Help us shape your Library Service

Free Internet usage for library users, extending the current outreach service, phasing out CD loans and changing the mobile library service are some of the proposals the people of Somerset are asked to comment on from today.

Somerset County Council has proposed a number of changes to the Library Service that residents can now share their views on. None of the proposals will see any library buildings closing, but would save the authority nearly £500,000, helping the Council to continue to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

Information sessions will be held across the county giving people the opportunity to learn more about the proposed changes and what they will mean for their local Library.

Proposals include seeing wi-fi installed in all libraries across the county, outreach services expanded for those who cannot visit a library, phasing out the lending of CDs, making changes to how the Performing Arts Library Service is delivered and introducing criteria for mobile library visits. A number of internal changes to the management of the library service will also contribute to the savings.

Cllr David Hall, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said, ‘I encourage everyone in Somerset to complete the questionnaire that will be available online or from your local library from 3 November to make sure your voice is heard about the proposed changes to library services.

“These proposals would enable us to continue to provide a high quality library service, whilst potentially saving the Council nearly £500,000. Library buildings will remain open for all to enjoy, but as can be seen, there are still tough decisions to make. We are keen to hear your views which will help shape our final way forward’’.

The feedback from the consultation, open until 11 January 2015, will be used to create a final set of proposals to take to Somerset County Council’s Cabinet meeting in February 2015 where a final decision on the way forward is expected to be made.

To take part, the proposals and questionnaire can be accessed:
• Online at http://www.somerset.gov.uk/libraryconsultation
• At libraries or mobile libraries
• By emailing libraryservicereview@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to editors

The proposals
The proposals reflect changing patterns of use and customer expectations and changes in Somerset’s demography. If implemented they would deliver £472k in savings for 2015/16.

The proposals being consulted on are:
• Enable and inspire all to take advantage of the digital age
• Develop and expand our outreach services for those that cannot visit a library
• Implement criteria for mobile library stops and introduce alternatives to the mobile library service
• Phase out the lending of CDs
• Deliver the Performing Arts Library service in a different way
• Seek alternative suggestions for changes so that library services represent excellent value for money and meet need and demand

The majority of the savings would be made from internal, non-customer facing changes which would be decided without public consultation. These would include making efficiency savings through operations and the management structure of the Library Service.

Returning questionnaires
Questionnaires can be returned:
• By completing it electronically online
• By dropping it off at any Somerset library or mobile library
• By posting it to any Somerset Library

More information
The consultation closes on Sunday 11th January 2015 at midnight. If you have any questions or want to understand more about the proposals either:
• Email libraryservicesreview@somerset.gov.uk
• Speak to a member of staff in the library
• Phone 0845 345 9177
• Come along to one of the drop-in information sessions detailed below:

The dates, times and venues for the district drop-in sessions have been confirmed and are as follows:
• 24 November, 3.00pm – 7.00pm at Yeovil Library
• 27 November, 10.30am – 1.30pm at Street Library
• 28 November, 10.30am – 1.30pm at Williton Library
• 01 December, 3.00pm – 7.00pm at Taunton Library
• 04 December, 3.00pm – 7.00pm at Bridgwater Library

Performing Arts Library specific events (proposal 5)
• 25 November, Yeovil Library, 10.30am – 12.30pm
• 02 December, Yeovil Library, 6.00pm – 8.00pm