Somerset County Council
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Libraries

 

Library Service update  
Background
On 12 December 2012 the Cabinet agreed a number of recommendations for reviewing and redesigning the Library Service based on three principles, shown below:
Library services should be provided on the basis of need, demand and value for money
Libraries should be community hubs
Library services should be responsive to and supported by their local communities

The review of the service is required to achieve £850,000 savings over the coming three years.

What have we done so far?
We set up the Library Review Programme, which contains nine projects looking at the library service. In order to assess different ways of delivering the service in future we have begun to test some of the three principles above through a number of 'Proof of Concept' pilots. These pilots will look to develop libraries as community hubs and to create library services responsive to and supported by their local communities. Three pilots based on the models have been set up at:

Porlock
The first community supported library in Somerset was officially launched in Porlock library on Friday 6 December 2013. The County Council worked closely with Porlock Parish Council and recruited over 25 volunteers from the local community, who will now help run the library. Self Service has now been installed and the volunteers trained on how to use it.

Priorswood
The Children's Centre reception staff have completed their initial training on the use of the Self Service kiosk and the equipment will be moved into the main reception area.  The recruitment of local volunteers will also be completed to enable the service to extend opening hours in line with the Centre.

Taunton
Discussions are taking place with community and voluntary groups to consider more ways of making use of the library space and any requirements which they may have.

In addition to the above Proof of Concept pilots, the service continues to consider and investigate further opportunities to involve the wider communities.

What else are we doing?
Other areas of work currently being undertaken within the Libraries Review programme includes restructuring the libraries' information service, stock management processes and mobile library provision. We are also installing more self-service kiosks and wifi, refreshing the People's Network service and developing a broader volunteer strategy.

Future Plans
An extensive public consultation process is currently being devised to gain feedback on the new ways of delivering a library service. This consultation will start in the early part of 2014. Once the dates of the public consultation are agreed these will be published on our website, in all Somerset Libraries and in your local press.

Chris Loughlin
Project Manager - Library Service Review
Somerset County Council, B2 East, County Hall, TA1 4DY.
Phone: 01823 357656
Email: CLoughlin@somerset.gov.uk

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