Vision and ambition of Gloucestershire Libraries outlined in new strategy

It is being proposed to hold a 12-week public consultation period on the new draft strategy, starting next month, so people in Gloucestershire can have their say.

The draft strategy, which will replace the last one produced in 2012, says that Gloucestershire libraries are welcoming, safe places at the heart of our diverse communities, offering a high quality and constantly evolving service.

The role of the library has developed significantly since 2012 and the strategy aims to address both basic needs as well as the ambition to providing a forward-thinking service to residents of Gloucestershire.

Their core purpose is still to provide free access to a wide range of books and information, but this been extended to include e-books and e-magazines that can be accessed from your own home.

Innovation labs are being introduced within each of the county’s six districts, for people to access creative technology and boost digital skills.

Gloucestershire Libraries will also be launching a flagship digital storytelling centre in April 2023 in Cheltenham, which will guide and shape the future direction of providing digital services and content.

The building in Oakley will offer the latest digital technology for all ages, with free facilities, training and support to help with literacy and learning skills, and is being funded with £250,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports through its Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF), delivered by Arts Council England.

The draft strategy sets out how services will continue to develop to meet changing demands and includes five key themes, which include creativity, climate and the community.

One of the key aspects is the response to the climate emergency. To help tackle climate change, libraries will work with partners to encourage wildlife and tree planting in library gardens, install electric vehicle charge points in library car parks, promote recycling opportunities and raise awareness of initiatives to help the environment.

Public consultation on the draft strategy aims to ensure people can have their say on the future direction of library services in Gloucestershire, so the needs of all library users and communities are met.

Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet is being asked to approve public consultation taking place from July to September, at a meeting on 22 June.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for libraries, said: “Our library service has evolved significantly in recent years with many different services now available, including innovation labs and e-books, as well as the vast range of physical books people can borrow.

“Libraries remain at the heart of our communities and this new strategy sets out the ambitions of the service over the next five years. Your views are really important so please make sure you give your feedback when the consultation is launched into the strategy.”

You can read the full cabinet report here.

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