Proposals for changes to the Mobile Library Service
Hampshire County Council has to make budget savings of 12% by April 2015 and all departments are affected. 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, withdrawal of the Family Library Link service 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 our customers and the service overall.
What does this mean for the Mobile Library Service?
Instead of four mobile libraries, from January 2015 there will only be three vehicles and as a result approximately one third of mobile library stops will be withdrawn. These stops all have poor usage.
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.
Why is the Mobile Library Service being reduced?
We realise that the Mobile Library Service is much loved by its customers but the use of the service is in decline and it is expensive to run.
- Based on the criteria of at least 10 customers per short stop (4 weekly) and over 50 customers per longer 2 to 3 hour stop (weekly) over half of the current 345 mobile library stops are underused. Almost a quarter have fewer than 5 customers per visit.
- The changes in the way we live and use of technology are also contributing to the continued decline in use of the Mobile Library Service.
- The average cost per book issued from a mobile library is £2.52 compared to £1.05 from a branch library or Discovery Centre.
Looking at an average across April and May 2013, just under 1,800 library cards (2% of cards) were used per month on mobile libraries compared to almost 89,000 per month across the library service as a whole.
The changes planned to the Mobile Library Service are primarily driven by the need to make savings but our aim is to use this opportunity to develop a revised service which is efficient and provides a mobile library service to communities where the service is used by more people. We will also look for opportunities to introduce new stops, if there is sufficient demand.
What are my options if my stop is to be withdrawn?
If your stop has to be withdrawn different ways of accessing a library service are available. Please ask your driver or complete the online form for information on any of the following:
- The nearest alternative mobile library stop
- The nearest library
- The Good Neighbour scheme*
- The Home Library Service*
- Library services available via the internet
*conditions apply for these services
What happens next?
The opportunity to comment on these and the other budget saving changes to Hampshire Library Service ran from 3 February 2014 until Friday 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 2014.