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Mobile Libraries Cut

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:02am 31st July 2014

Cornwall's mobile libraries are being slashed.

They will go from five vans to just one, and the number of stops will plummet from 600 to 200.

The council says it has got to save almost £200 in the next five years.

More than 2,600 members of the public took part in a 12 week consultation, which included questionnaires delivered to all current mobile library service users and available at libraries and one stop shops and meetings with organisations and community groups. 

The results showed the over whelming majority of members of the public wanted to retain a mobile library service in Cornwall but many communities also expressed an interest in developing micro libraries in the local community.  

Outlining the results of the consultation Adam Paynter, the Council’s Cabinet member for Partnerships said “It is clear that the mobile library service is highly valued but, at the same time, many people recognised the financial pressures that the Council is facing. 

“Rather than go for the two original options of retaining two mobile vans, which would not deliver the savings needed to also develop more micro libraries across Cornwall, or cutting all five vans and then using the funding to develop micro libraries and expand the home delivery service, we are proposing a third option which provides a reduced mobile library service at the same time as delivering the savings we need to make and also provides funding to develop the other aspects of the service.

“I would like to thank all the members of the public who took the time to give us their views, and the staff who helped organise the consultation. This was not an easy decision to make. I am particularly encouraged by the enthusiasm of the 33 local communities who have already expressed an interest in developing a micro library in their area and look forward to working with them and with local Members. “

Under Option 3, which will now be implemented by 1 April 2015, a single mobile library van will provide a monthly service to 172 stops across Cornwall.  Further discussions will now take place with local Cornwall Councillors and communities to identify which stops best meet the needs of specific local areas.  

There are currently 7 micro libraries in Cornwall that operate as part of the Councils library service, five “Pub is the Hub” schemes, one in Roche Community café and also in the St Dennis Community Centre. Under this option the Council will provide up to a £1,000 funding to develop a further 28 schemes in the first year, with more funding available in subsequent years.  These could be set up in a variety of venues, including village halls and community centres, schools, village shops and post offices and churches.   

Funding will also be used to expand the Home Library Service which is delivered in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service.  There are currently 571 registered users of the service which uses RVS volunteers to deliver library books to members of the library who are unable to access either a static or mobile library.  The results of the consultation show that there are a considerable number of vulnerable people who could benefit from this service. This option will enable additional funding to be provided to potentially increase the number of users to 1,000.

Mark Read, Head of Customers and Communities for the Council added “After an excellent debate, we are pleased that the Cabinet chose to follow the recommendation to implement option 3 and work will now start on engaging with staff, current service users and communities as we move towards implementing this library model over the coming months”.

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