The Brief

Public libraries are a valued and trusted resource at the heart of communities. They foster learning and social, cultural and economic wellbeing.

‘Shining a Light’ is the Trust’s unique set of publications showing how people in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales use public libraries and what they think of them. It is the only research on public libraries that enables comparisons to be drawn between the jurisdictions of the UK and Ireland.

The publications provide data about levels of use, frequency of library use, people’s attitude to public libraries and what people say would encourage them to make more use of libraries. The research is based on over 10,000 interviews conducted across 2011 and 2016 and was carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Carnegie UK Trust. You can view the key data here.

Libraries cannot stand still in a changing world and many are exploring different ways of working and re-imagining the range of functions they can fulfil. The Trust supports the future for libraries and is currently supporting leadership and innovation in public libraries through Carnegie Library Lab. We are also working in partnership with Wellcome to deliver Engaging Libraries – a programme to enable public libraries to experiment with public engagement on health and wellbeing issues. We have also developed an advocacy resource showcasing libraries’ contribution to wellbeing and key policy areas, and we played a leading role in the development of the first National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland.

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Jenny Peachey

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