Libraries have been urged to find a new ways of raising money – such as offering paid-for holiday clubs in the school holidays - if they want to stay afloat.
A report by community organisations network Locality, funded by Arts Council England (ACE), calls for libraries to look for new ways to bring in funds, without losing their core values.
In the report, titled "Income Generation for Public Libraries", Locality use several case studies from libraries which are experimenting with diverse income sources, in an attempt to counteract falling council spending.
Cultural Community Solutions, which runs library services in Ealing, Croydon, Hounslow and Harrow, which has begun running workshops for people to learn how to use 3D printers. Meanwhile, Gateshead Council is developing a paid-for school holidays service programme in an attempt to bring in revenue.
The report concludes that innovation at a national level will be important for boosting library income. It said: "The reality for many library services is that declining resources make investment in developing skills and knowledge difficult. Balancing the requirements of service delivery here and now, with the need to transform services in order to be more resilient longer term presents a significant challenge in this context. For this reason, national programmes that offer additional resource to aid transformation in support of the agenda have proved popular, and are likely to be important if we are to see much more positive movement in terms of income generation for public libraries any time soon."
Locality c.e.o. Tony Armstrong said: "Library services play a vitally important role in our communities and it’s essential that we safeguard them for the future. We hope that this report inspires other libraries all over the country to look for new and innovative ways of helping to sustain themselves so they can continue to provide important services for their communities and respond to changing needs."
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