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Public versus an Independent Library Service
Public versus an Independent Library Service
The modern public library service stems from the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
This act requires every local authority to make a provision for a 'comprehensive and efficient' public library service and that the basic lending and reference services should be free at the point of use. Refer to the featured legal note for further information and details.
The Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals (CILIP) published “What Makes a Good Library Service?” which states that, in order for local councils to meet the requirements of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, and other key legal requirements, a local public library service must:
- Serve both adults and children.
- Be available to everyone and meet any special needs required by members of the local community.
- Encourage participation and full use of the service.
- Provide materials in sufficient number, range and quality to meet general and specific requirements of those in the community.
- Provide value for money, working in partnership with other authorities and agencies.
An Independent Community Library Service is one that fulfils a very similar function as a public library but is not run, or sponsored, by a local authority and as such is not operating under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
As a result any independent library body may make decisions regarding its service provision entirely at its own discretion. Such services should be considered as an addition to public provision rather than a replacement as the local authority is still obligated by the act to provide its library service.
An important consideration is how the arrangement affects public lending rights. Care needs to be taken to avoid breach of copyright for intelectual property.
Many Library Authorities believe that they can fulfil their statutory obligations through a greatly reduced network of branch libraries. There are also discussions around the role of volunteers and community organisations in alternative provisions to assist with meeting statutory obligations. This is a rapidly developing and changeable political and legislative environment. Many closures and, by association, proposed new provisions, are currently being challenged in various legal forms. With this in mind the remainder of this guide will only discuss good practice in a community-based library rather than what may or may not fulfil the statutory requirements of a public library.
Choose a topic...
- 1. Action Planning Tool Overview
- 2. Understanding Library Transfer
- i. What is Asset Transfer?
- ii. Assets or liabilities?
- iii. Legal Considerations for Library Transfer
- iv. When is asset transfer suitable?
- v. Benefits of Asset Transfer
- vi. Negotiating Asset Transfer
- 3. Planning for Library Transfer - Getting Started
- i. The Case for Community Managed Libaries
- ii. Defining Purpose
- iii. Service Design
- iv. Community Involvement
- v. Organisational Structures
- vi. Organisational Development
- vii. Skills and Experience
- viii. Assessing Assets, Avoiding Liabilities
- ix. Feasibility Studies
- x. Strategic Fit
- xi. Partnership Building
- xii. Demonstrating your achivements
- 4. Making a Convincing Case and Securing Investment
- i. Demonstrating Community Need
- ii. Business planning
- iii. Project Costs and Income
- iv. Securing Finance
- v. Campaigning and lobbying
- 5. Asset Ownership & Management Agreements
- i. Asset Transfer Legal Toolkit
- ii. Insurance and Tax Issues for Asset Transfers
- iii. Ownership and Management Agreements
- 6. Property Development
- i. The Development Process
- ii. Property Design
- iii. Pre-Construction
- iv. Construction and Management
- v. Appointing and Managing professionals
- 7. Premises Management
- i. Financial management
- ii. Facilities Management
- iii. Health and Safety
- iv. Security
- 8. Developing and Diversifying Library Services
- i. Public versus an Independent Library Service
- ii. Linking Services to Social Purpose
- iii. Community Library Services
- iv. Diversifying Services in Community Libraries
- v. Monitoring Services and Demonstrating Impact
- vi. Equality and Diversity Considerations
- 9. Managing Services
- i. General Responsibilities for Running Community Services
- ii. Policies for Community Managed Libraries
- iii. Management Systems and Information
- iv. Customer Service and Relationship Management
- v. Managing People
- vi. Sourcing and Maintaining Stock
- vii. Managing Finances
- viii. Marketing Your Library
- ix. Measuring Impact and Quality
- x. Accountability and Reporting to stakeholders
- 10. Supporting Library Transfer
- i. Supporting sustainable library transfer