Draft Strategy for Public Libraries 2013 - 2017 - Public Consultation

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The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government invites comments from interested parties on the draft Strategy for Public Libraries 2013 – 2017. The draft public libraries strategy is an initiative of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the County and City Managers’ Association and the Local Government Management Agency. It sets out a plan for the systematic growth and development of public libraries in Ireland for the period 2013 to 2017 in the context of people’s changing needs, Government policy and the current and predicted economic, social and cultural environment.

Email: librariesdevelopment@lgma.ie

Post: Libraries Development,
Local Government Management Agency,
Local Government House,
35 – 39 Ushers Quay,
Dublin 8.

* Please note that comment forms are available from branches of Dublin City Public Libraries.*

Key Recommendations (as contained in the Draft Strategy for Public Libraries 2013-2017)

Under the seven programmes of activity, there are 43 strategic aims and 68 recommended actions in total. The following are the key recommendations:

The Library in the Community

  • The Department will continue strategic direction and will endeavour to provide financial support for the Library Buildings Capital Programme and service development, as economic circumstances allow.
  • Public libraries will explore the potential to secure additional funding through philanthropy, enterprise, public-private partnerships and other alternative sources.
  • Local authorities will work with Libraries Development, LGMA to undertake a comprehensive and ongoing National Audit of Public Library Buildings and Services to identify current service provision and best practice from which to plan national and local investment and improvement in library buildings and services.
  • Public libraries will be the frontline service of the local authorities and lead in community engagement, in line with the changing role of the local authorities and Government policy.

Library Services

  • Public libraries will further develop the roles of information, literacy, learning and job-seeking support centres in the community in addition to the traditional functions of promoting, literature, reading and culture.

Universal Membership

  • The Department will work with local authorities and Libraries Development, LGMA to investigate models of service provision in terms of value for money and effectiveness with a view to enabling free access to core information, learning and cultural services by 2017.
  • The Department, in conjunction with Libraries Development, LGMA will investigate the feasibility of a registration mechanism for universal public library membership for all children born in Ireland.

Shared ICT

  • Local authorities, with the support of the Department and Libraries Development, LGMA will collaborate at national and regional levels to develop a single national library management system to maximise accessibility, cost-efficiency, reach and impact.
  • A single library management system will enable
    o One single national membership for universal access to all public libraries and online library services
    o National access for all citizens to the digital library
    o National catalogue and database of resources giving access to information on all collections
    o Potential for development of other national services.
  • Libraries Development, LGMA, working with local authorities and the Department, will develop a framework for standards and guidelines for ICT in public libraries and set up a national standards committee to monitor implementation based on an annual audit.

Library Service Organisation and Delivery

  • A review of existing organisation structures and service delivery will be undertaken to establish stronger, more effective and efficient public libraries in the context of local government reform, shared services and new opportunities afforded by the strategy outcomes.

Shared Procurement

  • A policy for shared acquisitions for libraries will be developed, including a national acquisitions consortium for public library print and electronic resources that maximises the cost-effectiveness of resources expenditure, increases purchasing power and gets the best choice of material to the user in line with government policy.



I like universal membership, looking a great idea,

Thanks for the draft

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