Boost for access to information

May 28, 1999

University, college and school libraries are joining forces with public libraries in Newport in a venture aimed at improving access to information and learning resources, writes Kam Patel.

Collaborators include University of Wales College, Newport, and Gwent Tertiary College. Three health libraries and the Office of National Statistics are also involved.

Janet Peters, head of library and learning resources at UWCN, said a major objective of the scheme was to support the government's lifelong learning programme by providing learners with access to a wider range of information. Mrs Peters said: "Many people will gain through being able to use the university library and further education libraries for reference. With greater awareness among librarians of the integration of services, we should be able to speed up access of material."

Sponsors of the scheme, which will link up with local Training and Enterprise Councils and the University for Industry, include Dillons the bookstore, library book suppliers Dawson and publishers Dorling Kindersley.

Mrs Peters said the scheme would allow joint funding bids to be made to obtain books and other resources that libraries could not afford individually.

One of the first "shared purchases" is likely to be a complete set of British Standards costing around Pounds 10,000.

The Newport Library and Information Services is the latest example of local authorities and institutions integrating information and learning resources to promote lifelong learning. Similar ventures include HATRICS in Southampton and LASH in Sunderland.

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