Local and regional editors across the UK are invited to partner with local libraries as they gear up to launch exhibitions exploring the role news plays in society. On 24 February, more than 30 public libraries across the UK will launch pop-up displays exploring 500 years of news, inspired by a major British Library exhibition ‘Breaking the News’ which is supported by Newsworks.

With many drawing on individual collections and regional connections, the libraries’ pop-ups will explore what makes an event news, press freedom, issues of trust, as well as a selection of news stories spanning 500 years of news production in Britain. Delivered through the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network, the displays will kick off with the ‘Breaking the News: The Launch Debate’, a public event taking place at Leeds Central Library celebrating regional news and its significance at the heart of communities.

Taking part will be The Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson, journalist and broadcaster Fatima Manji, artist and activist Rachel Horne, and writer Roger Lytollis. The event will be streamed both online and to public libraries nationwide. The major ‘Breaking the News’ exhibition will be open at the British Library in London from 22 April to 21 August 2022.

Newsworks CEO Jo Allan said: “These localised exhibitions will celebrate 500 years of news by showcasing some of the most important local stories while examining the value of news, free speech and the ongoing importance of local journalism to their communities.
“This network of activity across local libraries is a brilliant initiative and will be a great way to lead into the launch of the British Library’s “Breaking the News” exhibition in April, which we are delighted to be supporting.”

News Media Association chief executive Owen Meredith said: “Journalism plays a critical role in our democratic society, and I hope that these exhibitions will really bring that to life for communities across the UK. “Local libraries and local news media titles are both highly trusted institutions within local life and, by working in partnership for these exhibitions and beyond, they can deliver even more value for the public.”

Liz White, Head of Public Libraries and Community Engagement at the British Library, said: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with over 30 public libraries across the UK – from Aberdeen and Exeter to Bournemouth and Belfast – to kick-start a nationwide conversation about the role news plays in our society, ahead of ‘Breaking the News’ opening in London this spring. The Living Knowledge Network enables us to connect with people across the country and this is an excellent opportunity to celebrate regional news and explore its significance at the heart of communities.”