Somerset Libraries welcome exciting changes to its services

Somerset County Council, are introducing some exciting changes to its library services this month that will benefit customers and improve access for all.

The changes result from the expansion of the LibrariesWest consortium and the  introduction of a new, shared management computer system which supports the running of the library service by managing loans and stock, and providing the online catalogue. Working together within a shared computer system also provides value for money for all the libraries involved.

On Tuesday 7 June, the existing LibrariesWest consortium of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire public library services will be considerably enlarged when Dorset County and the Borough of Poole library services join as members. Customers will then be able to access libraries, ‘coast to coast’ from the Bristol Channel right down to the South Coast.

Customers will benefit from the changes by being able to:

  • Use over 150 libraries across LibrariesWest
  • Keep and use their current library card at any LibrariesWest library
  • Borrow, renew, return and reserve items at any LibrariesWest library, regardless of where they were originally borrowed from.
  • Access a wider range of stock through the shared catalogue, offering around 2.5 million items.
  • Use the LibrariesWest website (www.librarieswest.org.uk) and mobile App to search the catalogue, reserve and renew items 24/7.

Cllr David Hall, Cabinet Member with a responsibility for libraries, said; “I really welcome these positive benefits for our county-wide library services and I’m sure they will make a difference to people who have more specific needs or who simply use our libraries regularly for pleasure. Please bear with your local library over the next few weeks as there may be some disruption to services in the short term while we implement the changes.”

Period of Disruption

31 May – 6 June: no access to the library catalogue and the customer database for staff and customers. During this period, libraries can issue and return items and customers can use the public computers and Wi-Fi.

However there is:

  • No access to the Libraries West website or app.
  • No access to customer accounts
  • No request service

14 June: no public computers or Wi-Fi in any Somerset library.

17 – 26 June: no request service available while the consortium catalogues are amalgamated.

During June there will also be a delay in the delivery of new titles whilst suppliers transfer systems. New titles will continue to be ordered and will start to arrive in libraries from July.

More information can be found at www.somerset.gov.uk/librarychanges  or ask your local library staff for the leaflet ‘Changes to your Library Service: Information for Customers.’