Participants 2014

Phil Segall: Is there a place for the “pop-up library” within the academic library sector?


The term “pop-up library” has come to mean a whole host of different things in recent years. These pop-ups range from the hundreds of Little Free Libraries which have literally… well, “popped-up” around the world (here’s a map: to more ambitious, semi-permanent structures which have sprung up in prefabricated buildings, on transport networks, theatres and cultural centres – just about anywhere, in fact! These have usually been set up to complement or promote an existing library service but (in worst case scenarios) have also been used as something of a desperate measure to compensate in any way possible for public library closures.

I work in an academic (Higher Education) library here in the UK. I am currently exploring the possibility of introducing a pop-up library of some description, particularly with the aim of reaching out to non-users of our service. At present, I am unclear as to what this will look like. It could be as simple as a small stall, staffed by people from the library, providing basic services such as access to our catalogue and advice on how to find resources, renewing books etc. Other academic libraries have opted to provide a satellite area, outside the library space, containing a sample of the resources which the library provides and promotional materials about the services offered. I would be especially interested to see if others have had experience in this area and to maybe even encounter a pop-up library or two en route!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Montpellier!


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There is 1 comment. Add yours.

  1. Anna Bognolo

    Hi Phil,

    I just discovered this post as I was searching the web to see if anyone has attempted pop-up libraries in higher ed. I work at a community college in western Massachusetts (USA) and introduced a pop-up library over a year ago. I am wondering if you found others pursuing this idea? Would love to hear about them if yes!

    Anna Bognolo

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