A New Future for Library Services in the Vale - Working in Partnership with Communities
Published 28 April 2014
Library services in the Vale are set to be revitalised as part of a new library strategy for the county, after a full consultation exercise.
The radical redesign, discussed by the Vale Cabinet this week, looks to bring the Vale’s library services into the twenty-first century. The plans, informed by the recent library review will see Wi-Fi service upgraded and extended and digital services such as e-books pushed to the fore. Under the proposals no libraries in the Vale will close but instead new proposals to work in partnership with communities can be agreed.
The innovative plans will also see a ‘pop-up’ library service started in the Barry area. This service, which will be delivered by the Vale Council in partnership with Barry Town Council, will visit care homes and community centres and enable residents with mobility issues to access library services, which was lost when the previous Vale wide service was withdrawn.
Consultation will be carried out on the future management of some Vale libraries such as St Athan, Dinas Powys, Sully and Wenvoe, which could become community libraries run in partnership between local volunteers with support from the Council. This will be dependent upon further negotiations and consultation with various groups, organisations and Community Councils in the areas concerned. Such partnerships could even see libraries opened out of hours for book clubs or children’s activities as a result of the extra flexibility possible.
The proposed strategy will also allow the council to make savings of up to £500,000 over the coming years as it faces severe cuts in budgets from Government to the Council.
Cllr Neil Moore, Leader of the Council, said: "The way in which our residents use libraries is changing. This fact coupled with the financial pressures that the Council is currently facing has prompted a radical re-think of how we provide library services. The outcome of this is a new way of working that will not only secure the future of all of the Vale's libraries, but also broaden their appeal to bring in a new generation of library users.
"I would urge anyone interested to read the Cabinet report in full and not listen to any rumours, or false and misleading information, that appears to be spreading on this subject. It should be emphasised that there will be full consultation on the ‘proposed strategy’, which looks to find innovative solutions to the huge financial pressures facing local authorities across Wales rather than just closing services down.
"The Council is fully committed to the future of library services and has also committed over £300,000 to refurbish library buildings to ensure a quality service for local residents and that we will continue to do everything within our power to support the Vale's libraries."