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Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening?

Libraries need to continue to change if they are to be sustainable and relevant to people’s lives into the future. Library use continues to fall as more people go online to read and access information, and pressures on budgets have never been greater.

Proposals to increase self-service hours, change the Mobile and Travelling Library Service and develop more Community Managed Libraries have been put forward.

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 following recent public consultation, we have put forward a number of proposals on how we do that.

What are you proposing?

The below recommendations have been informed by our learning from our Community Managed Library programme to date, the careful consideration of the views of over 3,500 people who participated in a public consultation earlier this year, and the latest data on library usage.

The key proposals are:

  • We look to transfer four more libraries to community management from April 2019. Based on an analysis of visits, issues, active borrowers, library membership and computer use, these libraries are Cheadle, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge. We will also be seeking a new community partner to manage Cheslyn Hay Library.
  • We trial new self-service technology in Stafford Library to allow registered users access to the building outside core hours and extend this to Penkridge if it does not transfer to community management
  • We revise the route of the Mobile and Travelling Library Service based on the principle that we prioritise visits to isolated communities with the greatest need

You can read more detail about the proposals in the Select Committee papers.

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.

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.

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 connectedlibraries@staffordshire.gov.uk 

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 team 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.

When will the final decisions be made?

Proposals around the next steps for Staffordshire’s Library Service will be taken through the following public decision-making process:

  • 12 June: Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee paper published
  • 20 June: Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee meeting
  • 9 July: Cabinet paper published
  • 18 July: Cabinet meeting
  • 24 July: Call-in period on Cabinet decision ends

I have another question - what do I do?

Please email us at connectedlibraries@staffordshire.gov.uk

 

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