Hampshire County Council is asking people who live, work and study in Hampshire to have their say on proposed changes to libraries. A 10-week public consultation until Wednesday 18 March 2020 is asking for opinions on:
- the emerging vision for Hampshire’s Libraries to 2025;
- the level of need for library services in specific local communities;
- proposed changes to the Library Service and the potential impacts; and
- any alternatives that respondents may wish to propose.
The proposal includes the possibility of closing up to 10 libraries across the county, although Fleet would not be considered for closure as it is a Tier 1 library. There is also a proposal to reduce library opening hours by 15-25%.
The County Council is committed to providing a high-quality library service, fit for the future, that responds to a new generation of library customers. Therefore, we feel the right thing to do is focus the resources we have on where they will be of most benefit – to make the library service relevant in a way that will improve the literacy, life chances and wellbeing of Hampshire residents.
At the same time, Hampshire County Council is facing an anticipated budget shortfall of £80 million by April 2021. The council is having to look across all its services to find savings which can help to bridge this gap and the Library Service is required to identify £1.76 million towards the overall savings target.
The proposals in the consultation have been carefully thought through and offer a genuine choice. As well as increasing income and improving business efficiency, the consultation includes proposals for changes to the way services are delivered. This includes options to close up to 10 council-run libraries and reduce opening hours in others. It also considers exploring better ways to deliver library services in deprived communities. No decisions will be made until all the consultation responses have been fully analysed.
Full details of all proposals can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/library-consultation with printed copies of the information available to read in libraries. The information pack with details of the proposals can be found here.
The consultation is open until Wednesday 18 March 2020. Feedback received will inform decisions to be made by the Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage in summer 2020. If you have any questions about the public consultation or its impact on your organisation please email the Hampshire County Council Insight & Engagement Unit firstname.lastname@example.org