Projects

Barnet Libraries Review Focus Groups

Background

As part of an evidence-led review of its library service, Barnet Council commissioned OPM to run a series of focus groups to hear the views of a wide range of residents. The discussions focused on the current library service and what residents expect from library services in the future.

What we did

OPM ran nine focus groups during August 2014. We designed, facilitated and reported on the discussions. We captured the views of the general public as well as those from a range of protected groups, such as unemployed people and people with disabilities. Participants included both users and non-users of library services.

Participants discussed why people do or do not use libraries, what libraries mean to individuals and communities, their awareness and usage of library services and their thoughts on what works well and what doesn’t work well about the current service.

Participants also explored the future of library services, including their appetite for increased use of self-service/ technology in libraries and the need for support with this, the balance of service quality and local access and their appetite for getting more involved with the service as volunteers.

We reported on the views of different groups under each theme, as well as specific needs coming out of the discussions of the focus groups with older people, young people, people with mental health issues, people with learning disabilities, unemployed people, people on low income/living in areas of deprivation, and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) residents.

Impact

The findings were used by the council to help develop future options for delivering library services in Barnet.