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Library consultation - 2015 Budget savings

How the cuts to the Hampshire County Council budget for 2015/16 affect the Library Service

Hampshire County Council is facing difficult financial challenges through continuing cuts in Government funding and increasing costs in looking after more elderly people and children who need our help.

Over the last three years we have made £100 million of budget savings.  This has been achieved in a number of ways, including services reducing their budgets by 18%. We now need to make a further £93 million of savings and all services have to find further budget reductions.

The Library Service has reviewed various options and proposes to make the required savings through a further management restructure, a reduction to the mobile library service, including Family Library Link, and a change to the way library services are provided in Grayshott, Kingsclere and Milford on Sea. We understand and regret that some customers will be affected, but we believe this option will have the least impact on customers whilst maintaining a viable library service for the future.

Why have these particular libraries and mobile library services been selected?

A range of criteria were used during the decision process, including the use made by customers of each library, service or mobile library stop and potential for development to meet changes in the way customers are using libraries. Grayshott, Kingsclere and Milford on Sea libraries have been selected because they are our smallest and poorest performing libraries, based on factors such as number of visits and book issues.

For more information see the proposals below for the future of Grayshott, Kingsclere and Milford on Sea Libraries and for the Mobile Library Service and Family Library Link.

What do the proposals mean for Grayshott, Kingsclere and Milford on Sea Libraries?

The Library Service is keen to enter into discussions with local groups or organisations who might be interested in taking over full responsibility for the running of these libraries.  If there is no interest from the community in running the library then from January 2015 the library service to these communities will be provided through a mobile library, visiting the village for half a day each week. This is dependent on a suitable location being found for the mobile library stop.

What do the proposals mean for the Mobile Library Service?

Instead of four mobile libraries, from January 2015 there will only be three vehicles and as a result we are proposing to stop visiting 115 mobile library stops. These stops were selected because they are the least used stops in Hampshire.

However it is likely that the majority of stops will be affected in some way by this reduction in mobile libraries and stops as new routes and timetables will be required across the board. Details of these changes will not be available until autumn 2014.   

What do the proposals mean for Family Library Link?

Family Library Link is an additional mobile library service for the under 5s which operates in the Leigh Park area and parts of Portchester, Gosport and Wecock Farm. The aim is to promote the enjoyment of reading through lending books and delivering rhyme and story sessions for the under 5s and their carers. The Family Library Link vehicle visits pre-school settings such as nurseries, parent and toddler groups and reception classes.

The service will run until the end of 2014. We will ensure that all the children using the service have their own library card.  It can be used to borrow books from any library in Hampshire and we will provide a welcome pack from the nearest library. In addition all the pre-schools, nurseries and toddler groups will retain their membership cards so that they can continue to borrow books for use at their setting.

What happens next?

Consultation on these proposals ran from 3 February 2014 to 2 May 2014 and we would like to thank everyone who submitted responses. The responses received are being taken into consideration during the review of the proposed changes in May 2014 and an update will be available later in the summer.

These are significant changes led by the need to make large financial savings. Hampshire County Council continues to be committed to providing an excellent community focussed Library Service for Hampshire, where all are welcome. We will seek to continue to develop and transform the service, integrating with partners where possible.

Equality Impact Assessments have been undertaken on these proposals. The proposed changes to the service are subject to the approval of the Executive Member for Culture, Communities and Countryside in September 2014.