The Future of Public Libraries
During 2013 the Trust is working in three main areas, following the publication of research in 2012.
We will be working to support the case for national visions and national strategies for the public library service in each jurisdiction, but particularly in Scotland.
We want to add value to existing understanding of the wide impact public libraries can have on the key indicators of individual and community wellbeing. We hope to work with partners to develop a simple way of demonstrating this value, which will be useful both to policy makers and to service providers.
Finally we are hoping to explore some of the more innovative ways in which libraries can support the development of skills which can contribute to employability and enterprise, with a focus on digital skills.
In 2012 the Trust commissioned research in the UK and the Republic of Ireland which shows that people still love their libraries – but the public library service is at a crossroads and change is needed to respond to reduced levels of public spending, the challenges and opportunities of the digital age, and changes in people’s lifestyles and patterns of behaviour.
Click below for:
- A full report of this research, and its review of the policy landscape.
- A discussion paper which sets out the main questions which we believe need to be answered in all the jurisdictions within the UK and Ireland to move towards a public library service fit for the 21st century.
- A factsheet for each of the jurisdictions (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) containing more detail from the research.
This research builds on a 2011 briefing paper which outlines the Trust’s history of supporting public libraries and how the Trust might re-engage in the policy debate on access to knowledge and the future of the public library service in the UK and Ireland.