Have Your Say on under-used mobile library stops in Hampshire
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Members of the public are being invited to tell Hampshire County Council what improvements could be made to increase custom at a number of under-used mobile library stops across the county.
40 stops are currently extremely under-used across Basingstoke, East Hampshire, Eastleigh, Hart, the New Forest, Rushmoor, Test Valley and Winchester, with fewer than two customers and a total of 28 people. Some stops are not used by anyone.
A public consultation is now underway to gauge opinion among residents, mobile library drivers, customers, and local district and parish councils to see if by making changes, the stops have potential for increased custom. This feedback, along with comments from other interested parties, will be used to inform a decision due in the Autumn to revise the Mobile Library Service.
Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman, said:
"Our new, improved, and streamlined mobile library service was launched last Summer following two extensive public consultations; in order to help save more than £500,000 a year, and modernise the service as it had not been reviewed in over 20 years. We said that we would review the service one year on, so we have been assessing the results of this transformation.
"The new Mobile Library Service currently makes 363 stops around Hampshire, mainly on a monthly and weekly basis, but a number of these stops are so poorly used that this is not an efficient use of the vehicles. Nevertheless, as well as considering some of these under-used stops, we are also looking to increase the length of time vehicles are parked at some of the more popular stops."
If there is no potential for improvement, the 40 stops could be withdrawn from 21 October 2012, subject to the approval of the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation at his Decision Day on 27 September 2012.
If this goes ahead, the extra resources will be used to increase the length of time or frequency of a few stops that have been identified as needing to be longer because they are busier than originally anticipated.
Drivers will be talking to customers at the 40 affected stops, during July and August 2012. Customers and other interested parties will have the opportunity to have their say through a paper questionnaire available on the mobile libraries or by completing the online form.
The closing date for the consultation is 24 August 2012.
Any changes resulting from the consultation may impact on the timing at other stops, but these will be kept to a minimum, so that the fewest number of customers are affected. However, if a stop does ultimately have to be withdrawn, the County Council will endeavour to ensure that, where possible, customers continue to receive a library service.
Customers affected may meet the criteria for a Home Library Service delivered by volunteers if they are frail or disabled and do not have family or friends who can visit the nearest library or another mobile library stop on their behalf as a "Good Neighbour". The Good Neighbour scheme allows family and friends to borrow items on someone's behalf without having to pay overdue charges should items not be returned on time.
- A full list of the 40 under-used stops