Press release

Library profile reports published

Library authorities across England will be able to compare the services they offer with similar councils.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Library authorities across England will be able to compare the services they offer with similar councils, by using a comprehensive set of benchmarking reports commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and published today. 

The reports, produced by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) will help library authorities ensure they are delivering a good level of service and review any areas for improvement.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“These detailed and illuminating reports will be a great help to the people running our libraries.  If there are areas of good practice or opportunities for development they will be highlighted, quite possibly for the first time.  This will help local authorities make informed decisions about any improvements they can make to ensure they are providing a comprehensive library service for all users.”

The comparative profile reports compare each authority to 15 similar authorities across a wide range of indicators, including:  library usage; financial information; levels of staffing; the number of volunteers; loans figures; stock levels; and book acquisitions. 

The data is taken from CIPFA’s annual libraries survey for 2011-12 and will allow authorities - and anyone else with an interest in libraries - to compare their services with those of similar councils, known as their “nearest neighbours”.  This allows authorities to compare ‘like with like’ when considering the delivery of their library services.

Ian Watson, Chair of the CIPFA Public Library Statistics Working Party, said:

“It is pleasing that DCMS have seen fit to commission these profiles for all English library authorities, enabling local authorities and the public access to these reports. This will aid everyone interested in public library services to ask informed questions and come up with informed proposals for how the services should be delivered in the future.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has commissioned and funded the 2011-12 comparative profile reports for all library authorities in England.

Of the 151 library authorities in England, 147 completed the CIPFA 2011-12 libraries survey, and this data has been used to produce the profiles. The reports can be viewed here.

Notes to Editors

  1. 145 of the 147 responding authorities’ profile reports are published today and CIPFA are in discussions with the remaining six authorities with the hope of being able to publish their reports in the new year.

  2. CIPFA’s comparative profile reports compare each authority to their family group as defined by the CIPFA Nearest Neighbour Model, which adopts a scientific approach to measuring the similarity between authorities. Further details can be found here.

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Published 18 December 2012