Shropshire Council

Get involved

Draft Library Services Strategy for Shropshire, 2018 to 2023

  • Period: 26 July 2017 - 13 October 2017
  • Status: Closed
  • Audiences: Everyone
  • Topics: Leisure and culture, Commissioning, Big Conversation
  • Type: Public

* This consultation has been extended by a week due to the technical problem with our online survey tool which is affecting responses being submitted *

What we're consulting on

Shropshire Council wishes to consult with both  library users and non-users, and interested organisations on the development of a new Library Services Strategy for Shropshire. As part of the development of a new strategy we are also consulting on a proposed reduction in the number of mobile library stops from 354 to 277.

Background

Shropshire Council is proud of its library services.  This draft strategy reflects our ambition and commitment to continue to unlock the huge potential that library services have to impact positively on individuals’ lives while at the same time delivering local priorities. Whilst acknowledging that this is a particularly challenging time for library services, it is also clear that they are highly valued by local communities and stakeholders alike. The next five years are crucial for the long-term sustainability and success of public library services in Shropshire.

Summary of the draft strategy

The draft Library Services Strategy for Shropshire sets out a vision in which libraries are at the heart of their communities.  We want to work in partnership with others to empower everyone to live healthy, resilient and fulfilling lives, and to provide library services that inspire people’s learning and enjoyment.  Our draft strategy sets out four strategic objectives:

  1. Improving literacy and encouraging reading
  2. Improving and sustaining the health and well-being of Shropshire communities
  3. Encouraging communities to be inclusive and prosperous
  4. Ensuring that libraries become more enterprising and self-sustaining

The draft strategy sets out a hierarchy of library services provision and describes how the council can meet its statutory requirements to provide a “comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons” by providing:

  • Static library provision within six Tier 1 locations – Library Hubs – and seven Tier 2 locations – Community Libraries
  • 277 mobile library stops, principally responding to the challenges of an ageing population and access to services in a rural context
  • Digital library services including 24-hour access to a range of lending and information resources

The draft strategy does not set out to close any existing libraries, but it does recognise the need to provide a framework that allows future investment and revenue support to be prioritised. Based on a thorough review of the usage and location of existing mobile library stops, this consultation makes a specific recommendation to reduce the number of stops from 354 to 277. Our proposals will result in a saving to the council of an estimated £375,000 per annum from the end of 2022/23.  Any alternative proposals should be made within the context of the council’s financial situation.

The draft strategy will be supported by the development of a detailed action plan to cover the period 2018/19 to 2022/23.

The draft strategy is underpinned by an understanding of the unique character of Shropshire and the opportunities and issues facing its residents. This is included within a detailed Needs Assessment for Shropshire.

The council has a statutory duty to provide library services and wider responsibilities to meet Disability Discrimination Act, Equality Act and broader social inclusion requirements. An Equality and Social Inclusion Impact Assessment has been prepared, and this will be kept under review in the context of the finalisation of the strategy and the development of a detailed delivery plan. 

The following documents are attached to this page:

  • Draft Library Services Strategy
  • Needs Assessment
  • Equality and Social Inclusion Impact Assessment
  • Mobile library frequently asked questions
  • Current mobile library stops
  • Mobile library stops proposed for deletion

How to get involved

We now wish to consult further with the public and stakeholders on the draft strategy before finalising it.  We want to fully understand the needs and views of as many members of the community as possible to help us plan the best way to provide library services in the future. We want to hear from people who don’t currently use library services as well as people who do.

Once you have read the draft strategy please click on the 'How to get involved' tab and follow the link to complete the survey.

The outcomes of the consultation will be considered and used to inform the completion of the strategy.

Mobile library frequently asked questions

What criteria have you used to review the mobile library stops?

Within the draft Library Services Strategy we describe the criteria that we have used to provide a mobile library service for those who most need it:

  • Stops will not normally be within a 20-minute drive time of a static library
  • Stops will be considered with the context of available public transport to local static libraries
  • Stops will be concentrated on village centres with one stop per village wherever possible
  • Stops should not normally be within one mile of each other by road
  • Stops will coincide with other village activities where possible
  • The length of stop will be determined by the level of use at that location but should not ordinarily exceed one hour in duration
  • New stops will only be started for a minimum of 2 people, but stops with 1 frail or housebound member will be considered
  • Reasonable exceptions will be made at the discretion of the library service

[1][Adapted from a report to Cabinet - Delivery of mobile library services in Shropshire, Shropshire Council Cabinet, 19 January 2011]

Additionally, drivers’ have used their detailed knowledge of their routes and customers to identify:

  • Current stops with housebound readers
  • Current users who are able to travel to an alternative nearby stop
  • Customers who have mobility problems that will make using an alternative stop difficult
  • Stops that are no longer used or with very low usage
  • Stops that have too much/little time allocated to them

When will the changes to the mobile library service take place?

Subject to the outcomes of public consultation and confirmation by Cabinet, the new routes will begin in early 2018.

How will I know if my stop will continue?

A list of proposed stops and stops that may be withdrawn are included within the public consultation. There is an opportunity to comment on these suggestions in the consultation document. Once a definitive list of stops is confirmed, new timetables will be available on the library website.

Have you considered the implications of your proposals for people with disabilities?

Shropshire Council has a strong commitment to working to promote equality, diversity and social inclusion and the potential impact of the preferred proposals on library users, particularly those who might be impacted by any change, has been assessed through the completion of an Equality and Social Inclusion Impact Assessment.

We recognise the ongoing importance of mobile libraries in meeting the needs of isolated rural communities. Where stops are withdrawn and customers are physically unable to access a library or have no one who can visit on their behalf they will be offered the Home Library Service as an alternative.

I currently have a visit on a Wednesday, will this be the same on the new timetable?

We will be redesigning all the current routes and will not, therefore, be able to guarantee to visit on the same day or at the same time.

My stop may be withdrawn, how will I know where my nearest stop is?

New timetables will be available on all the mobile libraries before the changes take place. Stops can be viewed on the library website or you can contact Library Support on 01743 255024.

My stop is being withdrawn and I believe I am eligible for the Home Library Service, how can I access this?

Customers who are unable to access a library because of a disability, frailty or ill health, and have no one who can visit on their behalf, will be offered the Home Library Service as an alternative.

I already receive a Home Library Service from the mobile library, will this continue?

All our users who receive a Home Library Service have been identified. Where possible this service will continue from the mobile library but in some cases we may need to arrange for a volunteer to visit from a static libraries.

Can I use a library instead of / as well as a mobile library?

Yes, you can use your library ticket on mobile libraries and at libraries and you can borrow and return items to any static or mobile library. 

The mobile library stop currently coincides with our coffee morning, will this still be the case on the new timetable?

We recognise the important social role that the mobile library has in the community and we will do our best to ensure that activities that currently coincide with the mobile library continue to do so.

What happens if the mobile library does not visit when it is supposed to?

Inevitably there are occasions when mobile libraries are off the road due to breakdown or staff sickness. If this happens at short notice as many people as possible will be contacted. Please check with your driver that your details are on the contact list.

What happens if I miss a visit?

Books can be renewed online on the library website or by phoning 01743 255024. You can also borrow e books which can be downloaded free of charge from the library website.

Will we still be able to request books from other libraries and from libraries outside Shropshire?

Yes, these services will continue as they are now.

Some people in the village are unaware of the mobile library service, can more be done to publicise the new routes?

We will be sharing the new timetables with parish councils and other local organisations.  They will also be available from our libraries website.

Documents

Having read through the background information and the draft strategy itself, use the green button below to access a short online survey where you can let us know your thoughts on our proposals.

Go to the survey »

Data protection

Information collected in our surveys will only be used by us (Shropshire Council) to inform the immediate and future provision of our services. The information you provide will be kept confidential in accordance with our Privacy Policy. It will not be shared outside of Shropshire Council. Information collected via our online surveys (hosted on the Surveymonkey website) will be stored on SurveyMonkey’s servers in the United States of America and SurveyMonkey gives an undertaking never to disclose the survey questions or your responses to others without permission.