Publisher William Sieghart is to head up a panel which will produce an independent report on the role of the public library service in England.
Mr Sieghart, with the help of an advisory panel including novelist Joanna Trollope, will take evidence on a range of issues.
He will examine the core principles of what a public library should be in the future; whether the current model of delivering services is the most comprehensive and efficient; and look at the role of community libraries.
He will report to ministers by the end of the year.
The report has been jointly commissioned by the Culture Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Other members of the panel include Stephen Page, chief executive of publisher Faber & Faber; former chairman of Channel 4 Television Luke Johnson; British Library chief executive Roly Keating; and Caroline Michel, chief executive of literary agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop.
They are joined by Sue Charteris, an independent adviser on public policy, and Janene Cox, president of the Society of Chief Librarians.
Mr Sieghart, the founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, and a former member of Arts Council England, said: "Together with my advisory panel, I am looking forward to considering the issues, and to hearing from the myriad range of stakeholders who have a responsibility and interest in this most valued of public services."
Culture minister Ed Vaizey said he hoped the report would help the service "to flourish for generations to come", while local government minister Brandon Lewis said it may help to ensure that "our libraries remain the cultural heartbeat of communities for years to come and remain a valuable frontline service provided by local authorities."