to Blackburn Library to teach them library skills.  This is a crucial feature of our work as we aim to introduce all young people to our service and register them as members, so that they are able to borrow books and access the internet, outside school.

Thursday 12th November

Art course Blackburn / 10.00am – 12 Noon

Part of the Arts Council England-funded Community Living Room project.

Work Club, Darwen Library / 1.30PM – 3.00pm

Many people need guidance when learning basic IT skills and the library offers “starter” courses at Blackburn and Darwen libraries, with modules covering the use of the mouse and keyboard, setting up an e-mail account and surfing the Internet.

Today’s course at Blackburn is already booked up, but we add names to our waiting list as the course is repeated throughout the year.  We can also direct people to other sites in the borough where similar opportunities are on offer.

Libraries make a huge contribution towards bridging the skills gap and as a result of a recent national training programme more than 14,000 library staff members are trained in digital skills and are able to offer help.  If you have a query, speak to someone at your local library.

Friday 13th November

Pre-school story-time, Roman Road / 2.15pm – 2.45pm

Roman Road Library is welcoming a group from a local nursery school for story time.  Libraries are for life and we encourage parents and carers to use books with their children from the earliest age.  The library service co-ordinates the Bookstart scheme which gifts free books to each child at 9 months and 4 years with the help of Health and Children’s Centre staff. The packs carry the message that reading promotes learning and better life prospects, but in a fun way. Enjoying a story with a child is such a special and memorable experience.

Rhyme times and story times are offered via all our libraries, as are out-of-school events such as arts activities and workshops.  We offer a range of reading games including Summer Reading Challenge which, from July to September, encouraged 4 to 12 year olds to dip into books during the weeks when they were absent from school.  More than 1200 local children took part in the Challenge and some teenage members helped to run the scheme by volunteering as Reading Activists.  These learning opportunities are available, year on year.

Basic IT skills drop in, Mill Hill / 10.00am – 12 Noon

Spread the word: learn in libraries, they’re for everyone and they’re everywhere.

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