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Staff-Less Libraries - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780081019238, 9780081019245

Staff-Less Libraries

1st Edition

Innovative Staff Design

Author: Carl Gustav Johannsen
eBook ISBN: 9780081019245
Paperback ISBN: 9780081019238
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 28th February 2017
Page Count: 190
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Staff-Less Libraries: Innovative Staff Design considers the challenges of this approach, its pros and cons, identifies international experiences, and discusses best practices. It presents a step-by-step approach to implementing a staffless library and/or services, and seeks to inspire professionals to share experiences and optimize their library.

Staff-less public libraries, enabled by technological developments, represent a significant and innovative aspect of the development of public libraries. The concept radically enlarges the availability of user access to public libraries. Some Danish public library branches have, for example, increased their weekly opening hours from 20 to 80 hours per week. In Denmark, the concept has been quite successful, increasing the number of staff-less libraries from 81 public library units in 2011 to 260 in 2014.

From a longer view, however, the staff-less library concept contributes to the modernization of public libraries by further opening the library. Many library professionals have been surprised by the near absence of vandalism through the staffl-ess opening hours. According to the latest trend, the staffless library model is gradually moving from thinly populated rural areas and suburban neighborhoods to urban contexts. This book explores the concept, hence furthering the debate.

Key Features

  • Presents and considers the idea of staff-less libraries using evidence-based data
  • Considers the challenges, pros, and cons of the staff-less library
  • Identifies international experiences, best practices, and draws out a step-by-step approach to implementation


Academic librarians, information professionals, public librarians and library administrators, university management and administrators, graduates and researchers in library and information science

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

  • Purpose
  • What Is an Open Library?
  • Challenges
  • Benefits
  • The Pros and Cons
  • Research Questions
  • The Basic Structure of the Book and Recommendations for Reading

2. Open Library Service in a Broader Perspective

  • Library History Perspective—The Gradual Opening of the Library
  • Open Libraries in Seven Countries—Overview
  • Public Sector and Business Contexts
  • Private Sector Self-service Experiences
  • Saved Time
  • Summary

3. The Development and History of Open Libraries

  • Introduction
  • Technological Requirements
  • New Trends/Opportunities in the Future
  • Open Libraries in Seven Countries Based on Research Oriented Reports and Articles
  • The Role of Stakeholders
  • Legitimacy and Legality
  • Summary

4. Open Library Communities, Users, and Usage

  • Introduction
  • Urbanization
  • Neighborhood Characteristics
  • Sociodemographic Factors
  • Age, Gender, and Ethnic Minorities
  • National and International Variations
  • User Types and Segments
  • Usage Patterns and Amount
  • User Purposes, Needs, and Preferences
  • User Behavior—and Misbehavior
  • 80% Had Not Experienced Vandalism
  • User Satisfaction
  • User Movement Patterns
  • Summary

5. Critical Success Factors

  • Introduction
  • Strategies to Prevent Vandalism, Unrest, and Harassment
  • Strategies to Make the Library an Inviting and Inspiring Place
  • Strategies to Improve Communication and User Friendly-ness
  • Strategies to Promote the Library as a Local Third Place or Meeting Place
  • Summary

6. A Step-by-Step Approach to Implementation

  • Introduction
  • Selecting and Planning the Technological Infrastructure
  • Internal Marketing
  • Designing and Furnishing the Library
  • Optimizing Serendipity and Variety (e.g., Exhibitions)
  • Inviting and Facilitating Local Support to Use the Library as Meeting Point and Third Place
  • Summary


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© Chandos Publishing 2017
28th February 2017
Chandos Publishing
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Carl Gustav Johannsen

Carl Gustav Johannsen is Associate professor in Library and Information Science at the University of Copenhagen.

Previously he was Director of the Research School of Cultural Heritage; 1999-2008; and Head of Department of Library Development, Royal School of Library and Information Science. His research focusses on topics related to innovation and service development in academic, public libraries and special libraries. Presently, his research interests among others concern the future role of public libraries, in particular, related to the staff-less library concept.

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate professor, Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen

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