Libraries shaping the future: toolkit and case studies

[Beta] Toolkit and case studies, produced by the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce, informed by good practice from the library sector.

This toolkit, produced by the Libraries Taskforce is the first step in addressing a need identified by the Independent Library Report for England; “that more information needs to be available about the remarkable and vital value that a good library service can offer modern communities of every size and character”.

It is accompanied by guidance on Libraries as a Statutory Service. The information contained in that guidance is not a statement of government policy but is provided to help guide local authorities and others.

It is currently in ‘beta’, which means this is the first version of the toolkit. During this beta phase, we will be continually testing and improving the toolkit. It may not work for everyone in its current state. If you think we’ve missed something out or you know of other case studies we might include please let us know using the feedback button at the bottom of the page (or any of the case study pages). Alternatively please email

Main toolkit

Best practice guide, produced by the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce, for chief executives and library portfolio holders including how library services can support local authority priorities.

Libraries as a statutory service

This guidance describes the legal duty on local authorities to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service. The information contained in this guidance is not a statement of government policy but provided to help guide local authorities and others.

  1. Libraries as a statutory service
  2. Hampshire County Council: strategic library plan

How libraries support different policy areas

Case studies of how libraries can help deliver against local authority priorities.

  1. Mental Health and Wellbeing Information Service (MHIS)
  2. Library support to jobseekers
  3. Code clubs for children in Croydon, Ealing, Harrow, and Hounslow
  4. Code Club at Cardiff Central Library Hub
  5. Work with Community Banks and Credit Unions in Derbyshire
  6. Fab Lab Devon
  7. Youth volunteering in Dorset with the Summer Reading Challenge
  8. British Library's Business & IP Centre national network
  9. Businessline – Business Information Service
  10. Mandlenkosi Maposa from Studio 12 at Leeds library
  11. LibraryPlus: Northamptonshire Library and Information service
  12. Library services for blind and visually impaired people
  13. Halifax Community Bank
  14. Understand Me: the communication library
  15. St Helens libraries: libraries as creative hubs
  16. Fantastical Feats
  17. Somerset autism collection
  18. Summer Reading Challenge: a national scheme supporting literacy
  19. Norfolk's healthy libraries
  20. Foleshill library: serving a diverse community

Governance models

Examples of governance models which are being used to deliver library services.

  1. Warwickshire library service: Globe House, Alcester
  2. South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust
  3. Carillion Plc managing library contracts
  4. Explore York Libraries and Archives
  5. Northamptonshire Library and Information Service CIC
  6. Bexley and Bromley working together
  7. Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries
  8. Libraries Unlimited

Smarter Services

Smarter ways of working is critical in the context of making efficiencies, stimulating innovation and seeking new sources of income. This section describes a range of approaches that could be considered such as joint procurement and co-location.

User perspectives on working in and with libraries

Case studies from people who have benefited from using a library.

Published 16 December 2015
Last updated 28 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. New case study added - Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries and Libraries Unlimited
  2. New case studies added - Understand Me: the communication library and Gateshead library service working with job seekers
  3. Case studies added: Fantastical Feats and Wrexham's Businessline service
  4. First published.