The Arts Council England, the body tasked with looking after public libraries in England, has recently* published the report Community libraries – Learning from experience: guiding principles for local authorities with the Local Government Association on different ways in which communities are involved in library service delivery in England.
You can read the DCMS press release on their website and follow the links to the three parts of the report from there, or from here: a summary briefing, 10 case studies, and guiding principles for local authorities who are considering reviewing the delivery of their library services to work with their communities.
The publication of the report generated quite a bit of discussion on library mailing lists, Twitter and on other channels. Some reactions from different organisations are included here for your perusal:
- Voices for the Library response
- Third Sector comment
- Public Libraries News summary and views
- Bookseller comment
- CILIP response (“Chartered Institute warns of dangerous “headlong rush” to create more community managed libraries”
- the Women’s Institute response (“WI welcomes Arts Council research but warns that it fails to address community library volunteers’ problems.“) The WI have also produced their own report on volunteer run libraries which is available in a pdf here or from their press release about it.
- CILIP Cymru Wales response, with commentary on situation in Wales within context of changes across UK
It’s probably fair to say that the reaction to the report hasn’t been very positive. Just in case I’m accused of anti-England bias, there are some public library services in Wales who are trialling different delivery mechanisms in a couple of branches (e.g. Conwy and Carmarthenshire) although it’s too early to say what their outcomes are yet.
*Late to the party I know, but I’m banking on some of you also having been very busy lately and not had time to pick up on this topic yet. (If you’ve read it all, you can probably skip this post!)