Abstract

Although the majority of joint use libraries in educational establishments provide at least an adequate level of service for their school, college, or university users, the standard of service they provide for members of the public is more questionable in many cases. This article considers the benefits and problems of joint use libraries from the perspective of their public users, providing examples from the UK and elsewhere to demonstrate how these occur in practice. A number of success factors are identified that need to be considered if a joint use library is to be successful as a community library, perhaps the most important of these being the need to involve the local community in the development of the library from its earliest stage. Gaining the support and active involvement of the local community is crucial; only then can the true benefits of joint use libraries, as locations for intergenerational activity and lifelong learning, be realized.

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