The 10-Minute International Librarian #42: Assess your community’s needs

Libraries and library workers have a fundamental mission to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

This is not only about developing a collection that is relevant, but also designing services and even spaces in a way that maximises the good that libraries can do.

This is made clear in the IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, and beyond.

But to respond to needs, you need first to understand them.

Especially at times of budgetary constraints, ensuring that you’re focusing your resources where they will count is particularly important.

Being able to show that there are challenges that need to be addressed can also support you in your advocacy for adequate support.

So for our 42nd 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, assess your community’s needs.

Clearly, this can be a process that takes a lot longer than 10 minutes!

But you can already think about your own experience and local knowledge, what your users tell you, or available statistics.

Are there challenges around internet access, digital literacy, broader literacy or a lack of space for civic activities?

Are these areas where you are in a position to provide a response? If not, could you do so with additional support?

There are some ideas of how to start in IFLA’s Storytelling Manual.

Let us know what needs you have identified in your communities in the comments box below.

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! 3.3 Empower the field at the national and regional levels.

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box below.