Back To Schedule
Thursday, May 25 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
The Rise of Volunteer Libraries in the UK with Implications for Canadian Public Libraries

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Feedback form is now closed.
The presentation will provide an overview of research on volunteer-run public
libraries in the UK. Since 2007, more than 300 public libraries in the UK have been
closed while another 300 have been turned over to volunteers (CIPFA, 2014; Public
Libraries News, 2016). Whether through official ‘friends of the library’ groups or
through individual participation, volunteers have always been a part of public
libraries. Volunteers help strengthen the libraries place and role with the
community by supplementing staff. What happens when the volunteers run the

Data sources include a February 2016 survey sent to 150 known
community/volunteer libraries covering training, programming, collections, and
planning. Site visits to six UK public libraries including in-depth interviews, passive
observations, and walk-arounds of the surrounding communities. Libraries included
those in wealthy communities as well as those in more economically disadvantaged

Findings indicate that this model seems to have long-term viability only in wealthy
communities. More economically disadvantaged communities have fewer resources
to call on, in terms of the number of volunteers, the expertise of those volunteers,
and the additional resources they can call upon. In addition, volunteer fatigue is a
pressing concern in every library visited.

Findings from this study will be presented in light of recent, stalled, efforts to close
more than half of the public libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition,
this session will include a brainstorming session on staffing and public libraries for
the future.


Danielle Winn

Dee Winn, Head- Information Services, Concordia University Library


Heather Hill

The University of Western Ontario
Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University

Thursday May 25, 2017 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
Grafton Room Rodd Charlottetown