High quality services at the heart of the community: Hub and Library Strategy 2019- 2023



The direction for the development of community hubs and libraries in Cardiff has been revealed, to ensure the service continues to meet customers' needs over the next five years.

The Hub and Library Strategy 2019 - 2023, which will be considered by Cabinet on February 20, sets out a vision for the service and a number of key aims and commitments to deliver high quality services and support in the heart of the community.

With a strong focus on digital services and inclusion, supporting children and young people, advice services and the health and wellbeing agenda, a key aim of the strategy includes the continued  development of the successful hubs  network  to increase the range of services available  to customers and the take up of those services.

Work is already underway to extend the hub programme to existing branch library buildings in the city to enable the delivery of additional services, with a focus on wellbeing and supporting independent living. Both Rhydypennau Library and Whitchurch Library are undergoing remodelling works to enable them to reopen this summer, offering a wider range of services and activities for customers.

Meanwhile, to improve support to children and young people, Butetown Pavilion is currently being refurbished to develop the city's first youth hub.

The strategy describes how library services are embedded within the hub offer and how Cardiff performs well against the Welsh Public Library Standards, ranking best in Wales in 2018/19 in four quality indicators with 91,000 active borrowers, 799,897 virtual visits, 2,600,848 visits and 214 volunteers.

Improving the digital offer is a key theme throughout the strategy, not only in the delivery of digital resources and services but also by supporting digital inclusion and extending support for all levels of ability, including young people seeking a career in digital technology.

There is also the commitment to expand and enhance volunteering within hubs and libraries by building on opportunities already offered, to work with partners and local community groups to offer events and activities outside core opening hours. This will not be used to replace Council service provision.

The strategy also acknowledges that some areas of the city, such as Riverside, have considerable levels of deprivation but do not have a community hub so it is proposed to review provision in the most deprived wards without hub provision to ensure local needs are met through the most effective alignment of services.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Hubs and libraries are already important facilities, right at the heart of their communities, providing quality council and partner services that meet the needs of local people.

"With this ambitious new strategy, we are aiming to improve services even further over the next five years by developing support and provision for a wider range of customers, encouraging more people to access better and extended services in our thriving hubs and libraries right across the city."

The 2019-2023 strategy also includes a draft Library Collection policy to inform the purchase, maintenance, sharing and disposal of library books and other resources.

This outlines how the Council is committed to providing a comprehensive and up-to-date collection of books and other resources and an intention to increasingly provide reference material in online form to ensure information is up-to-date.

The draft policy also sets out proposals to ensure Cardiff's legacy collection of historical manuscripts and books are stored and preserved appropriately. This would be achieved by retaining parts of the collection that have particular significance for Cardiff and sharing other parts of the collection with specialist organisations, such at the National Library of Wales and Cardiff University, who are better placed to restore and digitise these resources. Consultation with key stakeholders will take place on the policy if agreed by Cabinet at its next meeting.