Library strategy draft to be presented to Councillors
Conwy County Borough Council’s draft Library and Information Strategy 2021-2026 is due to be discussed by councillors this week.
The draft Strategy sets out what needs to be done over the next five years to make sure Conwy’s Library and Information Service meets the needs of local communities. It delivers on the aim set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan to develop libraries into community hubs that provide a wide range of services and activities.
The draft strategy was available for public consultation from 24 May to 18 July, and 761 responses were received to the consultation questionnaire.
Many of the responses supported actions in the strategy including:
- Continue to work in partnership with health and social care to explore the range of opportunities library spaces and resources provide to support mental health and wellbeing
- Evaluate the Community Library model after five years in existence. Agree a sustainable model for the next 5 years in partnership with town and community councils
- Increase the use of technology to improve access to Council information services.
The consultation asked for views on taking part in a feasibility study for a Community Hub in Abergele. The Abergele Town Centre Study Vision and Master Plan proposed to undertake a feasibility study of the Youth and Community Centre, Library, former Health Centre and car park site. Around a third of the respondents to the consultation supported this, but 41.5% responded, ‘did not know’ to the question. So it’s proposed that this action remains in the Strategy, and we’ll ask that public engagement be undertaken as part of any feasibility study work.
The consultation also asked for views on bringing Council customer facing services in Colwyn Bay together by assessing the potential for relocating Colwyn Bay Library to Coed Pella. 74.9% of respondents did not support this. In view of the feedback the Strategy has been amended and says that an options study be carried out for delivering a community hub at Colwyn Bay Library. Remaining in the existing building will require investment and it’s proposed that businesses cases will be submitted.
Cllr Mark Baker, Cabinet Member for Arts, Heritage and Culture said, “We are grateful for the feedback that we have received in response to our public survey. We have noted the tremendous support for our libraries and our staff. In view of all the comments received, we have amended the Strategy. We propose now to look at options for delivering community hubs, providing a wide range of services and activities to support learning and skills, employment and health and wellbeing."
Once the strategy has been approved by Councillors, the actions in it will be prioritised and detailed work will be carried out on each proposal over the next 5 years.
The Strategy will be discussed at the Council’s Economy and Place Scrutiny Committee on 20 October, before being presented to Cabinet for a decision on 26 October.
The meetings will be broadcast and can be viewed on the Council’s website www.conwy.gov.uk
Posted on 19/10/2021