Library Services cuts proposed: reduced hours, cessation of mobile service
In order to meet the reduced Council Budget proposed for 2014/15, significant savings are planned in the provision of library services. The issue was discussed at the Partnerships Portfolio Advisory Committee meeting of 7 January and the recommendations were:
1) A reduction of opening hours across the majority of Library/One Stop Shop sites.
2) Continue to work with Property Services to progress the amalgamation of remaining ‘stand alone’ One Stop Shops & Libraries.
3) Cease all mobile library/one stop shop services from a date to be agreed and use 50% of the existing mobile budget to fund targeted offering to communities/individuals impacted.
With regard to the mobile services, the report confirms the officers' view that delivering a 50% reduced mobile service would provide a very unsatisfactory service with ultimately 2 vehicles covering the County, spending more time travelling than stopping and visiting the majority of stops on a monthly basis. Recognising that this will impact on existing mobile users, as an alternative, the recommendation is to replace all mobile services by using half of the budget (circa £150k) on targeted community based library initiatives of which we already have successful examples across the County e.g. the home delivery service, "pub is the hub", community libraries in Roche, St Dennis and Stithians.
Before the final decisions are made on these proposals:
1) Revised Library Opening Hours: There will be 30 days’ consultation on the proposals with Local Members whose divisions are impacted by the proposals. After that time, the Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Adam Paynter, will determine the revised hours after considering the results of the consultation.
2) Mobile Library Services: There is a proposal to cease all mobile library services and for 50% of the budget to be targeted at communities and individuals affected by that proposal. There will be a minimum of 12 weeks’ consultation on that proposal with the results taken back to the Partnerships PAC for further consideration, probably in June with the decision then going to the Cabinet in July.
30 JANUARY 2014: UPDATE – FORMAL CONSULTATION PROCESS STARTS
The formal consultation is now open and all users of the service are encouraged to give their views on what is proposed. Although the Council has severe budget constraints, it would be helpful if users of the service gave their views on the service so that we can see if there any alternatives that could be put in place to mitigate the effects of service changes.
There is an online survey form on the Council website at Library Consultation and hard copies of the consultation questionnaire will be available from the mobile libraries themselves over the next few weeks. Alternatively, you can download a copy of the consultation questionnaire from Mobile Libraries consultation questionnaire