BBC NI and Libraries NI announce new plans for partnership

BBC NI and Libraries NI announce new plans for partnership
Published 20 Feb 2020

BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI marked their successful partnership today with the roll out of a new archive resource in all libraries across Northern Ireland and the announcement of a series of library based BBC events at locations across the region.

Now in its fifth year, the partnership has involved the two organisations working together to celebrate books and reading with a range of events and output across television, radio, online.

Book Week is a joint BBC and Libraries NI initiative. It has grown in scale and ambition and 2019 was its most successful year to date with new events, large audiences and the highest number of new borrowers in a month since Libraries NI was established 10 years ago.

The launch of these new partnership projects took place in Lisburn City Library today with an announcement by Peter Johnston, Director BBC NI and Jim O'Hagan, Chief Executive of Libraries NI.

From today, visitors to libraries across Northern Ireland will be able to access footage from BBC Northern Ireland's archive. The collection of more than 1,500 programme clips from the 1950s and 1960s includes news reports, documentaries and lifestyle programmes of the time. This ground-breaking initiative will make a large and diverse cross-section of the BBC's archive publicly accessible for the first time. And there are plans to release additional collections of material on a phased basis over the coming period as part of work being undertaken by the local BBC Rewind team.

Also announced today was a brand new series of events called BBC Comes To Town. This will involve BBC programmes and teams getting out and about across Northern Ireland. There will be interactive displays, outside broadcasts, careers advice and much more besides. Each of these visits will use the local library as a temporary BBC broadcast and activity centre.

Peter Johnston, Director BBC NIsaid: "The partnership with Libraries NI has gone from strength to strength reflecting our shared interest in providing local people with experiences that inform, educate and entertain.

"Our new archive resource has relevance for people of all ages and it provides fresh insights into everyday life in all its different aspects. The teams involved have created something that combines the power of new technology and the richness of the BBC's archive to create an educational resource that is easy and fun to use. There's so much to discover and lots of things that libraries will be able to do as a result of having the BBC archives on their doorstep"

"We also look forward to working with Libraries NI as we embark on an ambitious BBC tour of regional locations. This is something that we have done in the past and we know how much it matters to our audiences."

Jim O'Hagan, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, said: The partnership with BBC Northern Ireland continues to flourish and the BBC Rewind Archive is another great example of how our relationship provides unique services and opportunities for the public. Libraries NI is uniquely positioned to engage and connect with people at a local and community level and the archive will be accessible right across Northern Ireland, providing another fantastic free resource for many to use, explore and enjoy in their local library.

"We are thrilled to offer such a wonderful resource and are tremendously excited to be involved in future plans."