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What do the public want from libraries?

Practitioner Guide 3.34 MB
Main Report 0.93 MB
Qualitative Report 0.62 MB
Quantitative Report 0.62 MB
Technical Report 0.62 MB


The research, carried out by Shared Intelligence and Ipsos MORI, provides an up to date picture of what the public wants from library services, and provides a timely pointer to how councils, faced with difficult financial choices, should shape the service for the future.

Overall, the research shows the English public widely value public libraries as a force for good and one that should be provided free. A significant proportion (74 per cent) of current users surveyed described libraries as “essential” or “very important” in their lives. Fifty-nine per cent of non users also think libraries play an “important” or “essential” role in the community. But it also suggests that the notion of library users and non-users is an artificial divide and that instead that people’s reliance on libraries tends to vary as their life circumstances change, for example through taking up study, becoming unemployed, having children or retiring.

Book choice, good customer service, staff expertise and convenience are seen as key to user satisfaction. Both users and non-users often expressed concern about books being “squeezed out” for other services and although they accepted greater automation, they do not think this should be at the expense of maintaining a knowledgeable and helpful staff base.



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