I am hoping to take the library service out of its’ buildings and to the people (non-users). I am currently working on plans for this and hope to do it soon.

What is the pop-up library?

A pop-up library is a selection of materials from the library; these can be books, magazines, dvds, audio and language learning tapes/cds, brochures. We can target the collection to users’ requirements or interests, if they let us know beforehand (if going to a specific place, e.g. a canteen).

We will take along a laptop or iPad to showcase our online resources, as well as an e-reader to demonstrate our downloadable books.

Members of the public will be able to join the library service, chat to a librarian, borrow books and other materials, and ask questions.

What do we need? (a list for library staff)

  • A stack of library cards
  • Joining forms (plus clipboard and pen) and welcome pack of some sort – joining forms and library card numbers need to be married before the new user leaves!
  • A laptop or iPad with 3G or internet stick (unless location has wifi) – need software to join people or online joining form
  • An e-reader for demonstration purposes – not needed if using an iPad as app is as useful
  • A folding table (or locations could provide a table?) – not essential
  • Books: could be carried in suitcase and that can also double as shelving/browsing box – I think moveable shelving too difficult as we probably will be on foot/buses
  • Promotional pull-ups and materials
  • Details about events, groups, etc.
  • A gazebo if we pop up outside (could be nice in the summer)

Input the new membership details when you get back to the library that same or the following day!

Suggestions where to hold pop-up libraries

  • Council offices
  • Hospitals
  • Foyers of firms/offices
  • Banks
  • high street
  • Festivals/fairs/city or area events
  • Tourist attractions
  • Tiled Hall café
  • Art gallery/museum
  • Universities
  • Gyms
  • Shopping centres
  • Pubs

Read link 1 and link 2 for more details and tips.

Why we should do it

Pop-up libraries are an easy outreach tool that only costs us in terms of staff time. We have all the tools needed and it won’t need much preparation once we have contacted places to set up some dates. We have run road shows for other services already which were successful and raised the profile of the service. These were run in branch libraries rather than “outsider” locations but we can take lessons learnt from them (e.g. timings, content, staffing, transport) to start a successful run of pop-up libraries.

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