May 21, 2022

Northern Ireland: “Belfast Central Library at 130: ‘No Longer are We Just Librarians'”

From the BBC:

More than 38,000 people took part in 4,030 knit and natter groups here in 2017/2018. Thousands are also signing-up for other library-organised sessions like creative writing, tea and newspapers, introduction to iPad, mindful colouring, rhythm and rhyme and jobs clubs.

…the library of the 21st century is as much a community centre for those seeking a social outlet, as a quiet refuge for the avid reader. “I think people who maybe years ago didn’t think the library had anything to offer them, are now crossing our doors,” says branch manager, Allison Milligan.


E-book and audio book loans, for example, have soared in recent years, more than doubling from 142,147 in 2015, to 308,089 last year.

But the librarian’s role has also had to evolve, she says.

“No longer are we just librarians. We do event planning, we are IT experts, and we are counsellors as well,” she says.

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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.