National Libraries Conference, due to take place later this month, featuring authors and publishers aims to ensure the service’s “continued survival” in a digital age, organisers say.

Staged in Harrogate at the Old Swan Hotel on 19th July senior librarians from across the country will be joined by industry experts and leading authors. Keynote addresses will come from chief executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley OBE and best-selling author and libraries advocate, Ann Cleeves.

Stewart Bain, the former senior library assistant at Orkney Library, who will lead a marketing and social media workshop to help attract new audiences to libraries. Broadcaster Mark Lawson will chair a discussion with Bain, book vlogger and librarian Simon Savidge, and deputy editor of The Bookseller, Benedicte Page, on how to engage an audience in the age of the Internet.

There is also a networking lunch, with representatives from publishers including Bonnier, Canongate, Harper Collins, Headline, Orion, Pan Macmillan, Quercus, Severn House and Simon and Schuster. Authors such as Ian Rankin, Mick Herron, Stella Duffy and Vaseem Khan will also make an appearance.

Beth Walker, marketing and communications coordinator at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “Despite the enormous challenges at a time of brutal cuts in the last decade, library professionals have enormous passion for their vocation.

“We wanted to give them a platform that showed they were valued in the literary community, and to use learning from the conference to build on our outreach work to help support and safeguard their future.

“Whilst libraries enrich communities, I don’t think they are as highly valued as they should be. This conference will help give them the skills and knowledge to enable them to write the next chapter in their history, one that attracts a new breed of library user and ensures their continued survival.”

The conference has been organised by Harrogate International Festivals and will take place during this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in the town.

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