In the context of significant budget pressure over the coming years, the council needs to do more than simply identify savings each year. It must transform services to make them sustainable and fit for the future. We need to think very differently about how we operate, be more innovative, entrepreneurial and commercially minded.
As plans develop, we will seek investment to modernise and enhance library spaces in council-run library services. These will prioritise, at least initially, larger libraries.
We will explore additional sources of funding for our services, including:
- grants for specific projects such as the recent redevelopment of Chelmsford Children’s Library funded by Chelmsford City Council through the Community Infrastructure Levy and Arts Council England/ Libraries Taskforce.
- encouraging local fundraising to support local delivery of library services.
- generating income from hire of library space, chargeable events, sale of complementary products and by reviewing our current chargeable services.
- moving some services to lower cost digital delivery channels where appropriate.
- seeking contributions from developers such as section 106 funding.
During the strategy period we will invest in new technology and library space by:
- refurbishing council-run libraries to deliver a consistent high-quality look and feel across the council-run network.
- implementing an up to date and flexible library management system
- upskilling staff to improve the service to users
- embracing new technology and ‘smart libraries’ functionality that enables users to choose when and how they access books and learning materials.