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Making a difference: libraries, lockdown and looking ahead

Public interest Community development Libraries Disease management United Kingdom

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the vast majority of library buildings close their doors to the UK public during lockdown. Yet whilst the building is a core part of the library service offer, it is not the whole of it.

This research sought to capture the role that public library services and their staff played during lockdown; the barriers faced in delivering services during lockdown; the role public library services and their staff can play in supporting individuals and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown; and what needs to change to enable public library services to continue to deliver at their full potential in service of their communities.

Key messages:

  • Public library services had a positive impact on those who engaged with them during lockdown
  • Public library staff made a valuable contribution to the Covid-19 response
  • Public library services and their staff could have delivered much more – but faced barriers in doing so
  • Public library services have huge potential to support individuals and communities as they navigate the short, medium and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
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