The 2019 public library survey results from netloan provide an insightful overview of what's happening in our libraries. They cover how libraries are investing in technology, their plans for service development and trends in user needs. The 2019 survey was circulated late last Autumn to all public library customers which together represent over half of the UK public library sector. Over 70 library authorities took part in the research. For some key findings, they provide a three year timespan of how libraries are changing and investing in their services.
The results are available in a set of summary slides - please see the download link below. The key findings are as follows:
Library investment in public computers continues to emphasise the importance of the
People’s Network– Around 80% of libraries have made or plan to make investment in computers in 2019-21– The majority of libraries have already upgraded their operating system to Windows 10.Approx 30% are upgrading in 2020– Only 5% had made no plans to move to Windows 10, mostly opting to extend Windows 7
Kiosk investments highlight key role played by self-serviceUp to 70% of library authorities are investing in kiosks during 2019-21. Increased capacity for self-service frees up staff from routine transactions, to support more valuable and flexible roles
- Most libraries (nearly 80%) continue to see a constant or increasing volume of requests for digital skills support
Main reasons include Government online only services (e.g. Universal Credit), help needed with forms, email accounts, jobseeking and ecommerce websites. Greater awareness of support provided by libraries is also driving more people to seek their assistance
30% of libraries are moving towards cashlessness, almost 10% as quickly as possibleOther libraries are looking for opportunities to reduce cash taken
1 in 5 libraries are experiencing increased PC usageGreater availability of assisted digital help is the most common reason cited for this trend. For libraries experiencing a decrease, it most often involves factors that combine under investment in supporting technology and staff plus greater Wi-Fi use
Libraries are still the ‘go to’ place for public printingPrint services are providing key revenue for libraries. 65% are investing in new printers or MFDs in the period 2019-21, and 30% in 3D printers. 15% of libraries aim to introduce wireless printing by 2021, increasing the availability of this technology to the public
- Further plans for compelling library developments are on the horizon
These include investment in maker equipment, code clubs, outreach, jobseeking support and other digital resource improvements – subject to funding availability
- Indicators on the overall condition of public libraries are a mixture of good and bad
50% carried out refurbishments last year. However, more libraries reduced opening hours than increased them; more branches closed or went to volunteer management than opened; more paid staff hours were cut than added
>> To download the full set of results, please click here
With thanks to all our customers who participated in this year's research - with very best wishes from the Lorensbergs Team.