Comprehensive and efficient checklist

Under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, councils have a duty to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ public library service.  There is no definition of ‘comprehensive and efficient’ in the act, but below is a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ checklist that the MLA recommend councils conduct before they look at closing libraries or giving them over to communities.  Thanks to Save Doncaster Libraries for obtaining and sharing this information.

The statutory requirement of the Public Libraries Act to deliver a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service. This requires understanding of:

  • The council’s local priorities and financial constraints
  • The profile and needs of different local communities
  • Delivery models and best practice from elsewhere
  • Comparative impact of alternative approaches to delivering the service

What resources are available and how does this match the needs?

  • Have you analysed and considered need and demand?
    specific needs of adults and young people?; all ages? (and what contribution are communities able and willing to make?)
  • What are the needs of those living and working and studying in the area?
  • How accessible will the service be- transport / physical access?
  • Have the communities been consulted? How?
  • What are the views of users / what do we know re views of non users?
  • Have you done an Equality Impact Assessment?
  • What implications are there for other strategies – info from other partners?
  • Are there other partnerships that can be tapped into?
  • Will the service be adequate – how can it be better used?

How efficient is the current service?

  • Are the buildings fit for purpose in terms of access, condition etc?
  • Can the facilities be used more flexibly?
  • What other delivery partnerships could be formed inside and outside Doncaster? (Y&H/other similar authorities)
  • Who else is serving the needs of the target communities?
  • Is the current mode of delivery both meeting the demand and cost efficient?
  • Is a physical presence needed?
  • What is being done to encourage use (and maximise income?)
  • What scope is there for combining services?

One thought on “Comprehensive and efficient checklist

  1. B W

    West Berkshire Unitary Authority Council are planning to close all libraries except one and curtail the mobile library service. This includes libraries that are a part of schools thus limiting the study opportunities of pupils. Being a rural area the libraries (especially mobile libraries) are essential to the residents who have mobility problems and would not be able to take the average one hour each way bus journey to access the one remaining library located in Newbury.


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