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Libraries for Derbyshire consultation launched - have your say

Published: 9 May 2018

Residents are being encouraged to have their say and help to shape the future of the library service as we launch a consultation.

The 12-week consultation is now up and running and people can give their views via the online questionnaire.

We unveiled our proposed Derbyshire Public Library Service Strategy ‘Libraries for Derbyshire’ last month, setting out our commitment to the library service and outlining proposals to secure its future.

During the consultation, which runs until Monday 30 July 2018, residents will also get the chance to attend drop in sessions being held at all county libraries and sign up to take part in focus groups for more in-depth discussions about community-managed libraries.

You can find details of drop in sessions and how to register for a focus group, along with more detailed information about the proposals being put forward.

Derbyshire County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism Councillor Barry Lewis said:

“Our priority is to keep libraries open and to achieve this it’s essential that communities and interested groups work with us and everyone has their say.

“We acknowledge the importance and value of our library service but we have to consider making changes as it isn’t sustainable to continue running and funding the service the way we do at the moment. Doing nothing is not feasible.

“We are confident that the proposals we’re putting forward will secure the future of all 45 county libraries and our mobile library service and we want as many people to have their say as possible during the consultation. We’re also open to alternative suggestions on how to run the service but make the necessary savings, or any other ideas about the service people may want to share with us.”

Councillor Lewis added:

“This is not just about savings. The way people use libraries is changing and the service needs to reflect this. In Derbyshire between 2012/13 and 2016/17 book issues in the county saw a reduction of 33% in line with the national trend, and there was a 21% decline in physical visits.

“More people are using technology and access books and information in different ways. Our library service must ensure it is modern and fit for the future to continue to match people’s expectations, how they want to use the service, what for and when.”

During the consultation, people are being asked to comment on our preferred option which would see 25 libraries remaining under our control and 20 libraries being taken over and managed by local community groups, interested parties or agencies.

The library service is proposing using a tiered approach to providing its services and allocating resources in the future.

As part of the tiering system, all 45 libraries have been ranked in terms of their performance, for example, number of books issued, visits, use of computers as well as considering evidence of need in the local area.

Four tiers have been created, and it is proposed subject to the consultation that in future, resources and services will be allocated to individual libraries, according to which tier they are in. It is proposed that libraries falling into tier four would be transferred to community management.

Community-managed libraries would receive grant funding from us for up to 4 years and people running them would receive full training and on-going professional support.

As well as setting out the preferred option for libraries, the library service strategy report states that further changes would still be needed to achieve an identified total of £1.6m savings by 2021.

Proposed changes would include reducing opening hours at council-run libraries at quieter times and changing the way the mobile library service is run, with a view to this service being transferred to community management.

The report also highlights that we are also looking at increasing our use of new technology, encouraging greater use of self-service facilities and could consider implementing `Smart libraries’, which people can access using a card and PIN. These services could mitigate the proposed reduction in opening hours.