List of UK volunteer libraries

The following list is taken from news reports and from information supplied by local authorities and library users.  It does not claim to be comprehensive. Please email if you have anything to have any additions or corrections.  Arts Council England counted over 170 volunteer-run libraries in the UK (November 2012) with the PLN stats at the time being very similar at a minimum of 168. Locality’s count of December 2012 came to 254 (see this list) while a reports from October 2013 suggests a figure over 300.  It is unclear what the figure is currently.

  • Barnet
  1. Hampstead Garden Library (1) (2) (3) reopened 28th June 2012 by Jonathon Ross with 45 volunteers.
  2. Friern Barnet.  To be run with volunteers and some paid staff after long campaign of protest against closure (1).
  1. Wilsden
  2. Addingham
  3. Denholme
  4. Wrose
  1. Somersham (Queens Award winner),
  2. Bottisham
  3. Fulbourn
  4. Haddenham
  5. Waterbeach
  6. Melbourn
  7. Bassingbourn
  8. Swavesey
  9. Little Downham
  10. Gamlingay.  Been volunteer run since 2003, one paid supervisor.  Relies on donations.
  11. Arlesey Resource Centre and Library
  • Camden
  1. Primrose Hill Community Library (previously Chalk Farm) from 1/4/12 with £500,000 raised by locals.
  2. Keats Community Library (previously Hampstead)  from 17/4/12 and has a very impressive website and events.
  3. Belsize Community Library took over from the Council on 1/4/12.  Now known as The Winch: loss-making: concentrating on cafe and room hires. Extending opening hours to include Saturdays.
  • Carmarthenshire
  1. Pontyates Libary needs volunteers or it will close.
  2. Tumble Library.  Run by volunteers and  then closed shortly after.
  3. Dafen Library run by volunteers with town council support.
  4. Trimsaran.  Run by volunteers and  then closed shortly after.
  1. Sparkwell (replaces lost mobile library service)
  2. The Red Lion in Dittisham
  3. Cafe-on-the Green at Widecombe-in-the-Moor
  4. a village store in Broadhempston
  5. Colyton Library remains a public library but with volunteers opening every Tuesday.
  6. South Brent Old School Community Library
  7. Topsham (in process)
  • Doncaster
  1. Stainforth Library (staffed by volunteers from 1st March 2012)
  2. Balby Community Library (9/4/12)
  3. Sprotborough Community Library
  4. Warmsworth
  5. Bawtry
  6. Rossington (28/3/12).
  7. Conisbrough.
  8. Edenthorpe
  9. Intake
  10. Moorends
  11. Scawthorpe
  12. Wheatley
  13. Bessacarr
  • Dorset
  1. Burton Bradstock first staffed by council and volunteers on alternate days (2007) but moved to full control (Oct 2012).
  2. Puddletown, the first entirely volunteer-run but “council maintained library” in the country.
  3. The application for a volunteer-run Corfe Castle Community Library was in process (June 2012).
  4. Wool Library, in partnership with parish council, started Jan 2013.  35 volunteers. “Dorset County Council will continue to support the community libraries with a package worth around £5,500 a year that will include books and IT services.”
  5. Charmouth. Passed to volunteers (Nov 2012). 40 volunteers have replaced one paid member of staff (June 2013).  Was open for 10 hours per week, now open for 17.
  6. Chickerell – Early 2013
  7. Colehill - Early 2013
  8. Corfe Castle – Expected Mid to Late 2013.
  9. Stalbridge – Early 2013.
  • East Sussex
  1. Old Town Community Library in Eastbourne has been running for ten years.
  2. Little Common Community Library in Bexhill has been running since 2002, now with 34 volunteers (April 2013).
  • Essex
  1. Jaywick.  Operated by residents keen to keep library after council moved original library into a new school
  2. Springfield – New library staffed from the start by volunteers with paid staff support.
  • Gateshead
  1. Ryton – Closed in 2007 but reopend in 2010 as volunteer-run.
  2. Lobley Hill – Five libraries to volunteers, July 2013. Will be separate to council run libraries with their own ticket.
  3. Low Fell
  4. Sunderland Road
  5. Winlaton
  • Gloucestershire
  1. Painswick reopened on 20/6/12 after being closed since 2009. Seven council-run libraries to be transferred to volunteers 2012/13. (3/12).
  2. Nailsea Library to be open for 12 hours with paid staff and 10 hours with volunteers after being reduced from being open 35 hours per week (25/7/12)
  3. Lechlade –  opened late June 2013. 30 volunteers.
  4. Berkeley
  5. Bream
  6. Brockworth
  7. Mitcheldean.
  8. Minchinhampton
  9. Newnham
  1. Stanmore Community Library at The Carroll Centre – Jan 2013 opened.
  2. North Baddesley Community Library.
  3. Kingsclere Library to be run by 25 volunteers with parish council and charitable support. (Feb 2015)
  4. Millbrook
  • Hull
  1. Victoria Dock Village Hall - Feb 2015, after loss of mobile library.
  • Herefordshire -
  1. Peterchurch.
  2. Garway (new service in village hall) and several others have library books on deposit in community buildings.
  3. Leintwardine.
  4. Weobley (no reference)
  5. Colwall – run by paid member of staff paid for by parish council.
  • Isle of Wight
  1. Shanklin Community Library became volunteer run Feb 2012
  2. Bembridge
  3. Brighstone
  4. East Cowes
  5. Edward Edwards (previously Niton)
  • Kirklees


  1. Fresh Horizons at the Chestnut Centre in Huddersfield.  Library based in building along with police, business, cafe, employment support.  Organisation appears to run library via a direct grant from the council. MLA case study.
  2. Denby Dale to be passed to volunteers who will demolish building and build £250k library/community centre on site (September 2013). ” Kirklees Council have committed to supplying one paid member of staff for the next three years. The budget is reviewed on a three yearly cycle. The Community are keen to have a shared facility where Denby Dale Library is currently situated. This is a community led initiative and we will continue to support the library as we do now with Stock, I.T , Management support and Librarian support. The one member of staff is for the day to day running of the library, for us as a library service this is no change at the moment” Email from council, 30/9/13.
  • Lambeth
  • Leeds
  1. Rawdon – November 2013: 45 volunteers.
  • Leicester
    • Braunstone
    • New Parks Centre
  • Lewisham
  1. New Cross People’s Library appears to be doing well.
  2. Crofton Park
  3. Grove Park
  4. Sydenham.
  5. Blackheath Village Community Library set up to replace closed library, “there seemed to be more volunteers than borrowers when I popped in one afternoon. It’s a work in progress, though, with the full project not due to be finished until next summer” [1]. Blackheath is run by Age UK (not be confused with Age Concern) and received £230,000 of council money to do so [2].
  • Lincolnshire
  1. Caistor Arts and Cultural Centre mixes paid staff and volunteers.  This library feautured in the BBC programme Village SOS.
  2. Waddington Library mixes co-located pharmacy staff with volunteers
  3. Ingoldmells launches volunteer run branch (with 300 books) to replace withdrawn mobile library stop (18/9/12).
  4. Sutton Bridge.  Interestingly, this library (not part of the council network) is having its funding cut with its most local mobile stops also ceasing.
  5. Saxilby
  6. Winthorpe “in pipeline”. Opened Dec 2012 for one hour per week.
  7. Woodhall Spa extends opening hours by using volunteers, March 2013.
  8. Alford – 14 volunteers with basic training increase hours after council threatened to cut them, April 2013.  These same volunteers withdraw support for library, July 2014, due to withdrawal of council support.
  9. Bratoft - 300 books provided for village hall, May 2013.
  • Liverpool
  1. Woolton Community Library – Closed March 2012 as council library, reopened February 2012 as volunteer run.
  2. Croxteth Community Library – Part of Alt Valley Community Trust.
  1. Burnage Library – to reopen as volunteer-run Burnage Library Activity and Information Hub, with council staff present for 15 hours per week (October 2013).
  2. Fallowfield – Fallowfield Library renamed “The Place” and transferred to  Friends of Fallowfield Library and City South housing association. (August 2014)
  3. Northenden – Housing office will include library, November 2013.
  4. Levenshulme
  5. Miles Platting
  6. New Moston
  1. Briton Ferry, Resolven, Cymmer Afan and Taibach to be run by volunteers shortly (aim is May 1st 2014). Taibach may be run by volunteers shortly.
  2. Resolven – open 8 hours per week from May 2014.
  • Newcastle
  • North Lincolnshire -
  1. Barton Library will be open for 3.5 hours unstaffed.
  2. Goxhill Library run by volunteers since Spring 2011.
  3. Broughton Library opened in village hall to replace mobile library stop (19/9/12).
  1. Bainbridge
  2. Grassington
  3. Great Ayton Discovery Centre (includes library),  Celebrated first year anniversary (May 2013) with 10-strong management team, “dozens of volunteers” and 4,000 visits per month.
  4. Darley. Replaced mobile library stop. “In the last year of its operation, the mobile library to Darley was used by only 36 people and issued less than 900 books and other items. But the new Darley Community Library now has more than 100 members, and has issued more than 1,200 books in the first year of its operation.”
  5. Derwent Valley Bridge (was East Ayton Library),
  6. Hawes (with Upper Wensleydale Community Office)
  7. Mashamshire.
  8. Barlby
  9. Bilton
  10. Embsay
  11. Gargrave.
  12. Hunmanby Library was to be run by volunteers but failure to get sufficient numbers/fudning means library will close.
  13. There is a mini-library in the “George & Dragon” Hudswell Community Pub.
  14. Bentham – Staffed by volunteers for 5.5 hours per week.
  15. Norton – Book lending (volunteer-staffed) at  Deansfield Court Extra Care Housing Scheme (Norton) in conjunction with Yorkshire Housing
  16. Ripon – volunteer supported, 2014.
  • Northumberland
  1. Prudhoe Community Trust.  Old library demolished, new library being built, funded by government and council grants, sharing space with town council, volunteer service and other organisations.  “The Library building, in the heart of Prudhoe, is set to be demolished and, with funding from Communitybuilders, replaced with a modern three story community and civic building. The new library building will act as a single access point for a range of local services including Northumberland County Council’s information services, Prudhoe Town Council, Citizens Advice Bureau and Victim Support.” (Asset Transfer Unit).
  2. Ellington,
  3. Cowpen,
  4. Heddon-on-the-Wall,
  5. Corbridge,
  6. Haydon Bridge
  7. Hadston.
  1. Park Library reopened as volunteer run - since September 2014. 50 volunteers
  2. Walkley Carnegie Library – November 2014. 50 volunteers.
  3. Frecheville
  4. Gleadless
  5. Greenhill
  6. Jodanthorpe
  7. Newfield Green
  8. Totley
  9. Upperthorpe
  10. Broomhill, Park –  libraries staffed by volunteers with council covering costs and some paid support.
  11. Southey –  libraries staffed by volunteers with council covering costs and some paid support.
  12. Woodhouse –  libraries staffed by volunteers with council covering costs and some paid support.
  • Somerset
  1. West Camel
  2. Ilchester. Information from MLA website – google search does not find them.
  3. Congresbury Library run with volunteers and Parish Council.
  4. Porlock – 2013: run with help by Parish Council
  1. Beare Green (open two mornings per week to replace end of mobile library service) (October 2013).
  2. Byfleet Library now run by volunteers, extended opening hours (25/9/12)
  3. New Haw (4/10/12).
  4. Stoneleigh (22/2/13).
  5. Tattenhams (15/6/13).
  6. Bagshot (December 2013).
  7. Guildford Institute Library - Volunteer run since 1843.
  8. Warlingham – Still has paid staff at it.
  9. Virginia Water
  10. Bramley
  11. Ewell Court
  12. Lingfield
  1. Carrbrook Library.
  2. Denton Library – purchased building off council for £30k and “six figure” loan (7)
  • Telford and Wrekin – Stirchley, Hadley, Dawley and Oakengates
  • TraffordHale Library (18/7/12) staffed by two full-time equivalent staff and 30 volunteers.
  • Wakefield -
  1. Havercroft (from 27/11/12) – moving from library into Community Learning Centre where volunteers to run service and buy own books.
  2. Kettlethorpe – Date of transfer to be announced.
  3. Walton - To be announced in connection with local school.
  4. Kinsley – Library closed.  Transferred to local Learning Centre where volunteers to run service and buy own books.
  5. Upton – Transferred to volunteers, will open from Easter 2013.
  • Waltham Forest 
  1. South Chingford Community Library – April 2012. Will lend books from May (open for computer use from April) for 3 hours per week
  2. Leytonstone Epicentre Library – April 2013.
  3. Harrow Green Community Library – May 2013. 1,000 books, with 10 volunteers.
  • Wandsworth –  York Gardens Library. Small number of paid staff, otherwise volunteers, planned income largely from room hire.
  • WarringtonGrappenhall Library taken over (8.1.12) eight months after being closed.  Appleton Parish Hall has a volunteer-run library opened after the ending of its mobile library stop (2012, source: personal conversation with volunteer).
  • Warwickshire
  1. Kineton Library taken over (9.1.12), the first of 12 planned to do so before April.
  2. Henley-in-Arden Library (4/4/12).
  3. Dunchurch Library (3.4.12)
  4. Studley Community Library (9/4/12),
  5. Bidford on Avon (2/5/12)
  6. Baddesley Ensor (24/5/12),
  7. Bulkington Library (28.1.12
  8. Dordon Library (volunteer run by September 2012) is using part of library as dancefloor.
  9. Camp Hill
  10. Water Orton
  11. Keresley
  12. Harbury
  13. Hartshill
  1. Angmering - Parish council has recruited volunteers to extend Saturday opening hours (April 2014).
  • Wigan -
  1. Hope Community Library (more info here)
  2. BookCycle charity running now closed Beech Hill Library
  3. Aspull
  4. Ince
  • Wiltshire
  1. Purton Library (team of 40 volunteers).
  2. Aldbourne Library (library paid for by parish council), Tuesday mornings staffed by 4 volunteers. 300 volunteers in total used to “keep open” ten of the smallest libraries.
  3. Box and
  4. Ramsbury libraries partially staffed by volunteers.
  5. Wilton
  6. Durrington
  7. Ludgershall
  8. Lyneham
  9. Market Lavington
  10. Netheravon
  11. Tisbury
  12. Cricklade
  13. Downton
  14. Mere
  15. Pewsey
  • Wolverhampton - Collingwood.
  • Worcestershire
  1. Welland Library (staffed – but not apparently run by – volunteers)
  2. Catshill (staffed with paid council staff and volunteers, in school grounds).
  3. Wythall – “Wythall Together” will run premises management, maintenance and repair (July 2014).
  4. Martley
  5. Broadway – from August 2014.
  6. Hagley – from January 2015.
  • Wrexham
  1. Gresford – May 2014 – Shut March 2014 to save £92k p.a. – 30 volunteers, 13 hours open per week.
  • #1 written by Nev Keating
    about 7 months ago

    Cholsey in Oxfordshire has a Community Library. The library has a paid co-ordinator and 40 volunteers. Its open Monday to Friday 2 to 4.30, Also Friday 6 to 8 and Saturday 9:30 to 12:30. The lib ray is owned by the village and has no connections to the County Council. Offers a choice of 6,500 books, Talking Books, DVDs’, Free WiFi, Homework Club Monday to Thursday

  • #2 written by Graham Stanley
    about 6 months ago

    I lead a team to take over the running of our local / community library in Leicestershire. One of the ideas re income generation is to offer sponsorship of the library to local businesses. But we have no idea what revenue this might generate. We could offer the renaming of the library for a year, 5 years or ten years. Does anyone have any ideas of the value of such sponsorship; we don’t want to ask too little as this put pressure on other cost areas but likewise we don’t want to pitch the number too high and send potential sponsors scurrying away. Help please!

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