Agenda item

Libraries Service Update

To consider a report by the Chief Librarian which provides an overview of the activity of Leeds Libraries during the past 18 months and outlines the key priorities for the service as part of the Service Recovery Strategy.




(Report attached)


The Chair introduced and welcomed Andrea Ellison, Chief Librarian and Mark Kirkby, Senior Librarian from Library Services.


The Chief Librarian provided an overview of the activity of Leeds libraries during the past 18 months which included:


·  Customer support

·  Customer support for developing digital skills

·  Developing the digital library offer – Resources and online events/ activities


Members were also informed of the key priorities for the service as part of the Service Recovery Strategy:


·  Economic recovery, with help and training for job seekers and entrepreneurs

·  Education support for children and SEND (special education needs) students who struggled to learn at home

·  Isolation mitigation for vulnerable groups and to help people reconnect locally

·  Digital inclusion for residents who lack IT skills or who have no access to the Internet

·  Cultural partnership to help local artists and arts organisations to continue their work


Members acknowledged the vast majority of the service was based centrally, but what were the plans for outer areas and in particular the older population in those areas.


Members were informed that the Library Service did have a fleet of buses which were used as mobile libraries, currently these buses were being used as vaccination buses but as the services returned to more normal working, the mobile library services would resume. It was also reported that a library services was operational in the various Community hubs.


Members queried how audio books were accessed through the Library Service and also how newspapers could be accessed.


In responding the Chief Librarian said some newspapers, including the YEP could be accessed by downloading the Libraries App on the Council Website (Via press reader). There was also a well-established database of audio books and again this could be accessed by downloading the Libraries App.


Members suggested that the older population need to be encouraged to use local libraries and be offered training on computers/ digital devices, the possible use of family history/ Leodis as a way of creating interest.


Councillor Robinson said there was a proposal to run a pilot programme for digital skills in the Scholes Library to raise awareness of the Library Service. If the pilot is successful the scheme could be tried in other areas, creating digital health clubs.


Members asked if there was much work undertaken with schools.


The Chief Librarian said the Library Service operated a Schools Library Service. Members were informed that during the pandemic the service operated on- line, but as more normal working resumes children will be reacquainted with libraries, getting them into Libraries as “real members”


Councillor Lamb requested if the experience of the Library Service could be sought in promoting/ advertising the 200th Anniversary of the sale of Wetherby. Councillor Lamb said it was intended to deliver a project that would showcase the history of Wetherby over the past 200 years through the use of historic photographs, archive material and maps, progressing through to more modern times and the use of drone footage and virtual tours.  Once completed the project would deliver an historic record of Wetherby covering the last 200 years.


In responding the Chief Librarian said the service may be able to offer its knowledge and experience where necessary


The Chair thanked Officers for their attendance and contributions.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.

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