A report from the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services is attached. This seeks approval, for recommendation to full Council, of a new Library Development Strategy 2015-2018. (Key decision – reference number 4043)
(8.30 – 8.35 pm)
Councillor Ayfer Orhan (Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection) introduced the report of the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (No.7) seeking approval of a new Library Development Strategy 2015-2018 and the investment necessary to realise the vision.
1. That the Library Strategy recognised the pressures on resources and the changing needs of the Borough’s residents. The Council was committed to providing a sustainable future for its libraries. The Strategy set out in Appendix C of the report provided a clear vision for the future. The Council would continue to support all 17 libraries, which was the highest number in a London Borough. A number of initiatives were being considered including co-locations; increased community involvement and the provision of space for community and voluntary organisations with effective partnership working.
2. The opening hours of the libraries would be considered with the potential for some libraries opening for some hours on 7 days per week. Councillor Orhan highlighted a number of positive issues for Members’ attention and outlined the targeted support that would be offered for residents who were unable to physically visit a library.
3. The key outcomes of the consultation were highlighted in section 7 of the report. Section 7.13 of the report set out how the Council had amended its original proposals in the light of responses received during the consultation.
4. An equality impact assessment had been undertaken as detailed in section 8 of the report.
5. That paragraph 5.10 of the report had been amended to read: “Bring to an end the mobile library service and existing/new customers who cannot attend a physical library will be offered a different service through an extended Home Library Delivery Service which will be supported by volunteers”.
6. A further report would be provided at a future meeting of the Cabinet, when appropriate, providing an update on the developments being implemented.
7. Councillors Sitkin and Brett praised the proposed Library Strategy which was innovative and exciting. It represented a vision for the future and embraced the development of modern technology. The retention of 17 libraries was acknowledged together with the proposals for voluntary sector involvement.
Alternative Options Considered: The Council had considered four key alternatives, as set out in section 10 of the report and summarised below:
· Retaining the service as it currently stands with no budget reduction.
· Increasing revenue and cutting costs without impacting on service delivery
· Closure of libraries
· Outsourcing libraries to a trust or other organisation
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL
1. The Library Development Strategy as set out in Appendix C of the report be approved at the forthcoming Council meeting. This proposed delivering option 1 of the consultation options with some amendments to reflect the views expressed.
2. To note that the 7 day a week opening for the four flagship libraries would be piloted for one year and then reviewed.
3. That the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services and Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection be delegated authority to approve co-location partnerships for the community libraries.
4. That the capital works required to deliver the improvements to the Edmonton Green Library set out in section 12a of the report (up to £5m) be added to the Council’s Capital programme with the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services and Cabinet Member for Finance Efficiency being given delegated authority to start procurement and award contracts subject to further key decision notifications.
Reason: To deliver significant savings towards the Council’s £80m target whilst protecting libraries from closure and ensuring a viable future for libraries that remain at the heart of local communities. The proposed option was the preferred option of the majority of respondents in a comprehensive consultation with amendments to reflect the concerns raised. The Equalities Impact Assessments illustrate that no one group was adversely affected by the proposal with access remaining high.
(Key decision – reference number 4043)