Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Public consultation on exciting opportunity for library

Monday, 14 July 2014

An exciting opportunity has arisen for Emsworth Library that would give it a bright new future in a new location. The potential relocation, backed by £100,000 investment from Hampshire County Council, would open up many more possibilities for new events and activities.

Library customers will have a chance to get involved in the proposals to relocate the popular and busy library to the Community Association building on Church Path. It's all part of Hampshire County Council looking at how it can continue to make its libraries vibrant and sustainable against a backdrop of continued Government funding cuts.

There are plans to transform the community centre into a larger space with a new café and toilets, freeing up space for activities, events and story times for children.

The installation of self service equipment will mean longer opening hours, and enable staff to help customers with more specific requests.

The public consultation will run from Monday 21 July to Saturday 18 October. Forms will be available from the Library, the Community Centre and online at www.hants.gov.uk/library

Councillor Keith Chapman, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: "As we continue to move the County's Library and Information Service into a strong position for the future, we want to move away from having libraries in stand alone buildings and relocate them into vibrant community hubs where appropriate.

"We have identified a potential opportunity for relocating Emsworth Library to the Community Association building. The library is currently located in a leasehold building so a move would bring about a much needed saving on rent as we look to deliver more with less money.

"Emsworth Library is a popular and busy library, much loved by its customers and staff, however, the listed building is small and difficult to maintain. It is also the most expensive library to run in Hampshire in terms of cost per square metre, in part because it is rented. This is an important consideration for the Library Service as, like all Hampshire County Council departments, it has to make budget savings both in 2015 and beyond. The proposal of moving the Library into the Community Association building would not only save money, but could open up the possibility of new events and activities for customers."

When the consultation concludes in October, the responses will be collated and presented to Cllr Chapman for a further decision at a later date.

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