Sunday, 11 December 2011

Communities Champion New Vision For Libraries

Library bosses have been touring the county talking to Friends groups, Parish Councils and campaigners who helped shaped the new vision for the service.

The views and ideas put forward from 13 communities whose libraries were previously 'under review' are now helping to take forward the new vision for 21st century library services, and will be used in discussions with other communities across the County.

Cambridgeshire County Council received an overwhelming response from communities to the previous consultation into libraries in support of their library services.  In response the County Council launched its new vision for 21st Century Library Services that will keep and improve the service everywhere.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning and Christine May, Head of Libraries, Archives & Information, as well as other County Council Officers are meeting with communities to respond to their feedback from the consultation and provide an overview of the new vision for 21st Century Library Services.

Groups have been reassured no community will lose access to their existing library services. Libraries could be co-located with other public services in community hubs and opportunities for increased income from commercialisation in libraries will be explored which could include coffee shops, banking facilities and other services.

The County Council will be engaging with the wider community about these options in early 2012.

Library services will also be modernised, with increased use of new technology to deliver services and enable more self service use, online and mobile.

In response to what communities said, the County Council will continue to take responsibility for the full running of the core library service offer and will meet the basic costs for running the service.  The Library Service will recruit, train and manage volunteers and will continue to fund at least one paid member of staff in each library. Library Friends Groups will be encouraged and supported to continue their vital work in helping shape and maintain their local library service.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, said: "We have been meeting with communities to thank them for their hard work and reassure them that no service will be lost in their area. We will also be taking the great ideas and enthusiasm they have shown for their libraries and using it when we talk to the communities around the county at our other libraries.  What is very clear is that all of us feel libraries are vitally important and have a large role to play at the heart of local communities."