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Library Strategy 2010 2013

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Key Priorities

The council is urged to negotiate with the landlord at Wigmore Library to reduce the rent or look to relocate the library in the Wigmore/Stopsley area.
vi The Staff

Staff are our greatest asset and currently the library service has a work force of 87.66 FTE covering a total of 365.75 opening hours a week and also delivering the home library service, answering information enquires, offering ICT support, delivering a programme of events to support reader development and a programme of outreach activities.

Staff have a range of mixed skills and qualifications and are committed to giving an excellent customer service. All have ECDL or equivalent ICT experience and have good ICT skills and are currently working through a programme called Frontline to improve their confidence in talking to customers about different authors and book choices.

There is a tailored training programme for staff, which is updated regularly, and Libraries achieved the Investors in People standard before moving into the Trust. The Trust is currently working on reaccredidation as a whole organisation.

Libraries have reduced 5 FTE staff in the last year at the Central Library, facilitated partly by the introduction of RFID, and there is a need to look at staffing levels in other RFID libraries and to ensure staff have the skills to deliver the new ICT agenda and to look to volunteer recruitment to help support these library services where appropriate.

5. Service developments and improvements for the next 3 years

Service delivery and development for the next 3 years will fall into 3 categories

  1. To deliver and develop the core library service.

  2. To deliver the strategic and service objectives of the Trust

Strategic Objectives

  • To provide high quality cultural services which meet the diverse needs of local communities

  • To promote the value of cultural activity in addressing the wider agenda of health, education, deprivation and economic regeneration

Service Objectives

  • To increase participation in and attendance at libraries

  • To increase customer satisfaction with services

  • To increase income generation and diversify income streams to enable LCST to enhance services they provide

  1. To feed into and support the town wide priorities of

  • Stronger and safer communities

  • Health and well being

  • Children and Young People

  • Local economy and environmental sustainability

  • Creativity and Inspiration

Miss E who suffers from dyslexia, has completed her first two module course on learning how to use the Keyboard. She is making real progress and is gaining confidence from being with a tutor on a 1 to 1 basis who understands her particular needs and has the patience and time to offer her additional support. She will be returning next to start a further course on using the Internet safely and then will study Searching the Internet and e mail. This will assist her greatly with her coursework, as she is beginning to study an NVQ in childcare and use of computers will really make a difference to her ability to complete her academic work.

The strategy seeks to focus on these priority areas and look at where we are/what we do now, where we want to be and what we can do to get there.

6. Conclusion
There is no doubt that there are difficult times ahead but in times of economic downturn, services that support communities and provide free access to books, information, ICT and learning and provide safe neutral spaces are more important than ever. It is vital that people seeking new jobs, further self development or indeed something to do when resources are scarce have somewhere they can go where advice is free and impartial and which has no stigma attached to it.
Luton Culture is committed to running an effective and dynamic library service. It may ultimately include running fewer buildings, but alternatively our remit may increase, working with more partners in the public, private and third sectors to respond to the needs of local people.
Our action plan for the future is given on page 16 onwards.

Key Priority Areas

What we do

Areas for development

Actions to get there


Core Library Offer/ Trust


Core Library Offer/ Trust


Core Offer, see P 4-6


Ensure stock levels and buying procedures are relevant to today’s community


Ensure ICT offer meets new policy needs & staff training/structures facilitate this


Agree core library events/activities

Opening hours

Ensure opening hours meet community needs

Library Management System

Ensure LMS meeting service needs and giving value for money

Increase usage

Increase income

Customer consultation

Review stock provision and update policy including language and audio provision

Ensure stock rotation scheme effective

Seek sponsorship for e-books

Review and advertise ICT services

Investigate the provision of WIFI in libraries

Review and deliver events as appropriate linking into Trust wide events as appropriate

Review opening hours to ensure meet community needs

Review existing system for renewal of JWA in Sept 2012

Marketing campaign
Update marketing strategy
Investigate library ‘shops’ in all libraries

Ensure ex stock sales maximise income

Investigate new income streams
Adult CIPFA Plus survey

Children’s CIPFA Plus Survey

Investigate alternatives to above








2010/11 & ongoing


Stronger & Safer Communities

  • Network of libraries – seen as safe and neutral community spaces

  • Wide range of information – electronic and paper

  • Venues for displays/exhibitions & meetings

  • Provision of books , magazines and newspapers including a variety of community languages

  • Variety of volunteer opportunities

  • Develop partnerships with the council and other organisations to get information out to the community & as a place for displays/ exhibitions etc

  • Promotion of libraries by council and other organisations as a place to use online services where there are staff to help

  • Development of commissioning activities to support communities and sustain the service

  • Develop and increase volunteer activities in libraries

  • Work with commissioning officer and other key contacts in council, police, PCT etc. to get message out

  • As above

  • Take part in IDEA project

  • Develop relationships with commissioning officer in the PCT, council etc

  • Promote opportunities





Health & Well Being

Health & Well Being

Health & Well Being

Children & Young People

Children & Young People

  • Network of libraries – seen as safe and neutral community spaces

  • Used by 50% of population

  • Venues for displays/exhibitions & meetings

  • Wide range of information – online and hard copy on healthy lifestyle, exercise and diet, stop smoking etc

  • Provision of books including large print, audio and e books

  • Health Information Points

  • Books on Prescription

  • Access to Patient

Choice and the NHS health checks

  • Regular Health Fairs

  • Participants in town wide campaigns such as ‘Full of life at 50’

  • Home Library service

  • ICT awareness for those not online

  • Books for children from birth to teenage year

  • Support for children’s reading and learning

  • Under 5s

  • Bookstart

  • Baby Rhyme time

  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library

    • Over 5s

  • Summer Reading Challenge

  • Children’s reading groups “Chatterbooks”

  • Stories on the Web

  • Homework Clubs

  • Provision of study space

  • Venues for home teaching & excluded pupil support sessions

Consultation with Children and Young People

  • Develop partnerships with the council and other organisations to get information out to the community & as a place for displays/ exhibitions etc particularly at the Central Library in regard to Luton’s Health Inequalities Reduction Strategy

  • Promotion of libraries by council and PCT as a place to seek informationand to use online services where there are staff to help

  • Development of commissioning activities to support communities and sustain the service

  • Promotion of Health Information Points with annual information/booklist list

  • Extend the BOP service across the town and to children

  • Promotion of patient Choice and Health Checks

- Promote service to over 50’s

-Increase number of volunteers delivering to reach more customers
-Develop ‘library’ personalisation options to enable those in care to access library services and events.

  • Continue to develop programme with Sight Concern

-Develop and promote a core programme of ICT opportunities to ensure Smarter Government and Race for Life objectives met

-Increase the number of children in Luton who are library members

-Market and develop new library at Marsh Farm in partnership with Lea Manor School
-Increase promotion of importance of books and learning to new parents

  • Increase numbers attending events and raise awareness of what libraries offer

  • Promotion of homework clubs

  • Better promotion of quiet study space

  • Better involvement of children and young people in library developments to ensure services reflect their needs.

  • Work with commissioning officer and other key contacts in the PCT and health surgeries

  • As above

  • Take part in IDEA project

  • Develop relationships with commissioning officer in the PCT, council etc

  • Advertising campaign/Health Fair

  • Evaluation of project/partnership with PCT. Extend if successful

-Publicise in leaflets etc

-Work with partners to ensure well attended by local organisations

  • Additional talks. Work with organisations such as Age UK & U3A, Sight Concern, Older Persons Forum

  • Advertising campaign. Work with other volunteer organisations such as Vinvolve

  • Working with partners – other Trust services to develop options

  • Maximise joint working and promote

  • Review and advertise services

  • Programme of events

  • Continue to deliver all initiatives listed in column 2 and publicise.

  • Continue with school memberships

  • Create new babies card for Registrars to give new parents

  • Seek funding to enable services to deliver more baby rhyme times

  • Promotion of Bookstart, libraries and the importance of reading for young children

  • Promote events through the Trust, schools and partners across the town

  • Create a Trust wide children’s programme

-Bookmarks out to school

- Highlight in publicity

and /advertising

  • Further consultation involvement of children and young people in services















2010/11 & ongoing


2010/11 and ongoing





Local economy & environmental sustainability

Local economy & environmental sustainability

Creativity and Inspiration

  • Free access to ICT

  • Free access to lifelong learning

  • Free access to books and information

  • Access to career advice, job adverts and employment advice/information in hard copy and on line

  • Work in partnership with learning organisations to ensure a selection of basic skills courses run in the Central & strategic libraries

  • Provide advice and support to new and emerging businesses in partnership with local and national organisations

  • Welcome to Luton events

citizenship and driving theory tests

  • Offer work experience opportunities through volunteering

  • Information on environment and environmental issues

  • Provision of a wide range of fiction in various formats including classics, latest best sellers, ‘easy reads’, challenging contemporary and graphic novels

  • Support for children’s reading to encourage an enjoyment of reading including Bookstart, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Baby rhyme time and the Summer Reading Challenge.

  • Reading groups for adults and children

  • Reader development activities for both adults and children, themed stock displays, promotional and author events

-Develop and promote a core programme of ICT opportunities to ensure Smarter Government and Race for Life objectives met

  • Continue to develop partnerships with e.g. Next Step, Adult and Community Learning, Barnfield, the Learning Partnership etc to support basic skills learning and employment advice and support

  • Better promotion and awareness of advice and support given

  • Extend events beyond Migration Impact project and involve other organisations

  • Advertise more widely to increase awareness of facilities

  • Develop and increase volunteer activities in libraries

  • Organise one environmental day per annum to increase awareness of environmental issues and recycling

  • A planned programme of author events, with partners and local organisations growing into a town wide literature festival

  • More joined up events with arts and museums commencing with the Ancient Greeks Exhibition and Truck Art Stories

  • Agree core library events/activities

  • Review and advertise services

  • Programme of events

  • Review and advertise services

  • Programme of events

  • Marketing and publicity

  • Review programme and advertise

  • Publicity and advertising


-Work with partners to ensure well attended by local organisations

  • Seek partners and funding

  • Small festival

  • Larger festival

  • Liaise with Museums team for book list and joint events etc

  • Deliver a programme of storytelling and events for Truck Art/Stories of the World

  • Review and deliver events as appropriate linking into Trust wide events as appropriate










Appendix A – Consultation

Luton Libraries have used four pieces of consultation specifically for this strategy but also have used information given by users in the Cipfa Plus Survey in October 2009. The draft strategy will also be published on the Luton Culture website and highlighted in the Council’s newspaper Lutonline to solicit wider comments.

1. Cipfa Plus Survey – October 2009

1794 users responded to the questionnaire, and the percentage of customers who rated the service(s) as good or very good were as follows:

  • 91% - the library was a safe place to visit

  • 88% - the attractiveness of the inside of the library

  • 86% - the standard of customer care

  • 83% - hours of opening

  • 82% - provision of seating and tables

  • 57% - the outside attractiveness of the buildings good/good

Overall, 85% of respondents rated the overall quality of their library service as good or very good, with only 2% rating it poor or very poor.

Areas where there was least satisfaction in the service overall were:

Information was also sought through additional comments and again comments for improvements were about stock, opening hours and computers, though needing additional study space also featured regularly. Customers want more opening hours, more computers, more books and more study tables! It is apparent however from many of the comments made that customers do not understand what books Luton Libraries stock and what the remit of the public library is. For example there were many comments about not having multiple copies of text books to cover college and university courses, but this is not a public library role. Customers also did not seem to understand that if a book is not on the shelf, it may be on loan and can be reserved.

2. Citizens Panel – Early 2010

The Citizens Panel was used to target non-users and 407 telephone interviews took place 15 March–1 April 2010. In reality 49% of the residents taking part had used a library in Luton in the last year, with 76% of those using the Central Library, Leagrave and Wigmore Libraries. Of those that had not used libraries, 60% said they had no need to use one; 24% were too busy and 9% said they could not get to one.

When asked if there was anything from a suggested list that would encourage them to use the library 30% said being able to borrow books; 25% being able to find out information; 24% doing local & family history; 21% borrowing CDs and DVDs; 18% purchasing new books, 17% undertaking informal learning and 15% attending children’s events. All these services including purchasing new books via the library website at Amazon.
10% of those questioned had used the library’s website in the last six months, 40% to renew/reserve books; 24% to check the library catalogue; 21% to access online information; 17% to find out opening times and 12% to find out about events.
3. Senior Persons Forum Focus Groups – July 2010

20 people aged 60 attended two sessions in July 2010. The majority used the service and were very supportive of it. Both groups were not aware of all the services libraries offered and there was little awareness of any advertising apart from Lutonline which residents in Bramingham do not get delivered. Both groups sited the carpark closure as an issue for the Central Library. The mobile, home library service and audio books were all seen as important.

  1. Young Parents Group at Marsh Farm Children’s Centre – August 2010

Seven young parents in their twenties attended this session with their children. Only one used the library, the rest really had not thought about the relevance of the library to their family, saying they were too busy, downloaded music etc However they were rethinking that and more interested in using the service after meeting staff and learning about what libraries could offer. The main points that came out of the meeting were:

  • Lack of publicity from the library service about what services are provided.

  • Libraries look dull (Sundon Park particularly mentioned) do not have adequate signs outside to show what they are.

  • Anxiety about damage to books and fines.

  • Whilst not seeing the relevance of libraries for themselves, they felt they were important for their children and older people.

  • Anxious about using the new shared use library at Lea Manor – bad memories of school.

5. Library Advisory Panel – September 2010

Seven people attended this meeting consisting of two Trustees and five members of the public, the latter all being library users who between then used the service for book borrowing in the main, but with some IT use.

Despite being library users they were not aware of all the variety of different services on offer and felt better marketing was needed. They also felt there would always be the need for the libraries with a physical presence. One said ‘it is a safe neutral space … where else would people go for that kind of arena’.

Appendix B – Profile of People using Luton Libraries
1. Actual usage
i Active Peoples Survey April – October 2008

49.4% of the population in Luton used libraries. Sample size 570

ii Citizens Panel February 2010

A half of residents taking part in the survey (49%) have visited a library in Luton in the last 12 months. Among these, almost a half visited Luton Central Library (48%) on the last occasion. Just under one in five visited Leagrave Library (18%) and one in ten Wigmore Library (10%). More than one in ten users (12%) visit the library about once a week or more often. A similar proportion (11%) visit it about once every two weeks. In contrast, about one in six (16%) visit it less often than once every few months. Sample size 407.

iii Active Users

Whilst c 50% of the population use libraries, 40,432 people used a library card in 2009/10 to borrow an item or use ICT. You do not have to be a library member or have a ticket to use libraries to study, read, seek information, browse etc.

2. Demographics

The Cipfa Plus adult (16+) surveys, which take place every three years, have always given a useful demographic snapshot over a week of who is using the library service. The 2006 survey was particularly useful with only c 14% of customers not completing the data. In 2009, significantly more people refused to complete personal data making it less useful. Both survey demographics are included below as a result and show the diversity of people using libraries.

i 2006 Adult Cipfa Survey


  • 47% were male

    • 43% female

    • 10% did not provide the information


  • 16% were aged 16-24

  • 17% were aged 25-34

  • 31% were aged 35-54

  • 9% were aged 55- 64

  • 8% were aged 65 and over

  • 14% did not provide the information

Range of economic activity

  • 11% were in part time employment

  • 25% were employed

  • 4% were self employed

  • 9% were unemployed

  • 11% in full and part time education

  • 4% were looking after home/family

  • 2% were permanently sick or disabled

  • 18% were retired

  • 1% other

  • 15% did not provide the information


  • 56% white (46% British, 3% Irish and 7% other)

  • < 3% mixed race

  • 16% Asian (4% Indian, 8% Pakistani, 3% Bangladeshi, 1% other )

  • 9% Black (3% black Caribbean,6%, other, <.5% African)

  • 1% Chinese

  • <.5% Other

  • 13% did not provide the information

ii 2009 Adult Cipha Plus Survey


  • 44% were male

  • 38% were female

  • 18% did not provide the information


  • 17% were aged 16-24

  • 14% were aged 25-34

  • 24% were aged 35-54

  • 7% were aged 55-64

  • 11% were aged 65 and over

  • 27% did not provide the information

Range of economic activity

  • 31% were in full time or part time employment

  • 4% were self employed

  • 11% were in full time education

  • 11% were unemployed

  • 2% were permanently sick or disabled

  • 14% were retired

  • 4% were looking after home/family

  • 1% were on a government supported training programme

  • 22% did not provide the information


  • 13% white (4% British, 1% Irish, 5% white & black African, 3% other white background

  • 22% Asian (8% Indian, 7% Pakistani, 4% Bangladeshi, 2% other Asian background)

  • 6% Black (4% black African, 1% black Caribbean 1% other black)

  • 1% Arab

  • 1% Other ethnic groups

  • 56% did not provide the information or preferred not to say


  • 42% were Christian

  • 14% Muslim

  • 3% Hindu

  • Sikh 1%

  • 1% Other

  • 16% had no religion

  • 23% did not provide this information or preferred not to say


  • 68% were Heterosexual

  • 1% Gay/lesbian

  • 1% Bisexual

  • 1% Other

  • 29% did not provide this information or preferred not to say

iii The next Children’s Cipfa Plus survey is due to take place in October

2010, but results for 2007 are shown below

  • 52% were girls

  • 48% were boys

  • 22% were aged 0-4

  • 30% were aged 5-9

  • 43% were aged 10-14

  • 5% were aged 15

  • 33% were Asian

  • 11% of mixed race

  • 17% were black

  • 38% were white
How they visit the library

  • 75% with someone from my family

  • 15% with friends

  • 15 with school/nursery/playgroup

  • 13% visited on their own

  • 1% other

Appendix C – Bibliography

    1. Empower, Inform, Enrich – The Modernisation Review of Public Libraries: A consultation document. DCMS November 2009.

    1. The Modernisation Review Of Public Libraries: A policy statement. DCMS. March 2010.

    1. A Local Enquiry into the Public Library Service provided by Wirral MBC. DCMS. September 2009.

    1. What Makes A Good Library Service? Guidelines on public library provision in England for portfolio holders in local councils. CILIP. October 2009.

    1. Luton Borough Council Corporate Plan 2009/10, 2011/12.

    1. Luton Local Area Agreement - 2008/11.

    1. Luton’s Children & Young People Plan 2010/11.

    1. Luton’s Partnership Strategy to reduce Health Inequalities 2010/2026 Luton Forum.

    1. Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2008 - Luton Borough Council & Luton NHS.

    1. Our Vision for Luton in 2026 - Luton’s Sustainable Community Strategy.

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