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UCL Library Services Strategy 2011-2014

Key Performance Area: Widening Participation and Public Engagement

UCL Library Services aims to develop its widening participation (WP) and public engagement (PE) work, recognising that the need for all universities to engage is emphasised by central government and its cultural and educational agencies.  ‘Public’ means, for the most part, individuals and groups with no formal UCL connection; ‘engagement’ covers a range of ways in which the Library can use the best of the Library’s collections, its expertise and spaces on the campus to attract new audiences.  Widening Participation refers specifically to UCL’s outreach to schools in order to attract applications from students from non-traditional backgrounds.

The Library can showcase resources to UCL visitors and reach new audiences through visits (e.g. from/to schools) or via the Web. UCL Library Services will establish lasting and fruitful partnerships with UCL colleagues already working in these areas. These partnerships will help us determine priorities and will inform the approaches we take.  WP and PE are in large part about identifying and attracting new audiences, so the Library must early on identify and engage these audiences with offerings from its spaces, resources and collections.

This is a new area of work for Library Services. Accordingly, many actions focus, for year 1 (11-12), on establishing where the Library is, on mapping successes to date and determining future priorities.



In the period 2011-14, UCL Library Services will aim to do demonstrably more work in the area of Widening Participation and Public Engagement, working with UCL partners to determine when and where such work is required.

  • Create a Widening Participation and Public Engagement Steering Group (WPPESG) to direct the Library's work in this area.
  • Analyse current WP and PE work and determine successful approaches and future priorities.
  • Review opportunities for WP/PE regarding London and/or UCL History, on the basis of the Library's collections, its spaces and access to intellectual history.
  • Review the Library's Exhibitions work, with a view to more explicit connections between exhibitions and WP/PE/public events.

The Library will develop innovative engagement tools and events to complement ‘in-person’ visits to libraries, exhibitions and so on.

  • Increase the network visibility of digital exhibitions, Special Collections etc., with a view to enhancing their potential as WP/PE resources.
  • Produce a Web guide to the life of UCL’s libraries, designed to meet the particular needs of various types of visitor/enquirer/interested party, offering alternatives to in-person or group visits.
  • Examine the scope for the Library's spaces to act as public venues (e.g. musical, art or theatrical) in ways that would enhance WP/PE.
  • Determine the potential of engagement schemes focusing specifically on collections.
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