27 Nov 2012

Cuts/changes to local Mobile Library Service

I've just been sent the following information - no formal consultation invite - just this letter with the changes that was passed on courtesy of a local County councillor......

As we near the final implementation phase of the Library Strategy I thought it would be helpful to provide you with an update. You will be aware that we are transforming library services so that they are affordable, flexible and relevant to people’s lives today.  The network of static libraries, the virtual library, and library services to support people with special needs as agreed by Cabinet in April 2012 meet the council’s statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. 

We introduced the revised library opening hours in September following a period of local consultation about how these hours would be distributed across the week. We are providing nine Main libraries and 22 Local libraries across the county.  The library nearest to your division is Stroud.

Since 1st November we have helped local people to set up six Community libraries and a further two will follow in January 2013.  We have provided full training and we are appointing a Community Libraries Support Officer to provide ongoing advisory support. Community library customers are still able to access the full range of the council’s library service via the library system and PCs provided by the county to give access to the Virtual library. Book stock is available for reservation and is delivered to and collected from community libraries weekly.  There is not a Community library in your division.

We now have a collection of eBooks and eAudio added to our Virtual Library and we are getting a regular flow of new people joining online to use these digital library services. http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries/downloadlibrary

We are in the final phase of the project to implement our new rural mobile library service that will provide books and internet PCs and work with public sector partners to give people in rural areas access to a range of services. The new stops will be of a much longer duration than the previous stops. The rural mobile will visit on a 4 weekly rota.
The process we followed prior to withdrawing the three community mobiles included communicating with the 993 registered mobile customers on the East, West and Central mobiles. Over 85% said that they would be able to access their nearest static library or proposed new rural mobile stop. We spoke to customers who visited the mobiles during September to outline the changes and inform them about their nearest library or proposed new stops.  We also telephoned or wrote to people who did not visit the mobiles during this period. 

We are making tailored arrangements for those mobile customers who have specific needs which may mean they require additional support to help them access a library service. This includes arranging transport to a library, housebound delivery of books, assistance with learning how to download books, library clubs for older people and, if needed, a library travel pass. The exact start date of their preferred option will vary depending on what is chosen by the customer.

There is a four week gap before the new rural mobile library service commences on the 11th December to allow time for one of the vehicles to be refurbished and to have satellite installed to facilitate internet access.  We have now sent a letter to the registered mobile users to inform them about their nearest library and to confirm the rural mobile stop nearest to them and the day and time the mobile will visit.    

The rural mobile stop in your division is Ruscombe, Bread Street. Any residents who were registered to use the former mobile service have now been re-directed to one of the alternative library service provisions as outlined in the process described above. 

The new timetables for the rural mobile library service across the county will be published on the website by the end of November. 

If you have any queries about the new rural mobile library service please contact Jo Hand 01452 425027 jo.hand@gloucestershire.gov.uk  

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