Facing the Challenge – Library consultation

Mobile Library Service Review 2013

We needed to make savings by reducing the fleet of mobile libraries from five vehicles to three. This meant a reduction in the number of stops.

The review ran from 20 May to 31 July. Proposals for service reconfiguration were approved by Cabinet on November 14th 2013. New timetables took effect from 3 February 2014.

Mobile libraries Review frequently asked questions

1. Why is the review taking place?
In 2011, following extensive public consultation, Cabinet approved a set of measures designed to achieve savings across Warwickshire Library & Information Service of more than £2 million. These included a £95,000 reduction in the Mobile Library Service budget by 2014, and reducing the mobile fleet from five vehicles to three. Cabinet instructed Warwickshire Library & Information Service officers to undertake a review of the service to maximise available resources and as many people as our resources allow. Savings would be made through a reduction in the service fleet, staffing and associated costs (e.g. vehicle maintenance). In addition, several stops across Warwickshire have been identified as ‘low use’ by not attracting enough regular users. Time spent at those sites can be better used at sites with greater demand.

2. What does the mobile library service do at the moment?
Warwickshire Mobile Library service maintains a fleet of five vehicles, based at Alcester, Atherstone, Bedworth, Kenilworth and Southam, visiting 453 stops across the county. These stops include residential retirement complexes, nurseries and pre-school groups, and stops in communities without a library building. It provides books (including audio books on tape and CD), information and internet access to users, an access point for other Warwickshire County Council services, and an important social function, particularly for otherwise isolated users.

3. What will the revised service look like?
The revised service will operate three vehicles, and a correspondingly smaller total number of stops. The bases for these vehicles will be Alcester Library,Bedworth Library and Kenilworth Library Community Services. Options for the revised service were presented in May 2013, via the Warwickshire County Council website, displays in library buildings, community forum meetings, and newsletters to service users, county councillors, parish councils and other stakeholders.

4. What is happening to my local stop?
Service customers have been informed of which stops will be changed or closed. Some stops have been altered – the vehicle calling on a different day or at a different time to the previous arrangement. In cases where there were multiple stops in one locality, these may have been combined into one central location. In these cases we have worked as closely as possible with customers and stakeholders to identify the best and most accessible places and times for the mobile library to visit. Normally the retained stop will be the one attracting the most users.

5. What criteria have been used to decide which stops are changed?
Under current criteria, for a stop to be viable it must attract four or more regular users. Time spent at each stop depends on how many users the mobile library regularly receives at that site. In some cases, two or more low-use stops in close proximity have been combined to form one viable stop. Efforts are made to ensure as even coverage as possible throughout the county.

6. If a stop has been removed, what alternative services are available?
Warwickshire Library & Information Service maintains a popular home delivery service, whereby a regular visitor delivers books to individuals and takes book and information requests back to the library service for them to be answered. This service is offered where appropriate to customers at stops which have been removed. Warwickshire Library & Information Service also prepares and delivers larger collections of books for residential homes and nurseries. This service is offered to establishments removed from service timetables.

In areas where there are several stops in one locality, stops may be merged into one visit at a central location. In these cases, we will consult locally to identify the most accessible places and times for all local users.

7. My local library closed in 2012 and we now receive the mobile library as a weekly replacement service. Is this likely to change?
No. Currently the mobile library service provides a replacement weekly library service for three communities – Bedworth Heath, Binley Woods and Kingsbury – where the static library closed in 2012.The current weekly replacement service will remain in effect, visiting for the same amount of time weekly, and at the same sites, as at present, for the foreseeable future.

8. When do these changes take effect?
After approval of the County Council Cabinet in November 2013, new timetables were published, and come into effect from February 3rd 2014.

9. Will the revised mobile library service levy charges in the same manner static libraries do?
No. Many mobile library service users are exempt from charges (for example, for overdue books), and receive books for a longer loan period than the standard three weeks. These arrangements will not change for the foreseeable future.

10. Will these changes hit any parts of the county disproportionately more than others?
All mobile library stops will continue to be assessed using the same criteria. We will ensure that any reductions to the service across the county will be applied using these criteria.


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Transforming your library service (March – June 2011)

Consultation

The biggest transformation in the history of Warwickshire’s Library Service took place from March 18 until June 9 2011. A 12 week consultation was undertaken to ensure every person living in the county had the opportunity to air their views on the proposals, on the web, at roadshows and community events.

A series of public meetings and informal drop-in sessions took place throughout Warwickshire. Library staff were hand to give further information about the background to the proposals. Customers were able to ask questions and had the opportunity to complete a short questionnaire.

More than 4,500 people took the time to complete the survey questionnaire

Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee report

A report went to Warwickshire County Council’s Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday, October 10, seeking approval for the next steps to be taken by Warwickshire Library and Information Service (WLIS) towards implementing changes to the service following the consideration by Cabinet on 14 July 2011 of the outcomes to the consultation.

The report included proposals relating to:

  • community library business case submissions
  • community library one-off capital funding applications
  • strategy for reconfiguring the mobile library service
  • public computer charges

For more information, you can view the full public report


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Community libraries

Throughout the library consultation period Warwickshire Library and Information Service held a number of public meetings with local communities to raise awareness of the consultation.

Warwickshire County Council offered local people and community groups the opportunity to run their own community library service.

As a result 12 community managed libraries were set up with the support of Warwickshire Library and Information Service: Community managed libraries


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Shaping future library opening hours (November 2011)

A comprehensive consultation was undertaken from Monday November 14 until Sunday December 11, asking local people to decide on the opening hours of Warwickshire libraries.

The proposal was to to reduce the total weekly opening hours for Warwickshire County Council managed libraries from 782 to 560, representing a reduction of 28%.


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Facing the Challenge – Library consultation was last updated on June 4, 2014.