Written Statement – Public Libraries in Wales

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport

Our public libraries are vital to Welsh Government strategies, policy and delivery for knowledge and skills, education and community development.  On 3 December, I announced an expert review of current and future plans by local authorities to deliver public library services. I would like to update members on progress to establish the expert review panel which will produce a report by July 2014. In supporting the review, my officials in CyMAL will work closely with local authorities through the Welsh Local Government Association. The panel will also consider the work  of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee’s short inquiry into public libraries in Wales.

The review will be undertaken by a small reference panel chaired by Claire Creaser, Director LISU, Loughborough University. Claire is an authority on library performance measures and led the development of the latest Welsh Public Library Standards Framework. The other panel members are Prof Hywel Roberts, a respected authority on libraries in Wales, Dr Steve Davies, Cardiff University who has a particular interest in the management of community libraries, and Peter Gomer, a Policy Officer at the Welsh Local Government Association, who has extensive experience in managing local authority cultural and leisure services. The panel will be tasked to produce a report by July 2014. I am grateful to the Chair and the members of the review panel for agreeing to complete this important work.

The panel will be initially tasked to review the current situation relating to local authorities’ delivery plans for public library services. Information will be sought from each local authority and further research commissioned on the likely impact of proposed changes on the performance of library services in meeting the current Welsh Public Library Standards Framework. A comparative benchmarking of the position in Wales against other national public library services outside Wales will also be available to the panel. The panel’s conclusions will be included in their report which will outline the position on an all Wales basis, highlighting best practice and any areas of concern.

In considering the position on a Wales-wide basis, the panel will be further tasked to consider whether alternative service delivery models would provide more efficient and effective library services, based on collaboration and joint procurement.

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Tweets re Pennard Library

Retweeted by Ian Ambrose
 ·  Feb 12  Pennard Library has been closed temporarily due to damage caused by the high winds. We will let you know when it is open again.
Retweeted by Ian Ambrose
 ·  Feb 11    ‘greater community support in running libraries, such as Pennard, might include multiple purpose use e.g. Library/Cafe’ 2/2
Retweeted by Ian Ambrose
 ·  Feb 11   re: Pennard Library: ‘…overall goal is to have greater community support in running libraries like Pennard’ 1/2

Swansea outlines proposal to cut £26m from budget

10 FEB 2014

Swansea outlines proposal to cut £26m from budget

From: Insider Media Ltd., 10th Feb 2014
http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/wales/108077-swansea-outlines-plan-cut-26m-budget

Swansea Council has outlined proposals to cut £26m from its budget in the coming financial year, which include raising council tax by 5 per cent and launching a community fund.The local authority unveiled its plan to cope with an expected shortfall of £12m in Welsh Government funding and £14m of extra spending pressures, following four months of public consultation.  Among the measures proposed, Swansea Council recommended raising council tax by 5 per cent. It also detailed plans to launch a £300,000 Community Transformation Fund to provide business planning assistance to groups seeking to set up community services

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

In addition, the budget proposed investing £1m in extra funding for roads and pavements, preventing the closure of any residential care home before April 2015, putting the closure of Pennard Library on hold, and reviewing all council fees and charges.

The council also set out its intention to reduce the number of potential redundancies by stopping the use of agency staff where possible and making greater use of fixed-term contracts.

Councillor Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance at Swansea Council, said: “The council is doing everything it can to protect jobs. In the past our focus has been on reducing management costs to protect the frontline and we will continue to do that.  “If we take action now to restructure the council to be smarter, leaner and more efficient it’ll mean our services will be more sustainable and we’ll be able to protect jobs in the long-term.”

Swansea Council’s budget proposals will now be considered by cabinet.

Council and community could come together to save Pennard library

08 FEB 2014

Council and community could come together to save Pennard library

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

From: South Wales Evening Post; Saturday February 08, 2014
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Hopes-saving-library/story-20587807-detail/story.html

LIBRARY campaigners in Pennard are being told if next week’s council budget is approved by cabinet, they will have to work with Swansea Council to keep it going.  It had been earmarked for closure but cabinet next week will be asked to look at the way in which the community can help run it.  Nick Bradley, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “There were strong views expressed by residents and during the budget consultation process we listened very carefully to what they had to say. That’s why we want to look at what can be achieved through the council and the community working together to ensure the library has a sustainable long-term future. ”We’re proposing the council continues to operate Pennard Library for now while we work with the community.”