Award winning author Rónán O’Beirne is challenging the library world with his ground-breaking new book ‘From Lending to Learning’ – The development and extension of public libraries.’
In a thought-provoking examination of public libraries, Rónán O’Beirne Director of Learning Development and Research at Bradford College, successfully unravels the growing debate on ‘For what are libraries if not for learning?’
In an extract from the opening pages, Rónán O’Beirne writes: “As I write this introduction a debate on BBC Radio 4 suggests that in order to effect public sector efficiency savings, volunteers should run public libraries along the lines of charity shops. There are regular announcements of this type in the media with yet more initiatives to change public libraries. To breathe new life into them, to put new energy into the service and to take new approaches that range from raising noise levels to the provision of coffee and chat facilities. At the heart of all such announcements lies a very important, yet simple, question: what are public libraries for?”
Offering sharp insights and valuable contributions to the wider debate surrounding the multitude of challenges and opportunities facing public libraries Rónán O’Beirne makes the case for public libraries to extend their remit beyond lending books, to embrace informal learning, information literacy and digital citizenship.
Rónán O’Beirne further contends: “The battles fought in every neighbourhood to save libraries are clearly not simply about saving books or subsidising the reading habits of the middle classes. They represent the heart-felt cries of ordinary people fighting for their right to information, learning and culture.”
The book has met with critical acclaim with one review featured in the Australian Public Libraries and Information Services Journal, Dr Alan Bundy former President of the Australian Library Association writes: “Worth the investment and thorough reading by at least all public library managers!” Bundy also acknowledges Rónán O’Beirne’s impressive credentials which include winning the ‘2009-2010 UK National Information Literacy Practitioner Award’ for successfully raising the profile of information literacy - demonstrating innovation, initiative and originality.
A noted leader in his field, Rónán O’Beirne demonstrates an enduring commitment for public libraries to fulfil the role of learning support agencies, by providing space, materials and dedicated staff for the individual to explore and to learn.
Through his book ‘From Lending to Learning’ – The development and extension of public libraries’, Rónán O’Beirne has successfully garnered significant international support for public libraries to be “at the heart of the community” which as he concludes “is a space to learn.”