Author: Chris Batt, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, United Kingdom
This paper will consider the emerging role of museums, libraries and archives as agents for social change and development in the 21st century knowledge society. It will take the example of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council as a model of how it is possible to develop new service offers that attract new audiences to benefit from the collections of England’s museums, libraries and archives. Particular attention will be paid to the exciting opportunities offered by the new information society technologies that make it possible to create virtual collections in cyberspace, designed for the individual use.
CHRIS BATT OBE is Chief Executive of The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). MLA is the Government’s development agency for the sector and is responsible for leading strategic advice on the delivery of services to users, opening up access to the collections held in museums, libraries and archives.
Previously Chris advised on the use of information and communication technologies in museums, archives and libraries, and led the Government’s People’s Network programme. His task was to connect all 4,300 public libraries to the Information Superhighway by the end of 2002, giving universal public access to the rich information and learning resources that are now being created in Cyberspace. It was a project completed on time and in budget.
Until August 1999 Chris was Director of Leisure Services for the London Borough of Croydon where he had worked for over 20 years. Closely involved in the development of Croydon Clocktower, the award winning cultural centre, his responsibilities as Director of Leisure Services included libraries, museums and heritage, the arts, sport and recreation, parks and open spaces, and tourism.
Chris has a keen interest in the development of information technology for public use having been involved with the development of computer systems to support cultural heritage and learning since the mid-seventies. He continues to lecture in many countries around the world and has written many books and papers.
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