Councillor Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City
Economy, introduced the Council’s new strategy and vision for
the City’s libraries for 2017 to 2027. The strategy sought to
maintain the Council’s 16 branch libraries and would be
subject to a 12-week period of consultation until 21 May 2017. The
consultation sought the public’s views on the proposals in
the strategy and those views would help shape the final strategy
which would be considered by the Council’s Cabinet in the
The Panel reflected on the journey taken by
the Ashmore Park Library into a community hub and how successful it
had been. It was suggested that members of the Councils should be
encouraged to visit this hub as a good example of what could be
achieved through co-location of a Library with other services.
The Panel commented on the difference in the
number of hours that Blakenhall and Collingwood Libraries were open
yet they served very similar communities and it was felt that the
consultation was not clear enough in relating the usage of the
Libraries to its opening hours to reflect the need within that
Comment was made about those Libraries that
were only open for a few hours a week and where staffed by
volunteers it was important not to ask too much from the
It was noted that the strategy sought to
achieve 6 key improved outcomes for the City that were set out in
paragraph 3.3.2. of the report and it was important that the
ability of the Library service to match these outcomes was assessed
to see how far this was being achieved.
Following a question from a member on the
importance of life coaches and what their role was, Councillor
Reynolds undertook to send a recent report on the skills needed for
life coaches to those members who were interested in it.
The Panel queried whether there was scope to
encourage commercial use of the Libraries for example encouraging
the Historical Society in Wednesfield to base themselves at the
Charlotte Johns, Head of Strategic Programmes,
advised that the purpose of the consultation was to seek the
public’s views and any submissions that sought additional
commercial use or would help support the running of a local library
were very much welcomed.
The Panel highlighted the need for individual
Libraries to match their services to needs of their local
communities, particularly for those areas where there are low wages
or little public transport where the Library provides a vital local
resource to that community.
The panel noted that it was intended to bring
the results of the consultation to a Cabinet meeting in July
Resolved – that the Panel’s
comments be considered as part of the consultation on the draft
Libraries strategy and following the consultation a further report
be submitted to the Panel.