Hampshire County Council

Executive Member - Recreation and Heritage

Item 3

11 March 2008

Initial response to the report of the Library Scrutiny Panel

Report of the Director of Recreation and Heritage

Contact: Richard Ward Tel: 01962 826621 e-mail: richard.ward@hants.gov.uk

1. Summary

1.1 The Culture and Communities Select Committee carried out a thorough and wide ranging review into the public library service provided to the people of Hampshire by the Recreation and Heritage Department. The committee took evidence from the Authority's own staff, from lay users of the service, and from experts in libraries and related fields. Visits were also made to other authorities to view experiences elsewhere.

1.2 A comprehensive report was presented to the Committee meeting on 24 January 2008 and has been forwarded to the Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage for her comments and action.

2. Recommendations

2.1 That the Executive Member welcomes the report of the Culture and Communities Select Committee investigation into the public library service and will ask the Director of Recreation and Heritage to prepare a response its recommendations. A progress report is requested by January 2009, with some other actions requested by July 2008.

3 Background

3.1 The purpose of the review was to evaluate progress of the Hampshire Library and Information Service against a background of, typically, national decline in the use of libraries and the borrowing of books.

3.2 The objectives of the review were to identify factors considered to be key to good performance and that promote use of public libraries, including issues of:

3.3 This was to be done by acquiring and considering relevant documents, and by obtaining written and verbal evidence from key stakeholders drawn from the a wide range of employees, users, other library services and related concerns such as the book trade and government agencies. The review was to culminate in a report making constructive recommendations, as appropriate, to the Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage.

3.4 Members of the review panel were Cllr. K. Chapman (Chairman), Cllr. P. Chegwyn, Cllr. Dr. R. Ellis, Cllr. B. Gurden, Cllr. R. Kimber, Cllr. A. Rice, and Cllr. D. Wright.

3.5 The review panel met several times during its work, took evidence from witnesses, read papers, and visited other libraries. Its report was considered by the Select Committee's meeting on 24 January 2008.

4. The report's recommendations

4.1 The report produced a number of recommendations of which the most significant were:

Links to Corporate Strategy

Hampshire safer and more secure for all

Maximising well-being _

Enhancing our quality of place _

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

N.B. the list excludes:

1. Published works.

2. Documents that disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.


Report of Library Scrutiny Panel Democratic Services