Frequently Asked Questions
What is happening?
The Library Service needs to continue to change if it is to remain at the heart of communities and operate within a reduced budget. Library use continues to fall as more people go online to read and access information while pressures on budgets have never been greater. Proposals about self-service hours, changes to the Mobile and Travelling Library Service and more Community Managed Libraries are being put forward as part of this consultation for people to consider.
The proposals don’t represent sweeping changes to the library service, but are suggestions so that libraries remain sustainable and relevant to people’s lives into the future.
Why is it happening?
Library use continues to fall as more people go online to read and get information. Pressures on budgets have never been greater – the county council will receive no central government funding by 2020/21. At the same time, demand for services such as adult social care continues to increase.
However, we remain committed to keeping our libraries open and flexible and through this consultation we want to discuss different ways to do that.
What are you proposing?
• To explore ‘self-service’ hours – where libraries would be staffed for a core period of time during the day, and registered users could access the building during certain period outside those hours (no library would be completely self-service). This proposal does not apply to Community Managed Libraries.
• To increase the number of Community Managed Libraries – to reduce the number of libraries that are fully funded by the county council and revitalise those that are the least ‘busy’.
• To increase the number of volunteers in county council run libraries to work alongside paid Staffordshire County Council staff.
• To reduce the number of stops the Mobile and Travelling Library Service makes so that it can continue to serve rural and isolated communities.
Do any of these proposals affect libraries that are Community Managed and Delivered?
No. These proposals are only about the 20 county council Managed and Delivered Libraries and the Mobile and Travelling Library Service.
Are there any other options?
We welcome people’s thoughts about possible alternatives through the consultation.
The ‘community managed library’ model is working in Staffordshire. By transferring the four least busy county council managed libraries to community management, the council can save money and the community can access a more revitalised and more exciting library offer.
We believe that these are the best options that will keep libraries in Staffordshire open, flexible to people’s needs and at the heart of communities.
However, we welcome people’s ideas regarding alternative ways to deliver the library service within the budget available. The consultation gives the opportunity to share comments and suggestions and all alternatives will be considered.
Why have Clayton, Cheadle, Eccleshall and Penkridge been proposed to be Community Managed Libraries?
Based on an analysis of visits, issues, active borrowers, library membership and computer reservations, these libraries are the least ‘busy’ county council managed libraries.
What should I do if I am interested in finding out more about what running a Community Library involves?
Read some of the examples of Community Managed Libraries that are currently operating and then contact us at email@example.com
What is going to happen to staff in my library?
It is too early to comment upon staffing arrangements for the library service. However while the service may not require as many paid members of staff in the future, we are committed to retaining a library staff who provide support, advice and training to volunteers and Community Managed Libraries.
Can’t you find savings elsewhere, like in management?
Libraries have already undergone a significant programme of change which has delivered £1.675m of savings in the last 4 years. This included changes to management structures and reductions to back office support. To work within the available budget we need to make further changes so that our libraries are affordable.
I have another question - what do I do?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org