June 6, 2011
As the 12-week consultation on proposals for radical change to Warwickshire’s Library and Information Service draws to a close, local people are being urged not to miss their opportunity to join more than 4,000 people who have already responded to the consultation.
All consultation questionnaires, whether handed in at a library or completed online, have to be in by Thursday, June 9. The consultation aims to give people the opportunity to have their say on plans to reshape the library network and cut costs.
Cllr Colin Hayfield, Portfolio-holder for Customers, Workforce and Partnerships, said: “This will be the biggest transformation in the history of Warwickshire’s library service so I urge local people to make their views known by returning the consultation questionnaire before this week’s June 9 deadline.”
The Library and Information Service must cut spending by £2 million over the next three years as part of Warwickshire County Council’s plans to achieve required savings of more than £70m across all services.
Sixteen Warwickshire libraries have been identified as no longer sustainable in their current form, alongside other cost-cutting measures including reduced opening hours, reductions in the workforce and mobile library fleet, and cutting the number of public computers across the library network.
So far more than 4,000 people have completed questionnaires – 2,025 handed in as written questionnaires and 2,050 completed online. Many hundreds of other people have visited roadshows and public meetings to find out more about the proposals for the future of the service.
There have also been about 3,000 visits in the last few weeks to a dedicated online blog bringing the latest information about the consultation at www.libraryconsult.wordpress.com
“As well as offering staff support to communities preparing business plans, the County Council has set aside £100,000 to help volunteer-run library projects get off the ground,” he said. “We are also prepared, in principle, to consider leasing council-owned library buildings at a peppercorn rent to communities submitting a strong business case.”
All consultation feedback received by June 9 will be analysed and reported to Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet in July. The report will be made public at the same time. Councillors will consider the contents before making any final decisions on the future of the library service.
More information, along with the library consultation questionnaire, is available in all Warwickshire libraries and online at: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/facingthechallenge