Have your say on the future of Buckinghamshire’s mobile library service

Residents are being asked to give their views on the future of the county’s mobile library service in an eight week consultation launched today (1 November).

The consultation is available online athttps://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/libraries/mobile-library-service-consultation/. It asks for people’s views on the County Council’s proposals to discontinue the current mobile library vehicle service and for their preferences on proposed alternative ways of providing library lending services to people who have difficulty accessing library buildings.

Usage of the mobile library service is low with visitor numbers having fallen in recent years. The Council’s visitor data for the last two years shows that almost three quarters of the 65 service stops made by the three current mobile library vehicles are being used by fewer than five customers at a time. The cost of running the mobile service is high and increasing, with the average cost per item issued at a mobile library being substantially higher than items issued at library buildings.

Under the proposals, current mobile library customers would be served by a range of different options including the Home Library Service, wider provision of online library lending services and working with interested local communities to develop community-based options such as ‘click and collect’ schemes.

Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said: “We know that the mobile library service is valued. But in recent years, fewer people have been using it; in the last couple of years one-third of the library service stops had only one customer. The cost of running the service has also increased to the point that it is now really no longer sustainable.

“We’d like to provide a more flexible, community-based library service that is still easily accessible for our mobile library customers, and a service that can be adapted to suit the differing needs of local communities. The idea of this consultation is to hear what people think about our proposals and the alternative options available. We hope that as many people as possible will respond to the consultation so that together we can shape a local library service that is better for customers.”

The consultation runs until 31 December 2017. It is available online athttps://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/libraries/mobile-library-service-consultation/ and residents can also complete it online in their local library. Paper copies are also available at main libraries and at mobile library service stops.

For more information on Buckinghamshire’s mobile library service visitwww.buckscc.gov.uk/libraries