Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting : 28th April 2014


Report of the Cabinet Member for Adult Services


Mobile Library Pop-up Service


Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform members of the progress made with Barry Town Council to re-establish a mobile library service for Barry.


1.         Members approve the establishment of a targeted mobile library service for Barry in partnership with Barry Town Council to be launched on 2nd June.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         The Council Corporate Plan (2013-2017) includes a commitment to reintroduce a mobile library service with other interested partners. Barry Town Council showed an interest in working with the Vale Council to reintroduce the service from the initial consultation phase. 


2.         The original mobile service, which operated throughout the Vale, was withdrawn in 2011/2012 in order to achieve budgetary savings.  In the last full year of operation over 40,000 books and talking books were loaned from the two vehicles and the mobile was used by nearly 900 active users. The withdrawal of the service was felt keenly by many people, especially those who could not get to an alternative library. 

3.         Most customers who used the mobile library were able to start using a static library in the Vale and have continued as active library members. Other customers qualified for the Home Library Service which is delivered to housebound people who have no family members or friends able to regularly collect books on their behalf. 

4.         Despite these alternatives there were still some groups of former users without regular access to books. Chief amongst the groups who were left without an adequate service were residents of care homes who had formerly been able to borrow books when the mobile visited their home. Some residential homes do make use of the deposit collection service from libraries but this is not suitable for all and requires staff at the home to administer it.

5.         An initial consultation letter was sent to schools and town councils at the end of February 2013 asking for interested partners to come forward to help provide and fund a service to specific target groups. There were several expressions of interest, but the most positive response came from Barry Town Council.

6.         Since the summer of 2013 the Vale Library Service has met with Barry Town Council several times and, after discussing various options, has agreed to provide a service to residential homes and community centres in Barry for a one year trial period. The expectation is that this will be renewed on an annual basis if the service is successful.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         The purpose of the new service is to address the needs of care home residents for a service which is taken directly to their home. The service will also be available to deliver to day centres and groups who meet at community centres, particularly groups of people who do not use their local library because of issues to do with mobility and access.

8.         Barry Town Council will cover the staffing cost of a library assistant to deliver the service, cover part of the management costs and the cost of leasing and running the vehicle. The responsibility for the day to day management of the service, including route planning, hire of vehicle, staffing and promotion will rest with a library manager. The Library Service will operate the service with a volunteer driver accompanied by a fully trained library assistant. The Library Service will provide all necessary book stock and supplies.

9.         The service is dependent on suitable volunteer drivers being available; and when not available the service will not operate. Recruitment will ensure that there is more than one volunteer so that there is always a choice of alternative drivers. 

10.      There are no suitable existing Vale Council vehicles to operate this service, and as the vehicle will only be required on one or two days per week it is proposed that a vehicle will be leased on this basis.

11.      Customers will not enter the vehicle. Books will be unloaded and taken into the residential home or community centre and displayed there for an hour or two on a two or three week timetable, as agreed with each venue. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      Barry Town Council has agreed to cover the annual cost of the vehicle lease, the fuel costs, staffing costs for a library assistant and management support. The total charge to the Town Council will initially be based on a service of one day a week but this will rise to two days a week if the demand is present.

13.      The total annual charge for one day a week service for 48 weeks will be £8,955 plus fuel charges, comprising £6,480 for a library assistant, £1,851 for management support, and approximately £624 for vehicle leasing. The two day a week option would cost double the above sum at £17,910 plus fuel charges as required. The management charge will be used to actively manage and develop the pop-up library route plan and schedule to ensure the service is provided where it is needed. The service will be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis and there will be a quarterly report to the Town Council.

14.      The Vale Library Service will cover all the initial start-up costs in the form of books, (approximately £4,000) a laptop, software and supplies (approximately £950) and all the time necessary to recruit and train a driver, make contact with homes and other venues, and establish the service.  There will also be an ongoing commitment to market the service, and replenish stock to the sum of £3,400 per year or more as required.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.      The development of the pop up library provides an innovative approach to sustaining a mobile library service.

16.      The transit van selected for the service will be efficient and will operate within Barry Town only so there will be minimal effects on traffic, fuel use and vehicle emissions.  As a leased vehicle there will be no issues related to replacement.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17.      A Service Level Agreement will be developed between Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council.

18.      Compliance with Regulation 23 of Financial Regulations is required in respect of leasing of the vehicle.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.      The vehicle will be fitted with locks and there will be instructions to lock the vehicle when not in use. The service will require the use of a laptop which will be encrypted, secured on site and in transit and not left in the vehicle overnight.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.      This is an innovative service and a flexible and creative approach will be taken to ensure the service meets the need of customers and is accessible to all who wish to make use of it. The service will be actively managed to ensure this happens and will be receptive to the views of partners and groups of customers to ensure the development meets the needs of target groups. Should other partners wish to buy-in to the service it could be expanded to meet needs.

21.      The service will provide a selection of Welsh language materials and will widen access to the service on request.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22.      LS19 - Reintroduce a mobile library service in partnership to improve access to library services following consultation about how the service will be delivered (2013/14).

Policy Framework and Budget

23.      This is a matter for Executive decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.      Consultation letter sent to all schools and community councils in February 2013 requesting initial interest in becoming a partner in the service.

25.      Report delivered to Barry Town Council for meetings in autumn 2013 followed by several meetings with Town Councillors.

26.      Letters sent to Residential Homes and Community Centres in April 2014 offering the service.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers



Contact Officer

Christopher Edwards - Chief Librarian


Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Andrew Borsden - Lead Officer Youth and Community Learning

Gareth George - Fleet Manager

Operational Manager - Legal Services


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill - Chief Learning and Skills Officer