Developing Community-Led Public Libraries: Evidence from the UK and Canada
John Pateman and Ken Williment
243 pages • 7 x 10
This important book examines the potential for a new community led service model in public libraries. Using theoretical approaches to working with socially excluded community members, with a direct application of those approaches in Canadian public libraries, the authors offer a powerful and persuasive case for adopting the community led approach in libraries worldwide. The book showcases good practice and outlines the challenges to community development work. With public libraries facing budget cuts, this book offers an alternative way forward based on a community led approach to developing needs based library services.This book makes a unique contribution to public library thinking and policy, synthesising the outcomes of research and best practice at the cutting edge of library service delivery, and will be essential reading for all those researching and working in the public library sector.
Reviewed by Krista Jorgensen, Georgina PL
Public libraries are supposed to serve their communities, but there are many members of the community that don't feel served by the library. Pateman and Williment offer a new model for reaching out and serving those who need the library most and for those that are most underserved by public libraries. They present key findings from the Open to All report (2000) and the Working Together Project (2008) which looked at public library policy and social exclusion in the UK and Canada. As well, they provide a "blueprint and a roadmap" (p.22) for community-led, needs-based, public library services.
This book is a reference tool for public librarians following a community-led libraries model and for those who wish to improve their community outreach work. It contains examples and insight into how community-led work has been successful. The model can be used as a blueprint or roadmap for implementing community-led library services. Additionally, there are several bibliographic references to helpful additional resources that readers may wish to consult. I recommend this book to public library managers and staff that are looking at implementing community-led library services and looking at improving their outreach programs and as a resource in professional development collections for librarians.
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