Agenda item

LIBRARIES UPDATE

A verbal update will be provided on Libraries.

 

(Jacqui Buckley - 01274 437835)

 

 

Minutes:

A verbal update was provided on Libraries.  During the verbal update the Change Assurance Manager stated that in order to retain a comprehensive library network, the Council needed to radically re-think the way in which it currently delivered these services.  There were a range of options that could be considered to support delivery including a reduction in opening hours; using more volunteers to provide “add on services”; increase the use of technology eg self service at some libraries; relocating libraries into other areas, buildings, shared services, partnering with other organisations to share costs including community groups, health organisations and parish and town councils.

 

It was stressed that all the options will need to be carefully considered alongside the individual library performance data, the needs analysis data and financial /cost data to determine which option is the most suitable for each library as well as any other options.

 

It was important that the service engaged with all stakeholders, staff and residents as well as elected members to help shape future proposals.

 

The engagement questionnaire was currently being developed and will include as an example an ask for respondents to determine which of the domains are a priority to them, or to what extent they agree with our consideration of options to reduce opening hours etc.  External validation of our approach was currently being undertaken by Bradford University and the DCMS.

 

In recognition of our responsibilities to engage with hard to reach groups, plans were currently being developed to include a number of additional focus groups and targeting of schools to increase participation of our young people.

In recognition of our diverse communities we will take advise on making the questionnaire available in a number of languages and individual group session will be undertaken with staff and trade unions.

 

In conclusion it was stated that using the data from both the library needs assessment and feedback from engagement, a robust review of the option will be available during October and early November.

 

The consultation will include a wide range of activities such as public consultation, use of social media, dedicated focus groups for hard to reach groups, drop in session at accessible venues, online promotion and feedback forums.

 

The Chair thanked the officer for providing a comprehensive update on the future of libraries and suggested that she works closely works with the Area Coordinators’ office during the consultation process so that it is effective and comprehensive.

 

During the discussion Members suggested that the busier supermarkets in the south area could be utilised as a consultation feedback venue.

 

A Member suggested that it was important to ensure that hard to reach groups were consulted fully as there was a tendency to overlook them.

 

A Member stated that although the views of users was important, a wider perspective from non users was also important in shaping library services, as this perspective might give you information on the reasons why there was low usage of the library service.

 

Resolved –

 

That the verbal update on the Libraries Service be welcomed and that Member’s comments and suggestions on the forthcoming consultation process be taken on board.


ACTION:       Change Assurance Manager