Posted: Mon 16th May 2016

Working To Deliver A Sustainable Future For Gwynedd’s Libraries

This article is old - Published: Monday, May 16th, 2016

A report on Gwynedd Council’s updated ‘More than Books’ strategy to deliver a comprehensive and efficient Library Service for the county will be presented to a meeting of the Council’s Communities Scrutiny Committee on 19 May. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Work to develop a new strategy for the future of the county’s library service got underway in December 2014, and a public consultation to gather the views of residents, service users and the Council’s partners was carried out between May and July 2015. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In response to the feedback received during the public consultation process and the equality impact assessments, a number of amendments and adaptations have been made to the Council’s initial draft plans. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As a result, the strategy proposes that the authority’s Library Service should be based on a network of: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • Nine Area Libraries (Bangor, Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Y Bala, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Dolgellau, Tywyn);
  • Four Authority-led Community Libraries (Bethesda, Penygroes, Criccieth, Nefyn);
  • Mobile Library Services that would serve remote communities, providing home visits for disabled people and the Lori Ni mobile vehicle for the county’s children and young people;
  • Four Community Access Points (Deiniolen, Llanberis, Penrhyndeudraeth, Harlech).

Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries said: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It is always a challenge to deliver significant changes to a well-loved service that has remained relatively unchanged for many years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“A combination of the changing needs and expectations of local people, the growing popularity of digital and online material and the expectations of the Welsh Government that councils modernise their provision within a period of drastic cuts in the funding available to the Council, mean however that we can no longer carry on as we have done in the past. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We have listened carefully to what local people have told us during the public consultation and I firmly believe that what is now being proposed is the best possible model for delivering a modern and sustainable library service for Gwynedd for the decades to come. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“By recommending reductions in opening hours within the area libraries, changing the way some libraries are managed, modifying the Community Mobile Service and establishing community access points, we hope to be in a position where a library or access to the library service t can be maintained in all of the current communities where there is a library. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Whether we succeed will depend on the results of the discussions we will be having with Town and Community Councils and any other potential local partners over the next few months. As well as discussing our own plans, we will be eager to consider any realistic alternative arrangements that individual communities may wish to bring to the table.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the end of the process of discussing options with various communities, it is expected that a report will be presented to the Council’s Cabinet in September 2016 for a final decision. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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