With seven of our nine mobile libraries coming to the end of their working lives, we’re asking for your views on how library services to locations outside of town centres should be delivered. Over the past seven years, use of mobile libraries has declined by nearly 50%. There are no plans to scrap mobile libraries entirely. Instead, we looking at a range of ways to reach people in more isolated places, including mobile libraries and encouraging more people to get involved through volunteering.
Volunteering roles involve helping support the creation of community libraries, staffed by volunteers, in local halls, shops or pubs and extending the Home Library Service, to deliver books to people in their own homes and help combat social isolation. We want to hear what people think of how our proposals to redraw routes and to share their own ideas for bringing libraries to more remote places. Find out more about the proposals by reading the consultation booklet.
Contribute your views and help shape the future direction of the service by completing the survey. Young people under 16 can also take part. A version of the survey for children and young people has been specially created to gather their view. The survey is also available in large print, Braille or an EasyRead version.
Councillor Sue Barker, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: “We know how much people value their mobile library service. But we also know that in recent years, fewer and fewer people have been taking advantage of it. Combined with other factors, such as vehicles which are coming to the end of their working lives, we have reached a point where the right thing to do is look again at how we provide these services. This is why are consulting with residents on how we create a mobile library service which is a better fit with people’s lives. We want a service which is available at a place and time which suits users; a service which is flexible enough to help volunteers set up a community library in a village hall, pub sports club or shop. We want a service where volunteers deliver books directly to the door, and can stop to chat with the residents so that we contribute to ending social isolation. We want a service which is able to respond to different local needs and settings. We don’t want a service which wastes money by having mobile library buses parked in locations at times when no one visits."
The consultation begins on 19 September and lasts for seven weeks. To have your say, visit Essex Insight or complete a paper survey on a mobile library or in your local library.
Helpline: 0345 603 7628. Call this number if you need help to complete the survey or to request it in large print, Braille or an EasyRead version.