Local authorities would have more money and resources to reinvest in refreshed book stocks, improved information and communications technology, longer opening hours and more staff helping customers get the best out of their local library.
Local libraries will remain responsible for ensuring their customers get the best books and services, but significant improvements will be achieved by all libraries adopting the best practices currently adopted by some services, as well as new innovations including:
- working together to reduce duplication of book ordering, invoicing and other back room functions;
- simplifying and standardising library book processing requirements;
- greater use of e-commerce and automation to increase efficiency; and
- encouraging a more competitive market for library book supply.
Culture Minister David Lammy said: “The opportunity offered by this report is a significant one. MLA and the DCMS are giving libraries the tools to work together to save money when they buy books, money that can be reinvested, in longer opening hours, in better computer and internet access, and of course in more books. All our work to improve public libraries aims to help them understand their communities better, including the needs of those who do not currently use them. I hope that this report offers the chance for more of this important work to be done.”
John Dolan, Head of Library Policy at the MLA said: “Public library improvement is based on libraries getting closer to the people who use them, as well as understanding the needs of the whole community. Improving stock purchasing creates opportunities for libraries to buy more books for their money as well as reform how libraries work. The report shows how libraries should work collaboratively to reduce costs – a 40% overhead in buying stock is unacceptable by any measure of efficiency – and help us achieve our ambitions for a better library service.”
Click on the Executive Summary and Fact Sheet for more information.