More changes afoot for library services

Buckinghamshire County Council's mobile library
Buckinghamshire County Council's mobile library

How would you fancy popping to the library in your local pub, shop or post office?

Bucks County Council (BCC) looking at creative ways to bring library services to rural and isolated communtiies, and will be contacting parish councils and community organisations for their thoughts.

A futher review of library services in Bucks aimed at saving another £300,000 over the next three years was announced by BCC this week.

From November, mobile libraries will call only once a month, rather than once a fortnight, saving £100,000.

BCC says it has already saved £488,000 through its new ‘County and Community’ model of library service delivery, which has seen smaller libraries, including Winslow’s, reinvent themselves as community libraries, staffed mainly by volunteers.

And it says a further £200,000 has been saved by reducing duplication and back office costs and over £100,000 through improving its courier and information services.

BCC says the change to the frequency of the mobile library service will not significantly affect customers, most of whom already use it on a monthly basis, as items are issued on a four-week loan.

The mobile library will no longer pay regular visits to residential care homes or private nurseries and pre-schools.

These will all move over to a deposit collection service, where a collection of books is delivered and then replaced and refreshed a month later.

Service delivery manager David Jones said: “It is clearly unfair that the publicly funded library service should subsidise private nurseries.”

An occasional mobile library visit will be offered on request.

Posters outlining the changes to the timetable will be displayed on the mobile libraries and customers will be given a leaflet.

Discussions are taking place with CAB, Adult Social Care and AVDC about using the mobiles libraries’ private ‘interview’ spaces to deliver outreach services.

In a letter to county councillors, Mr Jones said: “There are so many possibilities to maximise partnership mobile usage, while continuing to deliver the valued library service.

“We are also looking at developing new initiatives with local shops, pubs and post offices to support community access to library services and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss any ideas you may have to extend the way we deliver library and BCC services in your constituency.”