Making public libraries profitable and sustainable

  • England
  • David Johnston, Library Innovator

  • Public Library
  • Public libraries are often seen by Councils as a drain on their funds i.e. a cost centre. If funds are short, the Council is tempted to close a library. This approach ignores the huge potential for libraries to be profit centres for Councils; the libraries are one of the few Council services which can be self-funding and make a profit. Regarding library services as a profit centre is unfortunately a new idea to some public libraries and Council fund holders.

  • Offer training courses to Councillors and public librarians on how to make a public library profitable and a community hub. This does involve turning over some traditional ideas on library services, community engagement and the implementation of the very varied income streams available through library services.

  • Promote sustainability and profitability to public libraries and Councillors.