MLA has brokered an agreement between publishers and library services which allows extended use of free or low cost reference materials.
Ten new online resources have been licensed for English public libraries and local authority museums and archives to help build their collections and offer improved information to the public.
The new agreements have been licensed by The Digital Library Licensing Service in consultation with public librarians, to offer high quality content that will promote public library use and support lifelong learning via the internet. The agreement will also provide access to resources that would not be accessible via search engines.
Highlights include online preparation courses for the driving theory test and the citizenship test, art and fashion libraries, an archive of Rock history and a range of e-books from Usborne. Once purchased for the use of library members, these resources will be accessible online in libraries and from home computers.
Despite this and other development to improve library services, the concept of the library in schools is losing ground. A survey by the British Educational Suppliers Association found that only two per cent of teachers indicated that libraries are more important than investing in interactive whiteboards and other classroom ICT.
The area of the survey focused on training and showed that 13 per cent of primary schools do not have a library as books are kept in classrooms. Nine percent of schools do not provide any training on library-use to pupils. This leaves more than three-quarters of schools providing training in the use of library facilities. However, only half of this group provide access to pupils more than once a week.