This sounds exciting:
England’s public libraries are joining forces to provide a suite of new online services. Enquire, Discover and Read. Managed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) the new services will be available for the first time from a single national website for public libraries with cutting edge 24/7 library services to help answer any question, guide you through the web and explore books and reading online.
The Enquire service will give the public online access around the clock to library and information staff. In a truly innovative move which has involved cooperation with international partners in the US and Canada, questions of any kind are answered in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for free either via a live chat link or by email. Discover helps people to find their way through the online world, bringing together a rich range of resources, from news items and quick links to websites to information about collections and objects in libraries, museums and archives. Users can also personalise Discover to access resources that match their particular interests. Read aims to enhance enjoyment of books and reading by giving people access to great reading resources as well as opportunities to meet other readers either face to face or online.
Together, Enquire, Discover and Read make library services even more accessible to people than ever before, opening up opportunities to connect more and different people to the valuable public services they have on offer.
However, I find myself feeling rather sceptical about it... I have this nasty suspicion that this new service will be used to phase out other services that maybe I'd rather have... Maybe the Government will prove me wrong (which would be nice in this instance !), but I guess I'll have to wait and see. If you want to see the new service, it's available at The People's Network (which seems like a really folksy name to me !)