Mobile Library Service Reviews
Results of review of stops - September 2012
The purpose of the review in July and August 2012 was to investigate whether the 39 mobile library stops with an average of one or zero customers per visit in 2011/12 had potential for increased custom. Customers, mobile library drivers, County Councillors and Parish, Town and District councils were given the opportunity to submit comments and suggestions for increasing the use of these stops. If a stop had no potential for increased custom then it was proposed to withdraw the stop in late October 2012, subject to the approval of the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation on 27 September 2012. Capacity released by withdrawal of stops would be used to lengthen the time at stops that had too many customers to comfortably use the mobile library in the time allowed.
The public consultation closed on 24 August 2012 by which time 29 responses had been received. These responses related to 12 out of the 39 stops included in the consultation, meaning that no feedback was received for 27 out of the 39 stops. The majority of reponses were received via the online form set up for the consultation, or by email, with three arriving in the post. Six of the responses related to stops not included in the consultation or were general comments.
Following analysis of the feedback and responses received during the consultation it is proposed that 29 out of the 39 stops under discussion are withdrawn. Of the 10 stops to be retained 5 will be moved to a different but nearby location, one will change time, one will combine with another stop and three will remain the same. All will be actively advertised, as will the rest of the 334 mobile library stops.
In addition 14 stops outside of those under consultation will be altered. Of these one will move location, 10 stops will have their time increased, and two of the 10 will increase in frequency from every four weeks to fortnightly. Three stops that are weekly will be reduced in length. This will enable the two stops mentioned above to become fortnightly and will enable two new stops to be introduced.
Details of the stops affected can be found in Appendix 1. These changes were approved by the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation on 27 September 2012.
Exact details of stops, routes, dates and times for the Mobile Library Service from 22 October will be available in late September 2012.
Review of stops - July 2012
The current mobile library service has been operating for a year following the major review in May 2011. Many of the 363 stops are successful, but some have had little or no custom. There are 39 stops which have had on average one or zero customers per visit since the new service started in July 2011. These stops are not best use of resources and each one will be investigated through discussion with drivers, customers, county councillors and Parish or Town councils to see if, by making changes, the stop has potential for increased custom.
If there is no potential for improvement the stops will be withdrawn in October 2012, subject to the approval of the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation in September 2012. The capacity released will be used to increase the length or frequency of a few stops that have been identified as needing to be longer because they are busier than originally anticipated. There may also be some changes made to a few other stops that are underused compared to their length of visit. Inevitably these changes may have an impact on the timing at other stops, but we will keep these to a minimum, so that as few customers as possible are affected.
Drivers will be talking to customers affected 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.
An Equality Impact assessment has been prepared for the proposal.
Service review - May 2011
Last October 2010 we announced a review of the Mobile Library Service. Over the last 5 years visits to stops have declined by more than 23%. We know that the people who still use the service value it very highly, but the current financial situation and decrease in use means we have had to consider how to achieve the most effective service for Hampshire communities whilst making significant savings to the running costs. Along with every other services in Hampshire County Council the Library Service has to make savings of at least 16% over the next two years.
Several changes were considered, based on the following priorities:
- Isolated rural communities – where there is very limited/no public transport and the residents do not have good access to their own transport
- Rural sheltered accommodation located where public transport links are poor
- Individuals who are housebound
These changes were shared with interested parties during consultation in November and December 2010. These parties included customers, parish, town and district councils, Care Home Managers and adjacent authorities. The public was involved through questionnaires given to customers, press releases and Hantsweb. 2,400 customers responded, as did Care Home Managers, Parish, Town and District Councils. Feedback received was taken into account in preparing the details of the proposed new service. These details were made available to the interested parties in January 2011 and a further 199 comments were received. These comments were used to finalise the new service which was approved by the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation on 8 March 2011.
Details of the new service:
The number of mobile library stops will reduce from over 1200 to 365. This includes the 52 stops added back and the 31 withdrawn as a result of consultation in January and February 2011.
Service to rural communities
- Villages at least two miles from the nearest static library will continue to receive a Mobile Library Service. However in most cases the number of stops in each community will be reduced to one, with a minimum stop length of 20 minutes. Most stops will be between 30 and 40 minutes.
- The frequency of visit will reduce from once every 2 weeks to once every 4 weeks.
- There will be a service Monday to Saturday.
- The stops will operate on a 4 week schedule for 48 weeks a year. There will be 2 weeks off the road over Christmas and 2 further weeks for driver training and vehicle MOTs etc.
- The Service will be provided using 4 vehicles. In addition a further vehicle will be kept, fully stocked, as a spare vehicle to be used when one of the other vehicles are off the road for more than a day.
- Sheltered accommodation in rural locations will continue to receive a mobile library service, delivered on a 4 week basis by the vehicles visiting the communities at least 2 miles from a static library.
- There will be no specific stops at schools or playgroups although, where possible, public stops will incorporate a school or playgroup.
- The number of customers using each stop will be monitored after 12 months. If there are fewer than 10 people per 20 – 40 minute stop then the stop may be withdrawn.
Service to small towns/large villages at least 2 miles from a static library
- These will continue to receive a mobile library service.
- Stops will last 2 to 3 hours in larger communities on a two-week schedule, with some communities having weekly stops.
- There will be a service Monday to Saturday.
- The number of customers using each stop will be monitored after 12 months. If there are fewer than 50 people per 2 – 3 hour stop then the stop may be withdrawn.
Service to sheltered accommodation within 2 miles of a static library
- From July 2011 mobile libraries will no longer visit sheltered accommodation within 2 miles of a static library.
- Customers will be able to access library services at their nearest library. Feedback from the consultation suggests that there is interest in a Group library membership whereby someone in the sheltered accommodation is responsible for selecting and collecting books on behalf of fellow residents. This Group membership will be available from 1 April 2011.
- Customers will also be able to access library services by using the Good Neighbour scheme where a friend, neighbour or relative borrows items for them, or by applying to receive a Home Library Service delivered by a volunteer, where there is no one available to exchange items for them.
Family Library Link
- Councillor Thornber has announced that he will provide funding to ensure that the service to children and parents in the Havant area will continue.
Service to Care Homes
- From July 2011 mobile libraries will no longer call at residential care settings.
- Feedback from the consultation suggests that Care Home Managers and their Activity Co-ordinators are interested in a Group library membership whereby someone in the home is responsible for selecting and collecting books from their nearest library for use by residents. This will be available from 1 April 2011.
- Alternatively, subject to agreement with the Manager, residents who receive a room visit can apply to receive a Home library Service delivered by a volunteer.
Home Library Service
- Deliveries to people unable to visit a library due to disability or infirmity will continue and the service will be expanded through more use of volunteers.
- We would like to work with local communities to find volunteers to choose books from the mobile library and deliver them to neighbours unable to reach a stop.
The current Mobile Library Service will cease on 24 June 2011 and the new service will start on 4 July 2011. The week in between will be used to take the existing stock off the current vehicles and to put the best of this stock and new stock on the 4 vehicles that will deliver the new Service. Stock will also be stored at each vehicle base to replenish the mobile libraries each day.
These are significant changes led by the need to make large financial savings. We have undertaken an Equalities Impact Assessment on the proposal.