Wikis > 2. Understanding Library Transfer

2. Understanding Library Transfer

Transferring a library to the community can mean a range of things.

The term “library” can be perceived as both a building, and a service. Local Authorities have the ability to transfer just a library service, a building, or both.

There are a range of distinct legal and practical considerations in either instance; there are further issues to consider when a service is being transferred alongside a building.
The diagram below highlights some of the key differences between service transfer, or procurement, and the transfer of an asset or building.

Understanding Library Transfer
Asset Transfer Service Transfer
  • Transfer of building or other physical assets.
  • Agreement is in the form of  long term lease or deed.
  • No specific service agreements, although certain obligations or conditions may be drawn into a lease agreement.
  • Integration with library services may not be supported by the authority.
  • Organisation has flexibility to use building for community benefit.
Grey Area
  • Outsourcing of library service delivery to community organisation.
  • May or may not be within the same buildling.
  • Agreement is in the form of a Service leval agreement or contract with specific requirement.
  • Procurement issues need to considered by the local authority.
  • Organisations are likely to receive support from local authority to integrate services with provision.
  • Staffing issues need to be considered including TUPE regulations.

In between these two ends of the spectrum, there is a grey area in the middle whereby a library transfer may involve elements of both a service agreement and an asset transfer. Clearly there are some benefits to considering the transfer of library assets and services together, but there are also complicated legal issues that need to be carefully considered.

It is important to note the distinction between the transfer of a library service, and the transfer of an asset. This distinction is explored in more detail in the legal issues topic.

Issues of both asset transfer and service transfer are considered in more detail within this section of the toolkit.

Up until the beggining of 2011 there have been relatively few examples of community management and ownership of libraries. A report produced in March 2011 cited 29 examples known in England. However, this number is set to increase significantly with several authorities already working towards transfering services and buildings at an unprecedented scale.

Choose a topic within this category from the above menu to learn more about a specific area.

The video below highlights some of the key legal considerations for local authorities considering the transfer of library services.


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