Given the recent closures of public libraries in the UK, this study is particularly timely. The highlights of the report are:
- Running libraries in partnership with the private sector, charities and other councils.
- Extending the reach and range of library services by integrating them with other community facilities like churches, shops and village halls and providing public services such as health centres and the police surgeries in existing libraries.
- Sharing services like back offices and mobile libraries with neighbouring local authorities to make stretched resources go further.
- Giving library users the ability to play a more active role in running library services themselves.
Continuing with the theme of public library closures, this article serves as an interesting paradox to Toronto Councellor Doug Ford’s assertion that Toronto has too many library branches. Apparently, a condominium developer did not get Ford’s memo, since the company plans to design a 29-storey condo tower with a library that sits at its base. The developer will build the library as well, which the company calls critical to the success of the company’s condominium project. The fact that TO has more public library branches than New York (87 branches) Chicago (78 branches) or Los Angeles (71 branches) is perhaps an indication of the city’s high rate of library use, rather than a drain on tax payers.