Community hubs, co-location and integration

Whether we call it partnership working, collaboration, co-location, resource sharing; libraries can’t any longer (if they ever could) 'go it alone'. For some time now we have seen libraries sharing premises with community centres, sports and leisure facilities, clinics and GPs’ surgeries, registrars, adult learning centres, council one stop shops, schools and more.

We believe there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether such arrangements are beneficial to the service and its users – it all depends on how strategically it is implemented. Where co-location arrangements work best they are usually about much more than just saving costs through sharing a building. And proper joint-working across staff teams is essential to provide a holistic approach to the needs of service users.

Get in touch for a chat about the specific needs of your service and the communities you serve.

Sarah is our lead for the library and cultural sectors and has led our projects with a large and diverse range of clients including many local authorities, the British Library, Arts Council England and the Society of Chief Librarians. Sarah has a particular interest in community involvement in service design and delivery, and is passionate about the wider role that libraries and cultural services can play in supporting communities and individuals.

Plymouth wanted to protect and enhance its library service, with the libraries playing a key part in giving residents face to face access to the council. We helped them develop a strategy to achieve these ambitions while also ensuring that the service is efficient and meets very diverse needs.

The staff in Slough with whom we worked decided to develop a new 'triage' role to be shared across all teams in the building, taking shared responsibility for providing a meet and greet contact-point which asks not 'who do you want to see?' or 'where do you want to go?', but rather 'how can we help you today?'

Claire Skeates, Slough:

'We used the knowledge we gained from the RedQuadrant’s review in development activity with our staff. This ensured that everyone shared the same vision about improving the customer journey and was a crucial step forward, as it enabled different services in the building to work together, looking at common standards and goals.'