The Library of the Future - public libraries in the UK

Report by Axiell seeks to understand how public libraries are being used and to outline a vision for the future of the public library.

With increased access to the web, people find it easy to learn, research and even interact without having to leave their homes or their workplaces.  How are these changing behaviours affecting public library use, and what does this say about the public library of the future?

Axiell surveyed over 2000 UK adults to find out how and why people are using library services and to explore how usage could be increased.

Current engagement with public libraries

  • 56% of adults over the age of 16 visit their local public library
  • Usage increases in more economically deprived areas
  • Younger adults (16-24) use public libraries twice as frequently as other age groups
  • 65% of users are there to borrow a book
  • 37% are using the library to research or work
  • 27% visit to read in the building
  • Approximately 20% are visiting to access the web
  • 7% are attending special events

The desire for digital services

  • 37% want their library to provide ICT training
  • 31% want to borrow e-books
  • 22% are interested in digital learning programmes

Opportunities for the library of the future

  • Diversifying services to appeal to citizens across all age groups/from all backgrounds
  • Acting as a community hub – of knowledge and connectivity (89% of those surveyed say libraries are an important part of the community)
  • Developing new services/activities
  • Leveraging data to better understand and target communities and developing services that are relevant to local communities

The full report is available to download from Axiell.