Following the initial public consultation and engagement during the summer of 2019 regarding the future of libraries in Rotherham, the service has now produced a refreshed draft library strategy that offers a robust vision with clear priorities for the library service going forward. The draft strategy sets out the proposed approach to providing a modern, sustainable library service, recognising the financial constraints that the Council faces and the changes in the way people now use libraries.
It presents proposals for a needs-based library service. This means a library service where we prioritise our resources to achieve outcomes that will best meet the needs of those who live, work and study in Rotherham.
The Council recognises the importance of including residents, staff and stakeholders to help shape the future of library services and therefore would like to seek your views before making any final decisions.
Why have we developed a new Library Strategy?
Since publishing the Library Strategy 2016-2019 the way that people use their library has continued to change, and with it, their expectations and demands of their library service. Now the previous strategy has expired, the Council want to set out plans to ensure that the service continues to develop and thrive. The draft strategy for 2020-2025 presents a vision and framework for the library service over the next five years in order to meet the needs of people in Rotherham.
The library service seeks to offer something for everyone, whether this is a space for quiet study or reading, exciting activities or events and groups which bring people together. The strategy identifies improvements and efficiencies in order to deliver modern and sustainable services.
Feedback on this phase of consultation and engagement will allow the proposals for a future service delivery model to be finalised before being presented to Cabinet and Council Meetings for consideration.
What changes are being proposed?
The draft strategy proposes the following new vision for the Library Service:
“Libraries are a friendly and welcoming gateway to a world of reading, information, learning and creative activities, at the heart of our neighbourhoods.
We seek to build on the strong community spirit that exists throughout the borough and to place libraries at the heart of community life as a modern, relevant and innovative service that meets the needs of people from all sections of the community”.
A refreshed core offer is also being proposed and is as follows:
Located in the heart of Rotherham’s communities, our libraries will be recognised as neighbourhood hubs that are welcoming, safe and places to access information along with recreational, cultural and learning activity.
Our library buildings will bring together Council services and partners in order for people to access a range of services at a local level.
Our Libraries will carry an up-to-date and wide selection of books and reading material, including e-books, e-magazines, spoken word and large print.
Our libraries will be easily accessible. Offering ease of access for people with disabilities. They will be well used, with up-to-date facilities and be responsive to changing requirements, using available technology and resources effectively.
We will provide a level of service which is enjoyed and valued by those who visit the library, so they want to come again and tell others about their experience.
We will engage with library users and partners in meaningful ways, automating processes where possible to release time for genuine co-working with community groups, voluntary organisations and internal departments to deliver more efficient and better services.
Our staff are our most valued resource: we will invest in their knowledge and skills and give them opportunity to develop and apply their expertise with regular reviews of training needs, a programme of workforce development and specialist development where appropriate
Volunteers play a vital role in supporting and enhancing Rotherham libraries and will continue to do so in the future. The service recognises the added value that volunteers bring by offering their time, skills, experience and commitment. We will ensure our volunteers feel valued and get something worthwhile from the time they give us. In order to do this, we will continue to work closely with Voluntary Action Rotherham to ensure their interests and skills are well matched to our opportunities and that they are fully trained and properly supported by our paid staff.
This is key to taking advantage of opportunities in life, so we will inspire Rotherham’s children, young people and their families to enjoy reading, enabling them to improve their quality of life and realise their full potential.
We will encourage and support people to help themselves wherever possible, equipping them with the knowledge and means to get online using up-to-date I.T. equipment, and access information and services independently.
We will provide a wide range of activities, events, groups, clubs and courses which inspire and enable people to get more active and creative, more often
Learning and Information
We will provide support, advice and resources to enable people to learn, develop skills and enjoy healthy lifestyles.
We will be genuine neighbourhood hubs, bringing people and services together and encouraging people to build the support networks and partnerships they need to thrive.
Specific proposals for the future service offer include:
- The retention of libraries at 15 locations, the vehicle-based service and Schools Library Service.
- The positioning of libraries as essential community and cultural hubs, a first point of contact for Council services, partners and residents in neighbourhoods.
- Investment of capital funding to improve every library and its provision across the borough.
- Improved I.T. provision to support self-service, online and assisted digital service delivery.
- Co-location of libraries with other services at sites including delivery of Early Help Services for Children and Families in Kiveton, and the possible relocation of Thurcroft Library into another building with easier public access.
- Development option for a new town centre library co-funded by the government as part of the town centre redevelopment.
- Pilot of a community managed delivery model at Brinsworth, run by Brinsworth Community Trust with the support of Brinsworth Parish Council.
- Relocation of Swinton library as part of the wider regeneration of the town.
To read the draft strategy, the results of the consultation and engagement carried out in 2019 and the proposals in detail please go to the January 2020 Cabinet report
What happens next?
The consultation and engagement opens on 3rd February, 2020, and closes on 26th April, 2020.
A series of drop in consultation and engagement sessions have been planned, at these sessions you will be able to talk to Council staff to find out more information and take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. You can find dates and times for these sessions on the following page.
All responses received during the engagement period will be considered and will help the library service to confirm the future proposals for service delivery.
How to have your say
Please provide your views by completing our online survey
If you would like to ask a question or have more information you can:
Email: [email protected]
Attend a drop in session at your local library. You can find dates and times on the following page