Toggle mobile menu visibility

Swansea Libraries service plan

The service plan for Swansea Libraries: 2023/24 - 2026/27.

  1. Vision
  2. Library mission
  3. Library service priorities
  4. Background
  5. Looking back 2022-23
  6. Action plan



Provision of an agile, inclusive and sustainable library service that enables citizens and communities to engage meaningfully with culture, reading, technology and learning within their local community.

Corporate priorities:

  1. Safeguarding people from harm
  2. Improving education and skills
  3. Transforming our economy and infrastructure
  4. Tackling poverty
  5. Maintaining and enhancing Swansea's natural resources and biodiversity
  6. Transformation and future council development


Library mission

To deliver a free and equitable service that is relevant to the needs of the communities it serves from spaces that are accessible, safe and welcoming. Providing resources that are stimulating, engaging, educational and reflect the culture and heritage of Swansea. Delivered by a team that is customer focused and highly skilled in supporting a diverse range of needs.


Library service priorities

  • To blend traditional and digital services by developing a digital strategy for libraries
  • To support reading and literacy for all, leading to improved life outcomes and wellbeing
  • Support the council's plans to investigate community hubs and a new location for Central Library
  • Supporting health and wellbeing agendas through library activities
  • Provide opportunities for agencies and partners to work to address poverty and employability initiatives
  • Reflect all communities in the promotion of and engagement with our culture, heritage and local history collections.



Local Authorities have a statutory duty to ensure the provision of a 'comprehensive and efficient library service' that encourages both adults and children to make full use of the library services is a statutory requirement under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

The Welsh Public Library Frameworksets out a set of core entitlements and quality indicators for Welsh citizens which are reported by local authorities to the Welsh Government annually and enable them to uphold their duty in assessing the efficiency and comprehensiveness of delivery of library services in Wales.

The service achieves this through a network of 17 libraries across the county area of Swansea. It has a small central management team who provide specialist support to the community libraries in the form of reference and local history services, child services, book acquisition and processing, IT, audience development and promotional activities. The service also runs a community housebound service to provide library services to those with barriers to accessing physical sites. Swansea Libraries also operates a prison library at Swansea Prison under an annually-renewable Service Level Agreement.

In addition to library venues, the service provides a range of digital resources to support access to: reading; information; learning platforms accessible to all regardless of physical location; and it has large local history collections dating back to before the opening of the first central library in Swansea in 1887.

The library service is supported by the Welsh Government, who provide a number of digital services to all libraries across Wales such as ebooks. Further details can be found by visiting

Performance statistics
Total visitors64,063406,935574,678
Total Issues / books126,722 (excl of renewals)1,128,836688,981
Total Issues AV188,191177,27816,428
Total active users3239441,22339,781
Total electronic downloadsn/an/a269,153
Net expenditure£2,603,521£2,871,946£2,796,145


Looking back 2022-23

Last years' Summer Reading Challenge was successful and showed good performance with 2,246 young people joining the challenge and 1,057 completing the 'read 6 books challenge'. This is an annual national literature campaign to keep children reading through the summer holidays. The theme was 'Gadgeteers' and ran alongside the Swansea council and Welsh Government Summer of Fun Programme. The Gadgeteers programme ended with a great event celebrating the best readers across all libraries at the National Waterfront Museum hosted by The Lord Mayor of the City and County of Swansea Councillor Mike Day for the municipal year 2022/23.

Other achievements this year include working in partnership with the Dylan Thomas Centre to host creative writing workshops for young people at a variety of libraries, supporting World Book Day, looking at and celebrating the diversity in our book collections and promoting a new collection of Reading Well for mental health teenage books on prescription. In addition Children's Laureate Wales Connor Allen delivered two poetry workshops at Central Library for teenagers exploring identity and place. Funded by SCL Cymru.

Across all libraries and throughout the year there were 55,214 attendances at Swansea library organised events. The Summer of Fun Programme 2022 supported a range of local and national Summer of Fun activity. All 22 library authorities across Wales took part in the Summer of Fun and Summer Reading Challenge. In total, libraries offered 2,161 activities and events for children and families, reaching 43,711 people, including 29,142 children and young people and 14,569 parents, carers and other family members. 

Families took part in activities and workshops hosted by public libraries that used reading as a platform through which to spark new conversations, create meaningful connections, and support with children, young people and family's confidence and wellbeing. Community craft making sessions with Sewn Up Wales were held across libraries also supporting the Fusion programme. Fusion aims to get more people engaged in culture in Swansea. Other events also included painting sessions and digital drop in sessions, author talks, pottery sessions and making resusable period products. Libraries supported the World Re-imagined Project by encouraging children to create small world globes in libraries and decorate them reflecting how they see the world and all its diversity.

Digitally the service introduced bring your own device (BYOD) printing solutions at 6 libraries which is currently being rolled out to all libraries - this allows residents to print from mobile devices and personal devices at libraries. A much requested service. The service was fortunate to host the Stories Futures project and August saw a host of events delivered around the Central Library using augmented reality, VR headsets, walking trails and exploring the less well known stories of Swansea. Some of the equipment was gifted to us to continue to use for activities and events in libraries and explore these new and emerging technologies. 

Online new resources were acquired including free online language learning resources and we look to continue working to upgrade wifi and broadband networks across all libraries with work starting in 22-23 and continuing into the current year. We are working with the Good Things Foundation data bank programme and giving out free data to those in need.

Swansea Libraries have a number of large historic book collections and this year the teams have been working to raise awareness of some of the gems we have. Some digital blogs were used to highlight some items in the collection along with a "Tales from the Vaults" event. Maps, rare books and interesting finds were all displayed for visitors to pick up and handle. Items included books by local writers such as 19th century novelist Ann of Swansea and novelist and businesswoman Amy Dillwyn.


Action plan

Library service action plan 2023-24
ObjectiveActions (priority)TimescaleOutcome
Review every day routine working practices and seek digital solutionsAutomate more processes -  review following processes and further automate where possible. AL admin, rota management, absence, purchasing. Report back outcomesMar-24Report due on changes implemented and reasons for not making changes - due Feb 24
Streamline essential data gatheringInvestigate Sharepoint and Teams tools furtherNov-23Report back on improvements, changes
Continue with non plastic / plastic reduction procurement measuresUnderstand impact from pilot and implement useful findings to reduce use of plasticNov-23Final report due with recommendations
Investigate hub working model in library setting Investigate city centre hub model and any lessons for wider serviceMar-24Summary of findings available and understanding of next steps shared
Establish code of conduct / citizens charterReview current and develop and publish newOct-23New charter written, approved, translated, published
Investigate ways to address inappropriate behaviour towards staffInvestigate and implement training and other measuresMar-24New training received by staff
Build on improving digital skills of workforceOnline centres, digital champions and Digital Communities WalesMar-24Summary of new skills shared with senior team and list
Establish opportunities for library qualifications  trainingInvestigate benefits for staff and interest amongst current workforceMar-24A way forward for library accredited training identified
Improve use of Welsh language and phrases in the workplaceRoll out further ideas and reinforce current good practiceOngoingMore basic Welsh phrases used by all staff every day
Investigate new ways of structuring workforce to fit with budget landscapeUnderstand what possibilities are available to strengthen workforce and maintain serviceMar-24Alternative ways of service delivery identified and implemented
Ensure diversity and equality issues are in bedded in staff training and working practicesInvestigate how we can build on existing work and implement new ideas eg CILIP, All Wales LMSMar-24Evidence of training undertaken and system changes implemented
Continue to work towards removing library finesLobby for support and remove income targetOngoingOverdue book fines removed
Establish new ideas to address service income targetsBrain storm ideas, working group created, build on recent trainingMar-24New income streams identified
Work towards creating a digital plan for serviceRe-procurement of Wales LMS, plan and implement replacement of public PC hardware, upgrade wifi, roll out chip and pin, tablets, digital support plan.Mar-24A plan written and activity evidenced
Close Choose Language