Take part

Create a community library

Find out how you can help support local libraries, including taking on ownership and management.

Girl reading in a library

What is it?

Public library services are highly valued by the communities they serve. However, alongside other public sector services, they are facing enormous financial challenges.

A growing number of library authorities now work with communities to build sustainable library services, with local people:

  • supporting public libraries
  • managing them, in some places
  • taking on ownership and management of library buildings

Community libraries offer a way to manage local resources and support the public library service, not replace it.

How can I get involved?

Most library services have worked with community groups and volunteers for decades. Library authorities can choose whether to involve communities more in their library service, and if so, how they might do this.

Local authorities can also invite individuals, groups and organisations to discuss proposals for maintaining the authority’s library services. Contact your local library authority to see if you can get involved.

If you want to take over a library building, or if you want to run the library service, the ‘My Community Rights’ programme has advice and practical help, including details of funding.

You can also read the Arts Council England and Local Government Association research into community libraries, which shows the different ways communities have been involved with their libraries.