Strong Cardiff performance in annual library service assessment


Cardiff Libraries Service is performing strongly in meeting the needs of its customers with a clear commitment to health and wellbeing, according to a new national report.


Every year, libraries services across Wales are assessed against the Welsh Public Library Standards and once again, Cardiff's provision has been commended for the top quality services provided to residents around the city.


The standards framework comprises of core entitlements, quality indicators with targets, quality  indicators with benchmarks and impact measures.  Cardiff has met all 12 core entitlements of the standards in full and of the 10 quality indicators which have targets, is achieving nine in full and one in part.


The annual assessment reported that Cardiff provided a wide range of activities and services to support the city's diverse communities, and in particular, there is a strong commitment to health and wellbeing with the city, ranking in the top quartile of library authorities for adults who feel the library makes a difference in terms of skills development, and health and wellbeing.


"The service has pursued the development of a number of innovative wellbeing-related initiatives", the report says, "including digital screens displaying health and wellbeing information; translation of Cancer Research UK videos into community languages; incorporating physical activity into story times; a sports library loaning equipment; and physical activities for older people."


The city is in the top quartile of library services for number of visits and virtual visits per capita and while the number of physical visits to the city's libraries has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, virtual visits have increased markedly, with demand for digital reading materials continuing to rise rapidly.


Children's resources are a recognised as a priority for the service, which offers a comprehensive children's events programme with activities across the age range.


The newly-refurbished Rhiwbina Hub, which opened earlier this year, is highlighted as an exemplar of a vibrant, community space while the service's programme of events and activities for adults at community hubs is helping to tackle social isolation and loneliness.


Cardiff libraries and hubs have more PCs per capita than the Welsh average and recent introductions to facilities include WiFi printing and a signing video app which allows deaf customers to communicate directly with interpreters.


Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "We are thrilled with our performance against the Welsh Public Library Standards and so pleased that our strong emphasis on delivering a service that seeks to boost people's health and wellbeing is so well-recognised in the report.


"This assessment shows that we are delivering a top class service to customers in the city and we will continue to make improvements. Wellbeing will continue to be a key area of focus as we work with partners to deliver projects, including bibliotherapy and Start Well, Live Well and Age Well.


"We also want to contribute to cultural wellbeing and develop collections that align to individual communities to ensure that all customers can identify with the book collections within their local library or hub."