'More than Books' – new strategy for Gwynedd Library Service approved

Date: 13/09/2016

‘More than Books’ – new strategy for Gwynedd Library Service approved

 Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet has approved a new strategy that will introduce changes to enure a sustainable and long term future for the county’s Library Service.

 The work of developing the new strategy for the library service has began since December 2014, and the Council has consulted with the public and its partners since this then. 

 The ‘More than Books’ strategy sets an objective of maintaining an efficient and comprehensive library service for the people of Gwynedd that will be within reach to anyone wishing to use the service, while simultaneously meeting national requirements at a time where money available to sustain services is decreasing.

 In order to accomplish this and to be able to continue offering this for the future, changes must be introduced to the service. The strategy moves to a provision that is based on:

 AreaLibraries – Maintaining nine area libraries in: Barmouth, Bangor, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Dolgellau, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Tywyn and Y Bala. The Council will look at these libraries’ opening hours and possibly consider altering times to suit needs.

Mobile Library – There will be three different types of mobile libraries which will continue to be available. These are: Mobile Libraries for Rural Communities, mobile library service to the home (for people who are unable to visit the library building because of a disability or medical condition) and the Children and Young People Mobile Library (Lori Ni). The Council will consider where these vehicles stop and alter to suit needs. 

Community Libraries – The Council will work with four local communities to establish Community Libraries at Bethesda, Penygroes, Criccieth and Nefyn. Gwynedd Council will continue to provide the same library service within these communities, but by sharing the building with other partners. Again, the Council will consider these libraries’ opening hours and possibly amend to suit users’ needs.

Community Links – The current provision of maintaining a library building will come to an end in Llanberis, Deiniolen, Penrhyndeudraeth and Harlech communities, with a Library Link established to provide an opportunity to collect books chosen and ordered online.

 Councillor Ioan Thomas, Cabinet Member for Gwynedd Council with responsibility for Libraries said:

 “We appreciate that any change to a service which is so close to many people’s hearts, and that hasn’t encountered change for many years, is challenging. But having listened carefully to what local people had to say during the public consultations, I believe that what is now being put forward is the best model possible in order to provide a modern and sustainable library service for Gwynedd for the coming years.

 “A combination of the changing needs and expectations of residents, the growing popularity of digital and online material and the Welsh Government expectations that councils modernise their provision within a period of drastic cuts in the funding available to services, means that introducing change is inevitable.

 “By introducing a model where there will be changes in opening hours within area libraries, changing the way some community library buildings are managed, introducing modifications to the Community Mobile Service and establishing community links, we hope the library or an access to a library service will continue to be available for all Gwynedd residents.

 “We have discussed the strategy with partners, including community and town councils, and we will now be continuing to discuss with them over the coming months as we move forward towards the new arrangement. I would like to thank them for their willingness to discuss and work with us to identify new solutions to offer a sustainable library service for the future for all of the county’s residents.”

 The changes will begin to be implemented from October 2016 onwards, with all changes in place during 2017.