Libraries performance explained

The Environment & Communities Overview & Scrutiny Board met with the Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism and the Head of Libraries last week.  The Board were very interested to receive the latest performance information on the Libraries Service  and  Members commended Steve Hardman as Head of Libraries and his staff for the excellent service that they provide. This is reflected in the fact that the City and County of Swansea is in the top quartile of performance in Wales.

Out of the fourteen Welsh Public Library Standards, Swansea Libraries complied with ten and partially achieved one other standard.  As a comparative indicator, the average number of standards achieved across Wales was nine, with the highest achieved being fourteen and the lowest, six.

The discussion at the meeting was wide ranging and the questions posed by the Board were ably answered by the Head of Libraries. The Board were particularly impressed with how the service deals with the needs of Welsh speakers within a limited budget. They were also pleased to hear of the recently refurbished library at Penlan, linked to the Community First building, and the joint working between Penlan Communities First and library staff to encourage more people to use the service.

The Board discussed the important contribution that the Library Service can make to literacy in Swansea and felt that it is very important that schools are encouraged to make the most of their local Libraries. The Board felt that there is also an important role for Councillors as school governors to promote this.

The Board also discussed differences in opening hours at separate libraries and will be following this issue up with the Cabinet Member.

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