May 26, 2022

New Report re: Public Libraries: “The Experiential Library: The Future of Family Learning”

The new report linked below was published by two organizations located in the UK:


From the SCL:

Interactive game experiences such as treasure hunts, mystery trails and Pokemon Go type apps have huge potential to enhance family learning, finds a new report The Experiential Library.

Storycise, where families act out stories to improve their fitness in Bournemouth, a digital literacy course for 3-4 year olds in Norfolk and a Big Draw arts workshop in Kirklees are just some examples of the range of family learning taking place in local libraries discussed in the report by the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and think tank, Common Vision.

‘Family learning in libraries is not new but this report demonstrates the positive impact that family learning experiences can have on educational achievement, health and well-being, and the encouragement of lifelong learning.’ said Neil MacInnes, President of SCL.

Key findings include:

The benefits of family learning include increased confidence, improved communication, new life skills and better relationships with teachers and other professionals for both adults and children.

The creative use of games can increase families’ engagement with libraries by making the process fun and interactive.

Men are still much less likely to participate in family learning than women however, evidence indicates that, with the rise of shared parenting, there are opportunities to engage men in activities that are geared specifically to them.

Most family learning activities are aimed at children under four but there is clear potential and benefits to extending these activities to older children and even young adults

Inter-generational learning, where children may have skills that adults lack (such as digital or language skills) or where both child and adult are learning a new skill at the same time, should be viewed as a key area for growth.

Family learning can help to address digital divides, not only between those who access the internet and those who do not, but also between those who primarily use technology for entertainment and those who also use it to develop their skills and knowledge.

Funded by the Arts Council, the study surveyed 30 local libraries and interviewed five local library authorities in England to find out what family learning activities they delivered and what the outcomes of these activities were. The report also outlines a six step approach for libraries that are looking to develop their family learning offer in the future.

Direct to Full Text Report
41 pages; PDF. 

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.