Local authorities across England will be able to compare their library services.

We have commissioned a comprehensive set of benchmarking reports, which are 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.

Calling the reports “detailed and illuminating”, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said, “good practice or opportunities for development 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
  • 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.

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