Future libraries

Culture and Communities Committee decision - 7 December 2023

Amendment to Future Libraries report agreed by Culture and Communities Committee

1)         To note the update on Edinburgh’s Library Service and the plans for future development.

2)         To agree the proposal to develop a new strategy and vision for Edinburgh City Libraries Service which would provide the framework for service delivery and development over the next five years with the following additions:

a)         To agree that no libraries be closed or have their opening hours reduced as a result of the review.

b)         To agree that work be carried out to maximise the use of the existing estate, with an additional focus on areas with high levels of SIMD 1-4.

c)         To put tackling poverty at the heart of the strategy and any future proposals.

d)         To enshrine work to enhance literacy in children, and throughout age groups.

e)         To support community-based activity within the buildings for older groups or residents as well as employability and service access services currently facilitated in libraries to enhance residents’ wellbeing.

f)          To seek to retain and enhance services that provided for residents who had English as an additional language.

g)         To seek to recognise, enhance and protect the existing relationships that had been built between libraries staff and their communities.

h)        That the strategy would cover, but not be limited to tackling climate change, poverty and promoting social inclusion.

 3)        To agree to commence an engagement and formal consultation process, to be undertaken with residents, service users, elected members, key stakeholders and library staff to gather views and feedback on current and future libraries service provision in order to help shape a new libraries strategy and vision and to inform future proposals for change.

4)         To agree to receive a future report following completion of the engagement and consultation processes, which will include any specific proposals for change and the new libraries strategy for approval.

5)         To agree to establish a time limited All Party Oversight Group (APOG) to oversee the development of the libraries strategy and vision.

6)         To agree the membership of the APOG to be capped at one member per Council Group as a party spokesperson from that Group. The APOG would be convened at key stages of the service review, with the remit and review dates agreed at the first meeting in January 2024. This will be reported in the business bulletin, in line with the guidance for APOGs agreed at full Council in March 2023.

7)         To note that Blackhall Library remained closed due to the RAAC issues facing the building and ask for an update report in advance of this strategy being considered to Culture and Communities on options for the library’s future