New Library Strategy commits to enhancing key service
Friday 26 May 2023: Last night, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet agreed the borough's new five-year Library Strategy.
The strategy focuses on five ambitions that retain and enhance initiatives around: reading, literacy and culture; health and wellbeing; digital services and inclusion; information and learning; and sustainable service delivery.
Traditional library offerings, books, computers and information will continue to be provided, as well as the much-loved Home Library Service, mobile library, and a wide programme of free or low-cost events and activities, including early years sessions, dementia support, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related initiatives and work experience placements that help young people with their employment skills.
Additionally, the council wants to be more ambitious by looking for new ways to promote the service and attract new visitors. This will include developing initiatives to respond to residents' needs and investing in buildings and facilities (including digital systems) to improve customer experience and provide more opportunities for residents to engage with arts, culture, learning and wellbeing in a flexible community space.
To help deliver the service in a more efficient and sustainable way, the council's Cabinet also agreed to the introduction of tiered opening hours. These reflect the location of a library, available transport and its busyness. The changes increase access at the most popular borough branches with longer opening hours after 5pm, and all libraries will be open a minimum of five days per week.
The borough continues to offer more branches and longer opening hours than neighbouring London boroughs, and the second highest number of branches in London. The council will keep a rolling review on the usage and transport options for each library, so that if indications are that opening hours should change this can be investigated.
The council carried out a public consultation on the strategy and the proposed opening hours between 1 March and 16 April which received 873 responses. The five ambitions of the strategy were received positively by respondents, with each being judged by a large majority as important or very important.
Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Residents' Services, said: "Our continued commitment to putting residents first and sound financial management is at the heart of this new Library Strategy.
"Our libraries are a key service that serve the community by fostering safe and strong communities, creating thriving healthy households and providing opportunities to learn, work and live independently.
"This strategy shows our resolve to delivering more than a core offer by maintaining and investing in a large number of branches and enhancing our library service to provide all who live, work or study in the borough with access to a variety of cultural activities, opportunities for independent lifelong learning, and support to live enriched, empowered and healthier lives."
To view the strategy, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/library-strategy.
Page last updated: 27 Jul 2023