Bradford Council seeks views on district's library service

Bradford Council wants to hear residents’ views as it develops plans for the district’s Library Service.

Bradford Council wants to hear residents’ views as it develops plans for the district’s Library Service.

The Council understands the importance of libraries as places for learning, leisure and for people to meet. It knows that local communities value their libraries which in many cases have been there for generations. 

Bradford Council has ambitions to use culture to drive regeneration through increased tourism, improved perception of the local area, and to improve wellbeing of the district’s residents. Against this backdrop, it is recognised that libraries play an important role in improving outcomes related to learning, civic pride, community cohesion, tourism, health & wellbeing and economic development, but this requires investment and a collaborative approach to future delivery.

Bradford Council has made sure that its library network has remained intact, even when the Council’s budget has been cut significantly.

But while it recognises the valuable contribution that libraries make to the district’s communities, like many other local authorities across the country it has to balance its ambitions with the need to reduce its budget and deliver savings because of government cuts.

Budget savings for the Library Service of £1.05m have been agreed for the financial year 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 which will leave the Council with an available gross budget of £1.82m to deliver the library service in the future.

So far savings have been achieved by looking at different ways of running libraries – so some are now community run and staffed by volunteers, while others are a mixture of volunteers and staff.

Staffing changes made this year have started to put in place the roles needed to support the district’s family of libraries and, going forward, the workforce will be supported and re-equipped with the skills necessary to deliver this. 

The Council is now launching a period of engagement with all those in the district who want to give their views on the future of libraries.  This is a chance for residents to tell the Council what they want out of a library network and to help shape proposals that will be drawn up when the engagement ends.

Those proposals will then be subject to formal consultation before any final decisions are taken in the New Year.

The Council has developed a survey which asks some key initial questions which are very important to future decision making. All residents are encouraged to complete a survey – whether they use a library all the time or not at all. It only takes a few minutes to have your say via this link: www.bradford.gov.uk/consultations/current-consultations/libraries-service-engagement/  

The page also features more information on the Council’s plans to re-shape the service, including a ‘needs analysis’ which will help residents better understand the performance of our libraries and assist them in forming a view before completing the survey.

Steve Hartley, Director for Place at Bradford Council, said: “Our Library Service plays a vital role within our communities and for residents across the district of all ages and circumstances.

“That’s why it’s so important that we engage with our residents and listen to their thoughts and views on our plans.

“We want to ensure that their feedback is used to help steer our plans for our libraries and find smarter ways to use public money ensuring we deliver services which are modern, fit for the 21st century and meet the needs of the communities they serve.”

Following this engagement exercise, we will review all the data collected across the district and will use this to develop detailed proposals for each of our libraries which will be published for all stakeholders to access. We will then consult with staff, residents, and wider stakeholders on these early in 2020.

Bradford Council is committed to undertaking an extensive and inclusive engagement and consultation process and will listen to the voices of all stakeholders including staff, library users, partners and residents.

If you are unable to complete the survey online, a hard copy version of the needs analysis, survey and other associated documents will be available in your local library. To find your local library, visit www.bradford.gov.uk/libraries


Information

Published: 13/11/2019
Audience: All school staff
Contact: Rebecca Smith

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