PL28a Additional Information provided by WLGA

Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee
Inquiry into Public Libraries in Wales

Statistics on the use of digital library services and a breakdown of the age of users;


E-magazine users – currently unfortunately the statistics are just a monthly total and a title by title breakdown of downloads. They are not provided by authority but pan-Wales, so we do not know if some authorities have more users using the system etc, we don’t know the age of the users, and we don’t know if these are ‘new’ library members, or people who were already using the library service. However, I am attending a meeting tomorrow where the UK library supplier rep who works with Zinio will be there so I will discuss with them and Wayne John at NPT about what is possible.

Monthly downloads of titles:

Nov 5,033 (Went live on 1 Nov, but no promotion until launch on 27th Nov with Minister, so this is not counted as the ‘first’ month)

Dec 11,744
Jan 15,835
Total borrowers: 3,994 so far

E-books – these statistics are broken down by authority, but I’m not sure if they go further than that (eg age).

Last 3 months of statistics (downloads)
Nov 7,109      
Dec 7,274
Jan 8,914

Total borrowers using service in 2013-14 year to date: 7,888

Population, use, non-use, marketing

·         Who’s using the library service? Active Borrowers are currently 23% of the population. CIPFA defines someone as an active borrower if they have borrowed an item in the last 12 months. Therefore, the numbers & % of people using the libraries is likely to be higher as a small proportion of people may come to the library weekly, monthly etc and read the papers, and do other activities that don’t trigger a record on their membership. If they even have membership card as anyone can walk in to the library and read the papers and walk out again without ever needing to have a library card.

·         Who are these members? That can only be answered by individual authorities who can take the information from their LMS by age, sex, address etc.

·         What are libraries doing to attract new users, is there a strategy “The Library Strategy Libraries Inspire 2012-16”  is an agreed strategy with CYMAL and all Library services in Wales. The Strategy is underpinned with an annual Delivery plan which is monitored by the LibrariesAdvisory board Quarterely.

·         The Marketing strand (attracting the audience) holds an annual festival, often targeting a particular group of people eg men & boys in 2013, or families etc. Other marketing campaigns include the membership drives with offers of free wins (eg VIP sport tickets, Eisteddfod tickets). The Ryder cup one saw over 9000 registering as new members to take part in that [whether they’re still members is another issue! Wrexham are going to work with some authorities to track some new users in the next membership drive.] The marketing strand also targets students in the college and university sectors with tailored marketing for them. Plus social media usage is targeting a different range of people on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.

·         The pilot primary-school automatic sign up pilots in six authorities will be targeting families who do not use the library and have no tradition of using it.

·         Are there strategies for the illiterate, ethnic non-English speakers, the visually impaired etc? The marketing strategy naturally seeks to attract everyone to the library service. Cardiff probably lead in Wales in terms of non-English speakers ethnic populations, but RCT also had BAWB and North Wales has iBawb which has information about the library in 12 different  languages


·         Visually impaired – no specific marketing has been targeted at them at a Wales-wide level, but local authorities may well be working with local RNIB groups etc to promote the e-books and e-mags services.

·         For the illiterate, many libraries have basic skills courses. Again, no specific Wales-level strategy, but at local authority level, yes. Plus, all the reading and children schemes will be contributing towards improving children’s literacy.


·         Walk in Access, you mentioned this Mandy, with universities. It’s for on-site access to research journals. People have to go to the university to use it.

·         However, in the UK a new scheme was launched last week whereby people can go to the public libraries (on site) to access research journals. Initial indications are that SCL Wales has signed up to this but currently no Welsh authorities have set it up yet. BBC News and actual website

Information on the Libraries Inspire programme, in relation to the use of University Libraries and how access to reference material could be widened

Libraries Inspire - Delivery Plan for 2013-14 has reference to the Walk in Access scheme.

Walk in Access. This is for on-site access to research journals. A member of the public can walk into the participating university and use their dedicated computers to access the research journals. Currently 4 universities offer this, although more will be rolling this out in the coming year. Cardiff Metropolitan

Cardiff University
University of Wales Trinity St Davids (Carmarthen campus)
Aberystwyth University

However, in the UK a new scheme was launched a fortnight ago – Access to Research - whereby people can go to the public libraries to access research journals onsite. Initial indications are that SCL Wales has signed up to this but currently no Welsh authorities have set it up yet. See and BBC article

 Many university (and college) libraries are also part of regional inter-lending or access schemes. In North Wales both Bangor and Glyndwr University are part of the LINC y Gogledd scheme. This enables a member of the public to request an item which is in the university and it will be delivered to their local public library for use within a specified time period. College libraries also participate in LINC y Gogledd.

In South East Wales the University of South Wales and two FE colleges are partners in Books4U, a regional inter-lending scheme covering 12 local authorities.

In the South West and Mid Wales library partnership region the ‘passport’ scheme is used by all college and universities to allow physical access and some borrowing rights to members of the public library network.