Community libraries: guidance from the Arts Council

Arts Council England,
22 January 2013, England

The report, Community libraries - Learning from experience: guiding principles for local authorities, provides a snapshot of the various ways communities are involved in library services in England.

It has been produced in partnership with the Cabinet Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Society of Chief Librarians.

There has been rapid growth in community involvement between January 2011 until July 2012 as local authorities and library services have responded to changing times. Research indicates that in July 2012, five per cent of public libraries had some element of community involvement, and the findings indicate this figure could rise to around 12 per cent in the near future.

It is also evident that 95 per cent of current community managed libraries are operating in partnership with their local authorities, and remain part of their local statutory provision.

This research is one part of the Arts Council's work with libraries. Together with Envisioning the library of the future (due to be published in Spring 2013), the Arts Council's programme of research and debate on what the library of the future could and should look like, this latest research will help to define the Arts Council's long term strategy for libraries.

More details on the Arts Council's work with libraries, including the Libraries development initiative, which is a partnership with LGA, can be found here.