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Community libraries

We believe that thriving local libraries are right at the heart of our communities. However many of our library services are at risk.

Man reading magazine in library

Locality supports new and innovative ways to develop and grow library services so they become more resilient.

We’ve worked with community groups and local authorities across England to help transform library services. We have also led on pioneering research and pilot projects to develop understanding and share good practice.

The Community-managed Libraries Peer Network

In 2011 we established a national network for community libraries: libraries.communityknowledgehub.org.uk which has 230 members.

In 2017, we surveyed the Network and revealed the shared interests and goals of the network and the importance of access to the advice and support they need to run their library services effectively. Read the full report here.

Sign up to the Libraries Peer Network

Membership of the Peer Network is freely available to:

  • Existing community managed or owned libraries
  • Community organisations and individuals exploring or working towards the management or ownership of libraries
  • Local authorities working with community organisations to support effective service and / or asset transfer
  • Parish and Town Councils exploring or working towards the management or ownership of libraries
  • Locality partners supporting the development of community managed libraries.

Sign up to the Network here.

How public libraries can generate income

Income generation for libraries is one of our key areas of research. Locality has led a national pilot project and created guidance on how public libraries can use innovative ideas to generate income.

Community managed libraries

We’ve developed a range of resources for community groups and local authorities, on the best way to transfer library services to community organisation.

Our research is summarised in a series of publications covering guiding principles: Community Libraries Guiding Principles and 10 case studies: Community Libraries 10 Case Studies.

We have also delivered 10 contracts to support local authorities engage communities in service transformation.

boy on bike in library
Image by Friends.sfpl

Rural library services

Locality worked in partnership with OPM to explore Rural library services in England – exploring recent changes and possible futures, Sept 2014.