My Catchphrases

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Saturday Spotlight: Libraries

As a regular library user here in Wales - the girlies and I go at least once a week. I have been asked to take part in a panel to review and overhaul the library system in my County Borough.

I was emailed a questionnaire and a document outlining the proposals.

Here are the basics:

Some facts and figures:
  • 27,000 people use County Borough libraries regularly (approximately 20% of the population)
  • 60,000 people use libraries occasionally (approximately 45% of the population)
  • 600,000 books are borrowed each year.
  • Readers can request any book from anywhere in the world to be obtained for them free of charge. (I did not know this, did you???)
  • 80% of specially requested books are obtained for readers within 7 days.
  • The number of libraries in the County Borough is much greater than that necessary to meet standards.
  • The size of libraries (in total) is well below standard due mainly to the inadequate size of the main libraries.
  • Opening hours are well above standard and are the best in Wales.
  • Book provision is well below standard

  • Fit for purpose library buildings
  • High quality services to be delivered & sustained within the Councils core service budget????
  • Co-locating libraries within otehr community facilities (eg Sports Centres/Community Centres) in effect creating a Life Centre/Community Hub - allowing operational savings/extended opening hours/easier parking
  • re-evaluating spending in order to cut poorly performing provisions and reinvest the saving in book provision
  • smaller libraries would become area specific & be funded by the local community
  • a single library card to access all the libraries in Wales. Books can be borrowed/returned to any library - in the hope of better book provision/shared costs/meeting a larger part of the population & providing a few more jobs. This has already been implemented successfully in another part of Wales.
  • Further online features to be made available. 

I have been asked to attend a meeting next week to discuss these proposals further. If you have any questions that would be good for me to ask I would be really grateful to have them.
One of my initial concerns would be that in changing the smaller libraries to area specific that they would be in danger of becoming stereotyped based on the demographics of that particular area. 

So I really would love to hear your thoughts/questions. Thank you all for taking the time to read this post : D


  1. I think overall, libraries in your county are so much better than my borough here in London. At least you can request any book free of charge, I have to pay to request mine even if it is in the next borough!

    Maybe you can suggest a little cafe in the library - it can generate income and attract more people. We have a single library card for libraries within the borough, but the proposal of having one for all of wales is really good. Saves money. Online features is also good. It has to be there, it's so useful :) Browsing, reserving and requesting online is a time-saver!

  2. I keep meaning to go down to my local library (also in Wales!), but I haven't been for quite some time... which is a shame because when I was younger I was a regular (e.g. once a week or once a fortnight) visitor.


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