Central Bedfordshire Council has approved the way forward for libraries over the coming 15 years.
The Library Service Strategy sets out how the council will continue to provide a high quality, sustainable and modern service whilst offering efficiency and value for money without closing any libraries. It also includes individual library ‘road maps’ that outline the future opportunities and areas of development for each library.
Following extensive public consultation and market research through the Big Library Debate the Library Service Strategy outlines how the council will:
> Involve local people in making decisions about their library Be
> accessible when, where and how people want Help children, young people
> and adults to improve skills Modernise the service, finding new ways
> to provide better services and save money Deliver a library service
> that is tailored to local people
The challenge for the service is that it needs to deliver more than £550,000 of efficiency savings in running costs by 2014. This will be achieved by investing in technology and reducing back room costs. In the next two years £850,000 of capital investment will support the implementation of self service technology, developing the 24/7 online library, modernising buildings, and piloting library access points in rural communities.
The library service currently has 12 libraries, a library access point and the Library Link service for housebound customers and the online virtual library.
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member Sustainable Communities – Services said: “Libraries in Central Bedfordshire are recognised as an invaluable community service providing access to learning, information and culture for everyone. It is because of this that the council has decided that no library should close and that the service should be more accessible and extend its reach into local communities.
“We do realise however that libraries will need to become more efficient to meet savings targets and modernise to meet the future needs of residents. We believe that this strategy sets out how we can successfully achieve this.”
To read the strategy and individual library ‘road maps’ visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/library-service-review.aspx