To consider the Council’s performance at the start of the 6th Framework of Welsh Public Library Standards 2017-20 and the progress made in developing libraries as community hubs (copy attached).
10.50 – 11.30 a.m.
The Lead Member for Developing Community Infrastructure introduced the Principal Librarian’s report on the Library Service’s performance against the Sixth Framework of Welsh Public Library Standards 2017-20 (previously circulated). Also outlined in the report was the Service’s progress in developing libraries throughout the county as community hubs.
Chair and members congratulated the Service on their excellent performance in delivering against the majority of Core Entitlements and Quality Indicators (QI), as detailed in the Welsh Government’s (WG) Museums, Archives and Libraries Division’s (MaLD) Annual Assessment report (attached as Appendix A to the report). They also commended the Council on the range of services and events offered in libraries across the county for people of all ages, which were greatly valued by residents.
Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member, Head of Communications, Customers and Marketing, and the Principal Librarian:
· confirmed that, similar to other services, the Library Service’s budget had been reduced and as a consequence it had been unable to meet QI9 (spend per 1,000 population on reading materials) of the Welsh Public Library Standards;
· advised that QI13 (staffing levels and qualifications) had only been partially met because staff in the County’s libraries delivered a range of library and One Stop Shop services. Whilst not all these staff were qualified librarians the range of services delivered at the county’s libraries required a wide range of skills and officers were confident that the Service’s staff had the appropriate skills set to deliver all these services. The Head of Service informed the Committee that they were currently exploring options on how to develop a qualification for Library Service staff which could support career development within the Service. Members were also advised that in recent years more male applicants were applying for posts in the Service, this had not been the case historically;
· confirmed that library staff were trained and up-skilled on a regular basis. In the near future staff would be trained on the new Library Management System (LMS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Two staff conferences per year were held which all Library Service staff attended;
· advised that there were five professional librarian posts within the Service in Denbighshire;
· advised that Llandrillo College was delivering levels 3 and 7 courses in library skills during the current academic year;
· confirmed that the Council’s Library Service had utilised young volunteers for a number of years, this scheme was aimed at developing young people’s skills. Volunteers were used to complement and support service delivery, they were not expected to replace remunerated Library Service staff. The Council acknowledged that people of all ages were keen to dedicate some of their time to a volunteering role, with a number wanting to deliver voluntary services in libraries. As a result the Council was currently developing a Volunteering Strategy and a Workforce Development Strategy, with a view to supporting volunteers to develop their skills whilst not compromising the role of trained, remunerated staff. The aim of the Volunteering Strategy would be to add value to services and not to save money;
· advised that the issue of applying financial penalties for late returned books was being examined. If the practice was to be discontinued it would impact on the Service’s income, therefore potential new income generation schemes would need to be explored. In addition, in order to secure the return of outstanding loaned reading materials an amnesty of some sort would need to be facilitated;
· confirmed that the Service had an active marketing campaign for its service on a number of media platforms, including social media;
· advised that all members and residents had an important role to play to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the county’s libraries, by ensuring they were used on a regular basis and promoting their services to residents;
· advised that due to the costs associated with restoring old books to a suitable condition to enable them to be sold to residents for a discounted price this work was now undertaken by a private company, as it gave the Service an opportunity to generate a small income. A small auction of surplus to requirements reading materials had recently been held at Rhyl Library, the financial benefits of this auction were currently being evaluated; and
· confirmed that a new Library Strategy for the county was currently being drawn-up, the focus of which would be around supporting community resilience
Members referred to the excellent working relationship that existed between Rhuddlan Town Council and the staff at Rhuddlan Library which was delivering much valued services at the local library which was a vibrant hub for the community, particular reference was made to the dementia activities held there. A query was raised whether more tourist information services could be delivered from the town’s library and the local member was advised to speak to the Council’s Team Leader: Tourism, Marketing and Events.
At the conclusion of the discussion the Committee:
Resolved: - subject to the above observations –
(i) to commend the Library Service on its performance against the Sixth Framework of the Welsh Public Library Standards; and
(ii) that a report on the Service’s performance against the Welsh Public Library Service Standards 2018-19 along with the draft new Library Service Strategy be presentenced to the Committee at its meeting in November 2019
- Library Performance Report 2017-18 310119, item 6. PDF 126 KB
- Libraries Report Appendix A WPLS - Denbighshire CC - Assessment Report, item 6. PDF 571 KB
- Libraries Report Atodiad-Appendix B, item 6. PDF 665 KB