International

 

  • Austria – 80% of the 1360 public libraries have been volunteer for the last 20 to 30 years. Many started as volunteer but others lost paid staff. A tier of government gives considerable in-person and online training (up to 2 weeks) for each volunteer (Source: in person talk with Austrian librarian, CILIP Conference July 2019). Austria retains net book agreement and provided funding for bookstock to volunteer libraries to support German-language publishing industry.
  • Holland Rotterdam Lees Zaal library met a lot of resistance when volunteers opened it after council closed 19 out of 25 branches.  It carefully avoids using the word “Library” (it’s name means “reading room”) in order to avoid offence.
    • Netherlands – The myth of the disappeared libraries – Warekennis. (in Dutch). 300 libraries out of 1000 have said to be closed in Holland due to local government budget cuts but this is not true (but rather a proposed “worst case” figure).  Also, it may have included mini service points and mobile library stops. However, number of staff have decreased 24% 2010-15 and stock cut by 20%. Councils avoided closing libraries and hollowed out staffing/stock instead. Volunteers have increased to try to make up the loss. (June 2017)
  • New Zealand –  Auckland City Libraries has 14 volunteer-staffed libraries, Waitekere has volunteers helping others to read.  An correspondent writes that , nationally “Many smaller public library systems also have volunteer libraries or volunteer staff. These libraries can be staffed by volunteers but collection development and the management of the library is mostly undertaken by the public library system. Voluntary workers or community-led libraries have been a part of libraries in New Zealand for a long time and provide much needed services to communities that would otherwise not have a library in their area.”.   There has been some moves towards increasing volunteers due to budget cuts, although not on the scale of the UK.  The New Zealand library association, LIANZA, has a statement on volunteers.
  • Spain –
  • USA – Some shelvers (“pages”) may be volunteers.
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