Libraries Inspire – the way ahead for libraries in Wales

Alyson Tyler, Libraries Development Adviser for CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, and a member of the Board of Directors of the LIS Research Coalition, has contributed a guest blog post on the Welsh Government’s Libraries Inspire strategy and the part that research played in its development. Alyson writes:

Libraries Inspire coverIn November 2011, Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage launched the Welsh Government’s Libraries Inspire: the strategic development framework for Welsh libraries 2012–16. This strategy has been developed through working closely with the various library sectors in Wales, and its successful delivery depends on close partnership working between CyMAL, the library sectors and other partners to improve services and make a difference to people’s lives.

Research played an important part in drawing up the new strategy. Surveys with library staff, users and non-users, and focus groups were held as part of the evaluation of Libraries for Life – the previous library strategy in Wales – and the wider findings from the evaluation have also informed this new strategy.

Consultation with the library sectors in Wales also led to the inclusion of a vision statement, and a ‘core offer’ list of what libraries will do. These qualities apply to all types of libraries and reflect their spheres of influence.

The priority areas of activity outlined in Libraries Inspire build on the success of earlier work and include new initiatives. The seven work strands are listed below including some of the key actions:

  • Sustainable models of service delivery e.g. library management system for Wales
  • Resources for all e.g. roll-out a new free e-books service across Wales
  • Space for all e.g. continue the library building modernisation programme
  • Skills for life e.g. embed the Wales Information Literacy Framework
  • Investing in people e.g. regional staff development
  • Attracting the audience e.g. utilising the opportunities presented by social media
  • Delivering a quality service e.g. implement the fourth framework of the Welsh Public Library Standards.

The Libraries Inspire publication provides more detail on all these strands, and the activities to be undertaken each year will be detailed in annual published delivery plans. The delivery plan for 2012-13 is available on the CyMAL web site. Libraries Inspire will also deliver on priorities outlined in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, especially greater collaboration between services which was also highlighted in the Simpson Report – Local, regional national: what services are best delivered where?

For further information, please contact Alyson by e-mail at; telephone on 0300 062 2112. You can also follow Alyson on Twitter at @libalyson, and read her blog at