Sport, Leisure and Culture Cabinet Member – minutes – 10 March 2010
The North Lincolnshire Central Library was currently open to the public for 49 hours per week. The current pattern of opening hours was set in 1994 under Humberside County Council.
In March 2010 the central library would be the first of four libraries to go live with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and self-service facilities. This technology would impact significantly on the way the library service was delivered and managed. Library customers would be empowered to issue and return their own items, releasing staff from repetitive routine duties to offer a more customer-focused service.
The technology would also introduce a more efficient service delivery model, with opportunities to explore how to deliver more for the same or less, such as increasing opening hours within existing resources.
The library service carried out a CIPFA PLUS customer survey every three years to assess satisfaction levels on various aspects of the library service. Comments in the 2006 and 2009 surveys indicated that some customers would like the Central Library to open at 9.00am instead of 9.30am during the week.
Resolved – (a) That the proposed increase to opening hours at North Lincolnshire Central Library be approved, and (b) that the increase in opening hours take effect from Monday 22 March 2010.
The council had a statutory duty to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service to all in line with the Public Library and Museums Act 1964. The council had to do this at a time of increasing pressure on public sector budgets.
Over the last twenty years there had been a national decline in traditional library use. This decline was reflected in North Lincolnshire where take up had always been relatively low. Although library issues had risen in recent years, since 1999 issues had fallen overall from 852,000 to 712,000 per year.
Recent library refurbishments and relocations to shared premises had helped to improve take up. Many libraries though, remained as traditional stand-alone facilities, and most offered a ‘one size fits all’ universal service.
A review of the North Lincolnshire library network had been carried out to assess fitness for the future in the light of key drivers for change, this had led to the development of a vision and blueprint for the strategic development of the library network. Approval of the vision and blueprint would allow the process of exploring and developing specific proposals to begin.
Resolved – (a) That the vision and blueprint for the strategic development of the library network be approved, (b) that authorization be given for the development of specific proposals for the library network, in line with the vision and blueprint, to begin, and (c) that the cabinet member for Sport, Leisure and Culture receive further reports on specific proposals for library facilities in due course.