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An evaluation of community-managed libraries in Liverpool

An evaluation of community-managed libraries in Liverpool PurposeCommunity libraries now constitute a significant proportion of library provision in the UK; however, there is relatively little research on how the transfer to this model has affected those libraries and the wider balance of provision. The purpose of this paper is to broaden the discourse and understanding about the impact of changing libraries to community models.Design/methodology/approachThe paper provides a qualitative evaluation of all the libraries transferred to community-managed models within a large city council region in the UK. Structured research visits were made to appraise each library. These are discussed in the context of published literature and data, both specific to the study area and nationally.FindingsTransferring the management of libraries to community organisations is often reactive and perceived with negative associations. This study uncovers increases in use and diversification of services following transfer; however, support from the local authority and the previous experience of managing organisations are significant factors. The paper also reveals how the successful transfer of a library to a community organisation led to more being moved out of local authority control, but that the support they receive from the local authority can be inconsistent between them.Originality/valueThe paper provides a study of community-managed libraries across a large city council area, affording an in-depth understanding of their impact on overall provision over one region. It will be of value to those involved in library management and service provision at both local and strategic levels, including local authorities and community groups considering library transfer. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library Management Emerald Publishing

An evaluation of community-managed libraries in Liverpool

Library Management , Volume 40 (5): 11 – Jun 10, 2019

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References (11)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0143-5124
DOI
10.1108/LM-09-2018-0072
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeCommunity libraries now constitute a significant proportion of library provision in the UK; however, there is relatively little research on how the transfer to this model has affected those libraries and the wider balance of provision. The purpose of this paper is to broaden the discourse and understanding about the impact of changing libraries to community models.Design/methodology/approachThe paper provides a qualitative evaluation of all the libraries transferred to community-managed models within a large city council region in the UK. Structured research visits were made to appraise each library. These are discussed in the context of published literature and data, both specific to the study area and nationally.FindingsTransferring the management of libraries to community organisations is often reactive and perceived with negative associations. This study uncovers increases in use and diversification of services following transfer; however, support from the local authority and the previous experience of managing organisations are significant factors. The paper also reveals how the successful transfer of a library to a community organisation led to more being moved out of local authority control, but that the support they receive from the local authority can be inconsistent between them.Originality/valueThe paper provides a study of community-managed libraries across a large city council area, affording an in-depth understanding of their impact on overall provision over one region. It will be of value to those involved in library management and service provision at both local and strategic levels, including local authorities and community groups considering library transfer.

Journal

Library ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 10, 2019

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