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What the public wants from libraries – turning research into action

A guide to help council leaders and library practitioners act on the latest research into what the public wants from library services, has been published by the MLA. The guide offers rich illustrations of good practice and tips on how to shape the service for the future.

What the public want from libraries, a practitioner guide is based on a major research study published by the MLA last month, conducted by Ipsos Mori and Shared Intelligence.  The research discovered that while books remain at the core of the public’s expectation for the service, there is clear demand for customer-friendly features such as online book lending, children’s facilities, adult classes, helpful staff, convenient opening hours and on-site coffee shops.

Sir Andrew Motion, MLA Chair, said: “Our research discovered afresh that public libraries really do hold a special place in the nation’s hearts. However, we face greater challenges than ever before. Transformation in media and information is rapid, as are changes in the nature of public services and our expectations as consumers. The full impact of spending cuts is only beginning to be understood. For most local authority managers we know the big question will be not what the research says but how it can be turned into action, so this guide attempts to do just that.”

Drawing on the up-to-date picture of the public’s thoughts and motivations, the practitioner guide offers tips, case studies and other user-friendly pointers to ensure libraries meet consumer demand and attract new and lapsed users.

Notes to editor:

  1. The practitioner guide and research it is based on is available at

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What do the public want from libraries? A practitioner guide. (PDF - 3 Mb)




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